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Umbrella Coverage for Preventing Your Ruin
Blank, an agent in White Plains, N.Y., with the Preferred Services Group. “Personal injury lawyers are making money by suing people. If you don’t have enough insurance you become personally liable.”

Some insurance companies that cater to the wealthy say that as many as half of their customers buy umbrella coverage. But State Farm, the biggest home insurer in the country, with a clientele of mainly middle- and lower-income homeowners, says about 12 percent of its policyholders buy umbrella coverage.

Buying such coverage usually does not greatly increase the overall cost of home and auto insurance. For example, in Louisiana, insurance on a $1 million home well away from the coast might run $4,500 a year, Ms. Edmonston, the Baton Rouge agent, said. Two cars could raise the cost of the package to $7,500. And $5 million in umbrella coverage might cost about $600 more, or about 8 percent of the total. In New York, agents say, $5 million in coverage might cost about the same.

Ms. Edmonston consolidated home and auto

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