In December, Governor Cuomo signed a law that changes how SUM (supplemental uninsured/underinsured motorist) coverage is handled for drivers in New York State. Yet most drivers probably aren’t even aware of what SUM is or how it works, let alone what the changes mean for them.
Let’s take a quick look at SUM, the change that will take effect this year, and what it means for motorists in New York, especially as it might come into play in a lawsuit after a crash.
Protection Against Uninsured Drivers
The injury insurance New York drivers carry is meant to compensate others who are injured in a crash, not the insured driver, leaving a potentially dangerous gap in coverage: About 15 percent of New York drivers manage to skirt the law and drive without insurance, so a driver who does everything right can find himself seriously injured with no expectation of compensation.
All New York drivers are required to carry some uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage gives protection to drivers who are harmed by others who don’t have proper coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), which is optional, serves a similar purpose by allowing a driver’s own insurance to step in when they’ve been in a crash with a driver who doesn’t have enough coverage.
SUM coverage was launched in 1993 to improve UM and UIM coverage and give consumers a better safety net against uninsured and underinsured drivers. Its real purpose is to cover the expenses of injuries sustained by a driver and his or her passengers when the other driver doesn’t have the correct liability insurance.
How Does SUM Coverage Affect Personal Injury Claims?
SUM coverage still has coverage limits, but it’s generally affordable. There are some restrictions drivers need to be aware of, too, like the fact that a driver who accepts a settlement after an accident without their insurer’s approval can have their SUM coverage terminated with no payment.
Drivers who have been in a crash should, for their own protection, always work with an attorney who understands the laws and regulations to make sure that their rights are protected.
Opt Out, Not Opt In
SUM coverage has been around for more than twenty years, but the new law makes an important change: Drivers previously had to request SUM coverage, but now they will automatically receive it (and be billed for it) unless they opt out. Drivers can also choose to add more SUM coverage or take on less. They can expect to see a notice with all policy renewals beginning in June.
New York City Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been hurt in a car crash, talk to the experienced accident lawyers at Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP. We can help you develop the best case possible and reach the settlement you deserve. Call us today at 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462) or contact us online through the form below to schedule a free appointment to discuss your situation and learn more.