Within your NY automobile insurance policy is your supplemental insurance coverage. Most policies have uninsured motorist coverage, which protects you against someone that doesn’t have insurance. There is also underinsured motorist coverage included in your supplemental coverage. Many policyholders aren’t aware that they even have these types of additional coverage. Last year the governor signed a new statute into law affecting the way that policyholders were educated about supplemental insurance and the mandatory minimums that they must carry on their policy. Before we talk about these changes, let’s discuss what these types of coverage mean for you.
Defining uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
These two types of coverage sound the same, but they are slightly different.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage: This part of your insurance covers drivers on the road that are traveling without insurance. If you get hit by an uninsured driver, this is the part of your insurance that protects you. If you are in an accident where the other driver leaves the scene of the crime, this part of your insurance will cover you.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage: When you are involved in an accident, this coverage is to protect against motorists that don’t have high enough coverage on their personal insurance. Say you get in an accident with someone that has the state minimum coverage, but your injuries exceed this amount. This portion of your insurance will cover the difference.
What does New York require you to have on your insurance policy?
At the bare minimum, you need to carry liability insurance. You’re required to have 25,000 dollars in coverage for bodily injury and 50,000 dollars for the death of a person in an accident. These amounts are doubled for multiple passengers in the car. Then, you’re required to carry 10,000 dollars for any property damage.
If you are in an accident with someone that only carries liability insurance, you will barely have enough money to cover your damages, injuries, and pain and suffering. Thankfully, you can use the underinsured motorist coverage to help split the difference.
How do you claim your supplemental insurance coverage?
Before you can receive any uninsured coverage, you need to prove to your insurance company that the negligent driver doesn’t have insurance. You can make these claims for a hit-and-run accident, by only showing the property damage. Generally, you can contact your insurance company and send them pictures of the damage to your vehicle.
When you’re filing a claim for underinsured motorist coverage, your policy will only pay out when the negligent driver’s insurance coverage has been exhausted. However, there are some situations where the underinsured coverage didn’t pay out as expected. We always recommend consulting with an attorney to ensure that you get the settlement you need. Insurance companies are focused on paying out the smallest settlements possible. Having an experienced attorney gives you an advantage with insurance companies. Your Long Island personal injury lawyer knows how insurance companies operate and they are used to discussing settlements with these insurance companies. Don’t risk being taken advantage of by your insurance company, contact an attorney today to discuss your options.
What are the new SUM limits in New York?
In the past, SUM coverage was optional on your insurance policy. However, you are now required to carry the SUM on your insurance policy. If you don’t want to have this insurance coverage you need to opt out by signing a waiver. This law went into effect in June of 2018. With the new law, your SUM limits will match the bodily injury limits on your policy. If you want the SUM to be less, you have to request it. Every year your insurance company is required to remind you of your SUM coverage and give you a chance to add it to your policy.
Does my SUM cover me in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver?
Your insurance company is supposed to pay you up to your policy limit if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. However, insurers are known for not honoring these claims. Insurance companies don’t want to pay out on their claims. You could also see your premiums rise after getting an uninsured motorist payout. You are penalized because someone ran into you and you have to pay more on your insurance. An experienced Long Island personal injury lawyer will challenge these practices. Your lawyer will demand that you receive full compensation as defined by your insurance policy.
If you have received an unfair settlement offer from your insurance company, it’s not too late. You don’t have to take the settlement that your insurance company offers you. Contact us today to discuss your options. Just because you didn’t use a lawyer at the beginning of your claims process doesn’t mean you can’t use a lawyer now.
How much coverage should you carry?
This varies by the person, but most experts recommend opting into the SUM coverage. Your SUM coverage should match that of your liability coverage on your policy. We live in a world where it is better to be safe than sorry. You don’t know whom you are sharing the road with, and you can’t expect other people to have adequate coverage. You don’t want to be in a bad financial position because you didn’t have enough coverage for an accident. It’s better to pay a little extra for insurance you might not need than to not have it.
If you have any questions about receiving your SUM coverage, you can contact our offices. We would love to go over your options with you.
Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.