When buying insurance for your vehicle, you’re faced with many acronyms that can be confusing. How do you know what coverage you have, and what coverage do you actually need? Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is mandatory in the state of New York. However, uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) is optional. You have to request this additional coverage when you buy your insurance.
In New York, supplemental uninsured motorist insurance (SUM) has changed within the last year. Governor Cuomo signed a new law that came into effect in 2018. Many drivers aren’t even aware that anything has changed. Below, we’ll discuss some of the changes, so that you can better understand the future of your insurance coverage.
This coverage is designed to protect you against uninsured drivers.
If you are in an accident with a motorist that doesn’t have insurance, your SUM coverage protects you against losses. When the other driver has no insurance, you need to rely on your own coverage to handle your damages and medical bills. Currently, 15 percent of New York drivers are driving uninsured, which could leave you injured without any hope of compensation. Thankfully, drivers are legally required to have uninsured motorist coverage.
Underinsured motorist coverage is used to cover your injuries during an accident if the other driver doesn’t have enough coverage for your injuries. For example, the minimum amount of coverage you’re legally required to carry in New York state is $25,000. So, if you have injuries that exceed that, you would be responsible for those costs. If you want to reduce the risk of this happening, you can purchase your own UIM coverage to protect yourself. You can add this onto your insurance premium for a small cost.
Does uninsured motorist insurance have any effect on personal injury claims?
Just as with any insurance coverage, SUM has limits. As we mentioned before, if your injuries and damages are not fully covered by UM, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you accept a settlement without the proper approval from the insurer you can have your SUM coverage terminated before receiving a payment. So, it is important that you have a professional to help you throughout the process of your claim. Our main priority is making sure your rights are protected throughout the entire process.
What has changed with this new SUM law?
In the past, you needed to specifically request additional SUM if you wanted better coverage. You are always required to have the state minimum of $25,000, but you could have different minimums for the coverage of bodily injury. Many drivers choose to have higher bodily injury limits for themselves, while they have lower SUM coverage. With this new law, your bodily injury coverage must match your SUM, unless you opt-out. So, if you choose to have $100,000 in bodily injury coverage, your SUM coverage would be raised to $100,000. You will also receive an additional fee on your premium for this elevated SUM coverage. Any new policy after June 16, 2018, must match bodily injury coverage with the SUM coverage unless you opt-out.
How do I opt-out of the new SUM coverage requirements?
So, if you only want to have the state minimum, you will need to opt-out of the new SUM law. You can talk to your insurance provider and inform them that you do not wish to increase your SUM coverage. If you do want to opt-out make sure that your insurance company sends you a waiver to sign so that you have the document on file.
Your insurance company must notify you of additional SUM coverage options.
Another change with this new SUM law is that insurance companies are required to notify you of additional coverage annually. Many drivers are unaware that their coverage for SUM is limited. Most car accidents can easily go over $25,000 in medical bills and damages. So, this new piece of legislation makes information about additional coverage more readily available. This new law will make drivers more educated about their insurance coverage options, so they can make better decisions.
Should you buy more SUM insurance coverage?
This is a question that can only be answered on an individual basis. You need to consider your budget, bills, and the effects of not having increased coverage. There are a significant amount of people who like to take the risk of lowered insurance coverage. Just remember, if you don’t have increased UIM coverage you will need to be prepared to file a personal injury claim in the event of a serious accident. Regardless of your choice, there are many different levels of coverage to suit your needs.
If you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver, show them that you mean business.
After the initial shock of the accident wears off, your medical bills and the cost of damages will still remain. Don’t waste any more time. It is time to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact the Law Office of Michael Redenburg today. It is our mission to build the strongest case possible to get you the best settlement. Call us today to set up your appointment.
Any of the above information is for educational purposes only. Nothing on this site should be used as legal advice. If you want specific information about your case you must make an appointment with our office.