The Great Unknown

February 12, 2018

Jason was in a hurry to make dinner in his apartment that night. He was meeting his girlfriend at the club later and the spaghetti sauce was not ready. He had just turned the heat to high when his cell phone sounded that familiar ringtone-where did he put it? Living room? Bathroom? No – it’s on the dresser in his bedroom! Must be his girlfriend saying she would be late! Sure enough – she was caught in traffic and would be an hour late.

At that moment, the smoke detector let loose with its high pitched tones. Where did that come from? Wait – it must be the kitchen where he saw smoke billowing from the stove. What to do? There is a fire extinguisher in the hallway.

He went out the door where he heard more alarms and found all his neighbors scurrying for the stairways. It was 6 floors down, but the elevators were not working. Young, old, and in between, including Jason were running down the stairs, as the fire engines arrived.

The fire department did their job containing and extinguishing the fire with minimal damage and everyone got out safely and was standing in the cold winter evening when an elderly tenant collapsed. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance where he later died of a heart attack.

This is what happened several years ago to one of my customers.

I relate it to you because it could happen to anyone. The landlord had done everything right – fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and alarms – but was hit with a $2,000,000 lawsuit from the victim’s family.

Fortunately, he had purchased an umbrella policy which provided an extra $1,000,000 in liability limits over his base policy limit of $1,000,000. He was adequately covered – but are you? You never know when or what amount you may be sued for. You have no control over the amount of a potential lawsuit – only your coverage limits – this is the great unknown.

When looking for potential savings on your insurance coverages consider the loss exposures you know – take the highest deductibles you can handle, the lowest levels of property coverage which makes sense, actual cash value vs. replacement cost, but don’t scrimp on liability limits. Cover yourself for the great unknown.

Exchange Underwriters is a local full-service independent insurance agency located in Canonsburg since 1952. We have contacts with over 50 insurance carriers and can “Shop the Market” for you to find the best coverage and price.