Uninsured Motorist Coverage: The Most Important Insurance That You May Not Know Anything About

Most responsible citizens purchase enough insurance to adequately protect potential accident victims and to give themselves peace of mind that their own assets will never be put into jeopardy as a result of an accident. Many, however, do not carry sufficient Uninsured Motorist coverage that would potentially protect themselves and their family in the event that one of them was injured by an uninsured, stolen or hit-and-run vehicle.In fact, coverage known as Supplemental Uninsured Motorist insurance (“SUM”) provides additional insurance in the event that you are injured by an insured vehicle but that vehicle lacks sufficient insurance.

For example, one of my clients was severely and permanently injured when she was knocked down in a crosswalk by a car that had only $25,000 in liability insurance. My client was living with her son who owned a car that had $300,000 liability insurance but only $25,000 in “SUM” coverage. The cost of the additional coverage, to bring the “SUM” limits up to the same $300,000 as the liability limits, is relatively small.

Here is what happened to a Staten Island man whose life was irrevocably altered by an uninsured driver and who did not have sufficient “SUM” limits on his own policy.

Recently, the New York State legislature approved laws that would require insurance companies to match the liability limits in car insurance policies with similar uninsured motorist limits, unless the car owner opted not to do so. Unfortunately, Governor Cuomo vetoed this sensible legislation. State legislators have promised to propose a similar bill next year but in the meantime, the best advice is to make sure that you are maintaining enough Uninsured Motorist coverage to give you and your family the same protection that you are giving to strangers.