Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage provides reimbursement to policyholders in a car accident involving an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver. Several states including New York have mandatory requirements for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
According to a 2014 study by the Insurance Research Council, about 12.6 percent of motorists, or about one in eight drivers, nationwide, is uninsured. In New York State, about 6 percent of drivers are uninsured. There are many more drivers who are underinsured or do not have sufficient liability insurance coverage to compensate for all of the losses incurred by other parties in an auto accident.
Importance of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you are in a car accident and the other driver is at fault, your uninsured motorist coverage will help protect you if the other driver does not have car insurance. If the driver who is at fault for the accident has some auto insurance, but not enough to cover all your damages and losses, then, the underinsured motorist coverage under your policy can cover the difference between your bills and expenses and the driver’s coverage up to the limits of your policy.
So, while liability insurance provides coverage for others if you are at fault for an accident, it is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that actually protects you and your family. This is also the clause in your insurance policy, which covers your losses in the event of a hit-and-run accident. This is why it is crucial to ensure that uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is included as part of your comprehensive auto insurance policy.
Understanding UM/SUM Coverage
In New York State, auto insurance companies are required under the law to provide you with coverage for uninsured motorists. The minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage is $25,000 for one person and $50,000 for two or more people injured in a crash. In addition to uninsured motorist coverage, New York drivers also have the option to buy Supplemental Uninsured Motorist (SUM) coverage, which is equal to the amount of liability insurance they carry. This can be up to $250,000 per person or $500,000 for two or more people injured in a crash, or even higher limits may be available.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance typically offers coverage for bodily injury. In addition to injuries to the driver, the bodily injury portion of the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may cover injuries to passengers or family members traveling in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
SUM provides an important layer of protection for you and your family. In New York, there is a high probability of being involved in a crash with an uninsured driver. There is an even higher probability of encountering an underinsured driver, who may be carrying only the minimum amount of liability coverage, which is $25,000. If you and/or your passengers have suffered a serious injury in a car accident, $25,000 will be absolutely inadequate to cover all your losses.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Many people may not realize that their uninsured motorist policy can cover them in a variety of auto accidents. For example, if a pedestrian or bicyclist has been struck and injured by an uninsured driver, the uninsured motorist coverage of the victim’s auto insurance policy would compensate them for their injuries, damages and losses. Supplemental Uninsured Motorist coverage or SUM also covers any relative who lives in the household of the insured or anyone named on the auto insurance policy. In New York State, motorists can get Uninsured Motorist or Supplemental Uninsured Motorist benefits equal to but not greater than their liability insurance.
An experienced New York City personal injury lawyer will be able to help injured victims in such cases recover fair compensation by negotiating and/or litigating with the insurance company and helping them avoid some of the potential mistakes that could adversely affect or kill their injury claims. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, it is crucial that you file a report with your insurance company as soon as possible, and it is best that you have your personal injury lawyer do that for you.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case. We have recovered many millions of dollars for victims of motor vehicle accidents.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com