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How to Protect Yourself From Uninsured and “Underinsured” Motorists

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2012 | Personal Injury

The owner of a car, truck, motorcycle or other motor vehicle needs to be aware that if you are involved in an accident, the liability insurance limits of the other car, truck or vehicle may not be enough to make up for the full amount of damages suffered by you or a loved one or the other car or truck might be uninsured, or leave the scene of the accident or “hit and run” before you are able to get any of its information or were too injured to do so.

It is, therefore, important for an owner to be aware that protection for themselves and even those loved ones that they live with is available that will provide coverage against the devastating effects of being in such a situation, even if your own car wasn’t involved or you were merely a pedestrian.

That protection can by found through the purchase of Supplemental Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

While the Legislature in New York has provided for mandatory uninsured motorist coverage (UM) as part of every insurance policy, that mandatory coverage only provides coverage for up to $25,000 per person for damage suffered.

Much greater protection can be found through the purchase of a Supplemental Underinsured Motorist (SUM) Endoresement.

That endoresement first requires one to maintain liability coverage above the New York State minimum limits of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per occurance. The higher the liability limits you maintain, the higher the amount of supplemental Underinsured Motorist Coverage you can purchase. Therefore, if, for example, you maintain an insurance policy which provides for bodily injury liability limits of $500,000, you can purchase SUM coverage that would provide the same level of protection for yourself if the other car or vehicle that caused an accident involving you or a member of your household has liabilty limits less than the amount your policy provides for.

But be aware, the SUM coverage is not automatic and must be specifically elected and most people don’t have enough knowledge of insurance coverage issues to ask for it and not all insurance brokers advise their clients to purchase it even though the cost is relatively low especially considering the level and extent of the protection it provides.

Don’t be blindsided. Make sure you have the automotive coverage you need before you find yourself in this unfortunate and avoidable situation. Review your insurance policy before it is too late.