Joshua Hatfield Smith, a planner with SPC Financial Services in Rockville, Maryland, points out that umbrella policy coverage can be complicated for unmarried partners. Hatfield Smith illustrates the issue via this scenario: Suppose your client is tired and driving on the Beltway. She pulls in front of another car. There’s an accident, which is not necessarily a catastrophe, and which is covered. But suppose for a moment that instead of a car, the other vehicle involved is a tractor-trailer with ten Porsches in back. “At a hundred thousand each, it’s a million [dollars in liability] right there,” he says. Your client’s auto policy will pay the claim based on coverage, and an umbrella policy will kick in for the rest.

Simple, right? Not so fast, says Hatfield Smith. Suppose the person who had the accident is driving her partner’s car. “Umbrella policies in the hetero world are no problem. But only a few companies” will cover the other unmarried partner for auto, home, and umbrella coverage, he warns, leaving the insured partner liable for anything that may go wrong at the uninsured partner’s hands.

One company that does provide insurance for unmarried partners, says Tim Schaefer, of Schaefer Insurance Services in Germantown, Maryland, is Erie Insurance, in Erie, Pennsylvania. It offers domestic partners joint home, auto, and umbrella policies in 11 states and in the District of Columbia. Others, says Hatfield Smith, can be found through searches in the Gay Yellow Pages or through www.gay.com.