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As the newest partner at the Bates Insurance Group, I’d like to share a tale that sheds some light on the demand for The Special Needs Agency.  As you may or may not know my son Scott was diagnosed with Autism at age three and my family and I are very aware of the exposures that families of special needs children face...

I recently learned of an interesting tale about a boy named Kendal who was learning how to bathe on his own. He had always liked his baths and was starting to show a little more independence. His parents were trying to encourage this by giving him more control over when his bath time was and working on bathing as a daily living skill. They enjoyed teaching him how to get undressed, work the water knobs, dropping the plug into the drain, and drying off. He was making strides but his parents did not realize how much progress he was making! On one Monday evening, Kendal thought it was his bath time and went into the bathroom all by himself and was using the skills he had learned over the past weeks. When mom was distracted by a phone call with her sister, and dad was watching prime time football, three things happened that they had not considered. First, mom learned how involved her husband could get while watching sports to not hear what was going on in the bathroom. Second, dad learned how involved mom could be talking with her sister. Third, how Kendal thought it was absolutely amusing to watch the water flow over the top of the already full bath tub!

For homeowners that have suffered water damage like this, you must understand the financial consequences that can occur. What you may not have considered is how damaging it was because Kendal and his family live on the second floor in a condominium. Their condo owner’s policy covered damage to the inside of their own unit. But for the damage to the structure itself, the master insurance policy purchased by the association had a $12,000 deductible that had to be paid before the association insurance would cover the damage. Imagine how the family was viewed by their neighbors who ultimately decided to sue the family instead of trying to do a per unit assessment to cover the costs.

 When consulting with an insurance agent or broker regarding your home owners or renters insurance, please consider the following additional risks you may not have considered:

  1. Injury my child could cause to someone else.
  2. Destruction of property my child could cause.
  3. Injuries that could be caused by other children at my home or in my car.

There is a reason that ‘destruction of property’ and ‘injurious behavior to self and others’ are listed on many questionnaires to determine eligibility for county services. Many children with developmental disabilities are more prone to cause injury to themselves and others and this risk needs to be addressed by the parent.

An umbrella liability policy can help with these issues by offering protection from monetary damages caused by liability claims above and beyond the limits set in your home and auto insurance policies. As you are taking an inventory of your net worth as a part of the family income accounting step in the planning process, take note if your net worth is above the liability limits set forth in your policies and if you can foresee this scenario occurring within the next five years. You may have a serious need for a policy to protect those assets for your future.

 Working with an insurance professional who understands these additional risks can make a dramatic impact on your financial picture when the unexpected happens.  Contact me today to discuss your specific needs in further detail.


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