Umbrella Coverage vs Excess Coverage


Umbrella Coverage vs Excess Coverage

Contrary to what you may have heard or read before, umbrella coverage and excess coverage are not the same. Still, the terms are used interchangeably everywhere you look. It is true that umbrella coverage and excess coverage have striking similarities. However, there is an important distinction between these two.

Umbrella and excess coverage both provide an extra layer of protection. Both policies can provide this level over a variety of primary or underlying forms. This coverage is triggered when the primary protection’s limits have been reached.

Both umbrella and excess coverage can be applied to the following policies when their limits have been reached:

    • General Liability Insurance.


    • Employer’s Liability Insurance.


  • Commercial Auto / Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance

An umbrella, theoretically, supplements its excess coverage in a slightly different way. It also provides coverage for miscellaneous and unidentified loss exposures. Since there isn’t a source of primary protection for these exposures, a form of high deductible, called a self-insured retention, is applied to these losses. An excess policy does not provide broader coverage. However, it only supplements whatever coverage exists in the primary layer. It is becoming increasingly commonplace that such coverage is provided on a following form structure. These forms are written so that it tracks precisely with the coverage and exclusion provisions of the underlying policies.

So, if you seek additional coverage, be sure to pay attention to what is stated in your insurance forms. The term umbrella could be used even when the form does not provide true umbrella coverage.

Contact AWS Insurance today for a free consultation about our business insurance coverage policies and what we can do for your needs. Our team is happy to assist with any of your questions or concerns involving your business insurance. Be sure to speak with an AWS insurance professional to get the coverage you need!


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Melinda Martin

Account Executive

Melinda began her insurance career in 1985 with Alexander & Alexander where she received her Property & Casualty and Life & Health license. Since then she has worked at various agencies in the New Orleans area and in California as a senior account manager for Employee Benefit Plans.  While in California, she was also the Membership Director for the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. Melinda joined the AWS team in July of 2015.

Michael A. Seeling

Vice President

Graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a B.A. in Insurance Risk Management and is a graduate of Archbishop Rummel High School in New Orleans. He joined AWS in October of 2008 and has been awarded the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Certification (PPACA). Additionally, he is working towards his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Registered Health Underwriter (RHU), and Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC) designations. He is also a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), National Association of Insurance Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and is an active member of the Fore!Kids foundation.

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