Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wondering about liability insurance

DEAR HARRY: My husband and I are retired. Among our many activities, we spend some evenings soliciting funds for feeding the poor. The money goes equally to two organizations. Last night, one of our regular contributors asked us if we had enough insurance to protect us in case of an accident or some other problem. Neither of our beneficiary organizations covers us. We do carry $500,000 (our insurance-company maximum) of auto liability insurance. Do we need more? We can afford it, but never saw the need.

WHAT HARRY SAYS: All insurance, but particularly liability insurance, is something you hope you'll never need. Sometimes, that need hits from a source you never expect. A friend was leaving Philly with his sister to visit the Shore. A mile or so across the Walt Whitman Bridge, he got into an auto accident. His sister was in the hospital for two days for observation and was discharged with a clean bill of health. A little more than a year later, she sued him for $750,000 for all kinds of problems including "pain and suffering." His car insurance had a maximum payout of $300,000, but, unknown to his sister, he had $5 million in "umbrella" liability insurance. This all hit from out of the blue. His insurance company successfully defended the suit, but it could have gone the other way. For more than work protection, get that excess liability coverage now.

Email Harry Gross at, or write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

Harry Gross Daily News Personal Finance Columnist
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