How does an umbrella or excess liability work?

If you have assets (property + savings/investments) that are worth more than the liability limits of your homeowner policy, you should consider purchasing an umbrella policy, also known as “excess liability.” Umbrella coverage is called excess because it does not start to pay out until after you have used up the liability insurance in your homeowners or auto policy (depending on the incident). Umbrella liability covers more issues than the other liability policies, including such things a libel and slander. Many companies will require that you have a minimum of $300,000 liability coverage on your home and car before you can purchase an umbrella policy.