Do your loved ones have an Umbrella Insurance policy?

pexels-photo-100671.jpegThanks to Barbara who asked about concerns she had with wording in a renewed insurance policy. I suggest that all families who are helping or caring for someone with mild cognitive impairment or dementia consider the addition of an “Umbrella” policy.

In a Kiplinger article titled Why You Need an Umbrella Policy, they share that “adding extra liability coverage to your auto- and homeowners-insurance policies can protect your finances from expensive lawsuits.”  Umbrella policies are designed “to help protect you from major claims and lawsuits and as a result it helps protect your assets and your future. It does this in two ways: Provides additional liability coverage above the limits of your homeowners, auto, and boat insurance policies.”

One of my super-powers that I used to my advantage during my parents journey into dementia, was a sense of possible future landmines. My parent’s had auto- and homeowners insurance, but I had a major concern that the might do something that would jeopardize their retirement savings because of their cognitive status. Thankfully, I suggested to my dad that he add an Umbrella policy to their insurance and he agreed that it would be a smart protection given how litigious the world had become.

There was a period of about 3 months when my dad was driving without a valid license. Their doctor had submitted the paperwork to have both of their driving licenses revoked. However, they let me read, then ripped up the notice from the Division of Motor Vehicle that notified them of the license revocation and acted like it never existed. For some reason, they thought only my dad had his licenses revoked, even though they both received the letter (just a week apart). My mom would tell me that if the police pulled them over she would tell them “I was driving but got a cramp in my foot, so my husband took over so he could get me home to take my medication.” Yeah, my parents got really crafty in trying to maintain their status quo.

I was pretty sure the auto-insurance wouldn’t cover them since their licenses were revoked, so I prayed that nothing would happen. If it did, I hoped the umbrella insurance would help protect their assets to pay for the years of care they would be needing.

Later, at a happy hour at my parent’s retirement community, my dad fell over onto a woman and sent her to the ER. Thankfully, she knew my dad and she nor her family pursued a lawsuit. However, I could only imagine how quickly all of their assets could disappear in legal fees and an award.

Two things to do to protect your loved one and their assets:

  1. Contact your insurance agent and have an open discussion about your concerns to find the type of policy that could best protect you and your loved ones.
  2. Contact your estate lawyer. A Trust might be a solution to help protect your assets …. but I’m NOT a lawyer …. so please find a local elder care attorney who can help you navigate the coming years.

Dementia is a cruel beast and it steals so much from the individuals it preys upon, and the loved ones caring for them. I hope the suggestion on how to deal with practical issues to protect your loved ones will help you and your family. Experienced. 

Do you know how to protect your personal and financial information? Find out here.

Listen to the radio broadcast with Frank of Aging Boomers who interviewed Kay H. Bransford, best-selling author of MemoryBanc: Your Workbook for Organizing Lifeto find out how you can protect your personal information and safely share it with loved ones.

They discuss the key issues that surprise many families and that has lead to more than $58 billion sitting with state and federal treasurers in an “unclaimed money” pool to include:

  • The rise of divide and conquer households
  • The increase in aging adults and their need for long-term care services
  • The number of online accounts, usernames, passcodes, and PINs that are managed by the average American.

Protecting Yourself from Online Bank Fraud

Online banking has many benefits—from a simple way to pay bills to a historical portal of your banking statements. For those of you who haven’t tried it because of safety concerns, here are three tips to protect yourself from online fraud:

  1. Make sure you are using an American bank that is insured against theft by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The insurance applies to any sum up to $250,000.
  2. Be vigilant about monitoring your transactions and respond to alerts from your bank if a charge or withdrawal appears to be suspicious.
  3. Never respond to emails from your bank or click on an attachment. Because of the fraud risk, banks are not using email to communicate more than a basic alert or a sales notice to their customers.
If you are concerned, contact your bank by phone or in person (but don’t reply using information included in the email you received).

Three ways to ensure you aren’t a victim of online banking fraud

On the heals of the story that broke last week about How Hackers Took as Much as $1 Billion from Banks, it’s positive to note that the victim of the theft was the banks, not the consumers.

I have been teaching classes on how to “Tame the Internet” and am surprised by how many attendees have never used online banking. If you fall into this category, or are concerned, you should know that:

  1. Make sure you are using an American bank that is insured against theft by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The insurance applies to any sum up to $250,000 in checking, a savings account or a certificate of deposit at a U.S. bank.
  2. Be vigilant about monitoring your transactions and respond to alerts from your bank if a charge or withdrawal appears to be suspicious.
  3. Never respond to emails from your bank or click on an attachment. Because of the amount of fraud, banks aren’t using email to communicate more than a basic alert or a sales notice to their customers. If you are concerned, contact your bank by phone or in person (but don’t use information included in the email you received), or for those of you with online banking, log in and check to see if there is a message posted in the online portal.

Online banking has many benefits, from a simple way to set up bill payments to a historical portal to your banking statements. As the primary family caregiver to my parents when they could no longer manage for themselves, I have found online banking an incredible time and effort saver for me.