What is uninsured motorist (UM) and supplementary underinsured motorist (SUM) car insurance coverage?
When most people think of car insurance, they think about how it can protect their personal assets in the event they cause injury to another person as a result of a car accident. This description is true, but it does not go far enough. New York car insurance does contain bodily injury liability coverage, which requires the insurer to indemnify or protect the insured if he or she is liable. But, New York car insurance providers also offer additional coverage that protects the insured in a different way.
Uninsured motorist (UM) car insurance refers to a type of coverage that will protect you in the event that you are injured by an uninsured driver. Similarly, supplementary underinsured motorist (SUM) car insurance refers to a type of coverage that will protect you if you are injured in a car accident by an underinsured driver. “Underinsured” often means that the driver does not have sufficient bodily injury liability insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries. UM/SUM car insurance are both purchased through your automobile insurance policy.
Motor vehicle insurance is mandatory in New York State
New York requires all vehicles owned and registered in the state to be insured. Unfortunately, some people do not follow the law, which means that uninsured motorists are on our roadways. When an uninsured motorist is negligent, resulting in an injury to another motorist, that other motorist will have the ability to sue the uninsured motorist and obtain a judgment requiring the uninsured motorist to pay a certain amount. But, if the uninsured motorist does not have assets to satisfy the judgment, it will not help the injured motorist receive compensation.
In the case of UM/SUM car insurance, while UM is mandatory coverage, SUM is considered optional coverage.
How does UM or SUM car insurance coverage help you after a car accident?
Bodily injury liability coverage protects you and your assets in the event that your negligence causes personal injury. In the same sense, it also protects others on the road by giving them a source of insurance coverage. This is why if you have been injured in a car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurer will be required to provide compensation.
However, you may run into two potential issues that could leave you unprotected: 1) your medical bills or car accident damages exceed the other driver’s available coverage, or 2) the other driver has no insurance coverage altogether. This is where UM/SUM coverage comes in.
UM/SUM car insurance may be used to cover any bodily injuries you have suffered up to a certain amount. For example, if you have UM/SUM coverage of $50,000 per person and you are the only person injured, you would be able to turn to your own insurance company and ask for payment of up to $50,000.
In New York State, the minimum requirement for UM coverage is currently $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. But, many insurance carriers will offer UM coverage that goes well beyond the state minimum. Additional SUM car insurance is used to further protect you, by expanding your coverage and ensuring that you are not responsible for coming up with any additional costs.
What are my SUM car insurance coverage options?
There are many options to consider when it comes to purchasing SUM car insurance coverage. Many people choose to raise their SUM coverage to protect themselves in the event that they are in a car accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured.
Your SUM coverage can be raised or lowered to any specified amount. However, legally, your SUM coverage amount must match your bodily injury coverage amount. For instance, if you want $50,000 per person in SUM coverage, you must also have $50,000 per person in bodily injury coverage. The cost for extra coverage is added to your current insurance premium.
Others may choose to take a risk and opt-out of SUM coverage. To opt-out, you must notify your insurance company and let them know that you do not want to increase your SUM coverage. Likely, in this instance, you will be required to sign a waiver specifying this fact.
Is your UM/SUM coverage limited following a car accident? We can help.
If you were seriously injured in a car accident and do not have enough UM/SUM coverage to pay your bills, that does not mean there is no hope for receiving the compensation you deserve. You also have the option of filing a personal injury claim with the help of a car accident attorney.
Hurt In A Car? Call William Mattar.
The car accident attorneys at William Mattar law offices have experience reviewing insurance policies to maximize financial recovery after a car crash. If you were hurt by an uninsured motorist and are looking for legal representation, we can help. Call us today at (844) 444-4444.