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Even if you think you are fully covered by a comprehensive auto insurance policy, a little-known policy add-on might put you and your passengers in danger in the case of an
accident with an uninsured driver.
Thanks to new legislation recently signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, drivers can rest assured that they will be protected on the road, and insurance companies will not lose out on revenue.
The Driver and Family Protection Act establishes that the amount of supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorist (SUM) coverage for any new auto insurance policy must be the same as the amount of bodily injury coverage selected by the policyholder.
What is SUM insurance?
SUM insurance protects drivers who suffer “severe and devastating” personal injury as a result of accidents with uninsured or inadequately insured drivers. Despite the critical importance of this coverage, many New York drivers unknowingly forgo this add-on to their mandated coverage.
SUM coverage must be proactively added to your policy in order to take effect; if you do not choose to add SUM coverage, you will only receive the $25,000 minimum coverage for uninsured drivers. If you’ve suffered a personal injury, you know that $25,000 is hardly sufficient to cover the costs of your medical care and property damage. However, with the Driver and Family Protection Act firmly in place, all policies will include this coverage unless the insured actively selects lower coverage.
How do I make a claim under SUM insurance?
If you’ve been involved in a New York auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you need to act quickly to get the compensation you deserve. A personal injury attorney can guide you through this process, but knowing the basics can put you at ease in the hectic days after an accident.
According to the New York State Bar Association’s Torts and Insurance Section, there are five requirements that must be fulfilled in order to file a SUM claim:
- The claimant (that’s you) must provide written notice of their intent to make a claim as soon as possible. Make sure to include the details of the accident and any injuries sustained.
- The claimant must “obtain a policy limit offer.” This means that the negligent person’s liability policy must be used before SUM insurance applies. In this requirement, you and your injury attorney must provide evidence that the other party was negligent.
- Ensure that the injury limits for the claimant must exceed the injury limits for the uninsured or underinsured party, provided that the uninsured or underinsured party is the tortfeasor (the person at fault for the accident).
- The claimant must qualify as insured. To be considered insured, you must be the policyholder; the spouse of, household member with, or relation to a policyholder; an occupant of a vehicle insured with SUM coverage; or, an occupant of a vehicle operated by a policyholder or spouse of a policyholder.
- The claimant must be able to demonstrate that their injuries were caused by the accident with the uninsured or underinsured driver.
Contact an experienced lawyer for help with your SUM claim in New York
After suffering injury in a car accident, the only thing on your mind should be your recovery. Robinson & Yablon, P.C.’s team of experienced personal injury attorneys can manage your SUM claim under the most recent New York state law. With over 100 years of combined experience and multiple millions of dollars won on behalf of our clients, RY’s seasoned lawyers can get you the compensation you deserve. Call our New York office today at (212) 725-8566.