Supplemental Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage, also known as “SUM” insurance coverage is an affordable layer of coverage you purchase as part of your automobile insurance coverage. Generally, when you are involved in a car accident, the “at fault” or negligent motor vehicle will have insurance coverage that will pay for your damages. However, if the negligent party is underinsured, you may not be fully compensated for your injuries.
Under New York law, every owner of a motor vehicle must maintain certain amounts of coverage on their motor vehicles. Specifically, a driver must maintain at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage that is meant to compensate victims for injuries and damages the negligent party causes.
An issue arises when the injuries a victim sustains are worth far more than the amount of available insurance coverage. For example, assume a negligent party runs a red light and T-bones a vehicle. The driver of the innocent motor vehicle sustains multiple fractures and is forced to undergo life-altering surgeries. The injuries sustained by the driver, in the hands of a capable attorney, are worth millions of dollars. However, the negligent party purchased the statutory minimum, and is insured with only $25,000 in liability coverage.
For a victim, this could be potentially terrifying news. Unless the negligent party has tangible assets to procure, which it most likely will not, the victim may be forced to accept $25,000 for the amount of damages it sustained, well below the actual value of the case.
Fortunately, injured parties have the opportunity to avoid such a catastrophic scenario. The solution is SUM insurance coverage. To avoid being the victim of an underinsured driver, a person must do what they can to protect themselves regarding insurance coverages. The SUM indorsement in your insurance policy will provide coverage for you and your family up to the limits purchased by you, provided that the amount is greater than the underinsured party.
Returning to our hypothetical, if the victim who was hit by the negligent party who ran the red light had purchased $500,000 in SUM coverage his or her own insurance policy, they would have the option of submitting an additional claim to their own insurance company, after exhausting the $25,000 in available coverage from the underinsured driver. Accordingly, instead of recovering $25,000 for your catastrophic injuries as a result of an irresponsible underinsured driver, you would potentially be recovering up to $500,000.
You should consult your insurance company to ensure that you have sufficient coverage to protect you and your family. More importantly, in the event you or your loved ones are the victims of a car accident, ensure your case is in the hands of competent, effective, and experienced legal counsel.
At LEVY BORUKH LAW, we’re serious about your results. You need serious attorneys who can guide you through the litigation and provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.
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