Protect yourself from bad drivers with small insurance policies by making sure that you have Underinsured Motorist coverage on your policy.
By Mark T. Freeley, Esq. (Open Post)March 7, 2013 at 6:12pm
In the last 20 years of handling serious car accident cases, I have seen countless clients suffer significant injuries from the reckless actions of bad drivers. I have also seen first hand that most bad drivers have their cars insured for the New York minimum requirement of $25,000.00. In addition, the trend of poor drivers insuring themselves for the minimum required limits has continued to increase as the cost of insurance has increased (especially for those in the Assigned Risk pool) and as our economy has slowed. The only way to protect yourself from these drivers as well as drivers that drive with no insurance at all, or from hit and run drivers, is to ensure that you have UM/SUM coverage on your car insurance policy. This coverage is also known as Uninsured/Supplementary Uninsured Motorist coverage. All policies sold in New York come with $25,000.00 of Uninsured Motorist Coverage. However, you can purchase up to at least $250,000.00 in this coverage and the increase to your premium will be surprisingly small. Most people tend to look just at the Liability limits of their policy, because they are told that they need more of this coverage in case they cause an accident and get sued. Unfortunately, very few people are informed about the need for UM/SUM coverage and never learn of it until it's too late. In my opinion, this is one the most important coverages on your policy. This is the coverage that protects YOU when you become injured by a bad driver with a small policy or with no policy at all. This coverage operates like your shadow and follows you and provides protection to you wherever you become injured. It also follows and provides protection for all members of your family in your household. It provides protection if you are driving your car, if you are a passenger in a friend's car, even if you are riding your bicycle or walking your dog. Without this coverage you are at the mercy of the bad driver that injures you, and you must hope that they have sufficient insurance coverage which they likely won't. By way of example, if you were struck and seriously injured by a bad driver with $25,000.00 in liability coverage and you had $250,000.00 of UM/SUM benefits, you could recover the $25,000.00 from the bad driver and up to another $225,000.00 from your own insurance company. Your benefits are reduced by the amount that you recover from the bad driver. By having an adequate amount of UM/SUM coverage on your policy, you never need to worry if the person that seriously injures you has enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries. Remember, even though the bad drivers do cause many accidents, we have an increasing amount of distracted drivers all around us. From talking on the phone, texting, GPS, you name it, people are greatly distracted on our roads, we see it everyday. Now is a good time to dig out your car insurance policy and review it. Call your insurance agent or broker now to add this important coverage. You can even see and print out a sample policy with coverage suggestions on my website. Hopefully you will never need to rely upon it, but it's great peace of mind knowing that you will be protected if one of the bad or distracted drivers happens to find you.
Keep it safe out there.