Insurance Law Lesson 28: Excess Policies

The last lesson was about umbrellas. Excess policies are similar. Both sit above other policies/coverage to add additional limits. Both are more than just a limits increase because umbrellas and excess policies have their own terms and conditions.

The difference between umbrella and excess coverage is that excess coverage follows form with the primary. Excess coverage could be narrower. But it won’t be broader than the primary. If a claim is not covered by the primary, it is not covered by the excess.

That being said, just because the policy is titled “excess” doesn’t mean you are free to assume that it fits the bill. It could be titled “excess,” but it is actually an umbrella – with broader coverage than the primary. Always read the policy terms before making a coverage determination.

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