Site icon AdvisorSmith

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Get a quote on Commercial Umbrella Insurance

If your business faces a costly accident or large judgement, you may exceed the limits of your primary liability policies. Commercial Umbrella Insurance can step in to provide additional coverage on top of your primary insurance and can be a cost-effective way to provide extra financial protection, especially if you operate in a high-risk industry.

What is Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

Commercial Umbrella Insurance helps to protect your business from the financial risk of large lawsuits against your company. It is a form of liability insurance that covers your business when your general liability, auto liability, or other coverages are not sufficient to pay for damages. Although large judgments are rare, they can be financially ruinous for your business, and Commercial Umbrella Insurance provides a relatively affordable way to reduce this risk.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance, also called excess liability insurance, supplements the liability coverage provided by your primary liability insurance policy. Most umbrella policies require that you have underlying insurance coverages in force, such as general liability insurance. Additionally, depending on the nature of your business, commercial auto liability and workers’ compensation insurance may also be required.

If your primary insurance limits are exceeded due to an accident or large judgment against your company, Commercial Umbrella Insurance would pay the remainder of the claim, up to the limit of coverage for the umbrella policy.


Commercial Umbrella Insurance is a cost-effective way to add to your insurance coverage, as the premiums on Umbrella Insurance are usually lower per additional dollar of coverage than the premiums on your primary policies. The reason for the lower premiums is that the umbrella policy does not pay out until your primary insurance policy is fully exhausted.

What does Commercial Umbrella Policy cover?

Your primary insurance policies provide coverage for certain types of liability, such as general liability, auto liability, or employers liability coverage. Commercial Umbrella Insurance covers the same types of liability and increases the coverage to a higher dollar amount. If your underlying coverage is ever exhausted due to a large settlement or multiple claims in a policy year, then the umbrella policy will cover the rest, up to the coverage limit for the umbrella policy. Additionally, Umbrella Insurance, in conjunction with your primary insurer, may cover parts or all of your legal defense fees in the event your company is sued.

Examples of liability risks that would be covered:

It’s important to note that typical umbrella policies do not cover professional liability. To cover this risk, you’d need to secure professional liability insurance.

Drop-down Coverage

Sometimes, a Commercial Umbrella Insurance policy may provide broader coverage or contain fewer exclusions than a primary policy. In the event that a loss is excluded or not covered by a primary policy, but where the loss is covered by the umbrella policy, the umbrella policy may provide coverage starting from the first dollar of the loss without relying upon the underlying primary policy. This is called “drop-down” coverage. Like primary insurance policies, this coverage may be subject to a deductible.

Legal Fees

Most Commercial Umbrella Insurance contracts allow the insurer to participate in or take over the legal defense of any claim that may involve the insurance company. If the primary insurance company does not want to appeal in the event of a judgment that exceeds the coverage provided by your primary insurance, your Umbrella Insurance company may reserve the right to appeal the judgment.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance also covers legal fees that you may incur while defending or settling your lawsuit. Some policies include legal fees within the limits of coverage, while other policies do not include them.


Multiple Claims in a Policy Year

If you have multiple claims in a policy year, the umbrella policy will pay up to the coverage limit for the year. For example, if your umbrella policy is $5 million, and you have two separate losses within the same policy year of $3 million and $4 million, the most that the umbrella policy will pay is $5 million.

What are the key exclusions to Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

Typical Commercial Umbrella Insurance policies will contain certain exclusions. Common exclusions include:

Umbrella policies also usually exclude punitive damages and personal liability claims. It is important to consult your policy or broker for details on policy exclusions. Many provisions of Commercial Umbrella Insurance are negotiable with the insurer on a case-by-case basis, and insurers will adjust their quoted premium based upon negotiated changes in the insurance contract.

Who needs Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

Commercial Umbrella insurance may be appropriate for:

How does Commercial Umbrella Insurance work?

In order to purchase Commercial Umbrella Insurance, your business will be required to purchase primary liability insurance policies such as general liability and auto liability. It is common for Umbrella Insurance companies to require coverage of $1 million in your primary liability insurance policies. If your business is found liable for a loss, your primary insurance will pay up to the coverage limits on the primary policy. If the judgment exceeds the liability limits, then your Commercial Umbrella Insurance will pay the rest of the loss up to the limit of the Umbrella Insurance coverage limit.


How much Umbrella Insurance should I buy?

Commercial Umbrella Insurance is sold in increments of $1 million. The amount of Umbrella Insurance to buy is ultimately a business decision, as it is not possible to have total foresight into all possible risks that a business may face. However, to properly estimate the amount of Business Umbrella Insurance Policy to buy, you should consider the risk exposures that are common to your industry.

For example, if you operate a jewelry store that caters to high net worth clients, you may want to purchase coverage sufficient to cover a high net worth person slipping and falling. Your company might be liable for lost wages for the customer until they are able to return to work, in addition to any medical expenses necessary to treat the fall. If you consider the amount in damages from this type of risk, as well as other typical risks your business may face, you can estimate the appropriate amount of insurance to buy.

On the other hand, if your company is a wholesale company with most work conducted in a warehouse without heavy equipment or hazardous substances and not a lot of customer foot traffic, you may not need as much coverage as a retail store.

What do I need to apply for Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

In order to get an accurate quote for a Commercial Umbrella Insurance policy, you should provide the following information to the insurance company or your broker:

How much does Commercial Umbrella Insurance cost?

AdvisorSmith found the average cost of Commercial Umbrella Insurance for small businesses was $883 per year. This cost survey included small businesses with under $500K in revenue in 27 industries, including retail, wholesale, manufacturing, consultants, contractors, and more. Premiums are based upon Commercial Umbrella Insurance coverage of $1 million.

Pricing for Commercial Umbrella Insurance is based upon the unique risks your business faces. Insurers consider factors such as:

Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a construction company will probably have higher liability premiums than a software business. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.

In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get an umbrella insurance quote from a reputable insurance agent or company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer Commercial Umbrella Insurance:

ProviderCommercial UmbrellaGeneral LiabilityProfessional Liability

Final Word

If your business is exposed to a higher level of risks, be it from commercial general liability, auto liability, or employers liability, it may be wise to seek out additional coverage from a Commercial Umbrella Insurance policy. Commercial Umbrella Insurance can provide the extra protection you may need if you exceed your primary liability policy limits in a given year. Though the hope is not to get to that point, accidents and disasters are unpredictable, and having the right financial coverage in place can be an important lifeline for your business.

Exit mobile version