Every New York State automobile policy has a provision to protect the policyholder from automobiles with $25,000 limited coverage and from uninsured motor vehicles. When the New York Legislators raised the minimum coverage on auto policies from $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident some years ago, they compromised with the insurance companies. The Legislature raised the minimum coverage to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident and no higher as long as the automobile policy offered the policyholder to buy coverage to protect themselves from $25,000 policies and from uninsured vehicles. The Consumer can purchase uninsured and underinsurance coverage up to the amount of their liability coverage.
This well kept secret about buying such insurance has to be offered when your automobile insurance policy is written. However, since the insurance companies extend their risk, they do not like to write this coverage and the offer to purchase this coverage is buried in the policy.
In essence, when you purchase automobile insurance you can protect yourself from all cars with minimum policies of $25,000/50,000 or from cars without insurance which is called UIM or SUM coverage. If a consumer purchases this coverage and has an accident and sustains personal injuries that have a value above the coverage limits of the automobile that hit you, the injured party can put in a claim against their own insurance policy up to the liability limit you have purchased. For example: if your injuries are worth $100,000 and the car that hit you has no insurance or the minimum coverage of $25,000.00, you can put in a claim against your own insurance coverage up to $100,000 because you purchased this extra coverage. In New York, the law allows the UIM or SUM insurance company to deduct the policy of the responsible party so in the illustration above your uninsured or underinsurance coverage (up to the limit of your liability coverage) would allow you to put a claim in up to $75,000 against your own insurance policy.
You have protected yourself up to the limit of your liability coverage. In other words, the limit of liability coverage of $100,000 protects parties that you may injure up to the $100,000. If you purchased the uninsured/underinsurance coverage, you are protecting yourself from all vehicles on the road who have limited coverage or no insurance. If you are protecting strangers who you may hurt up to $100,000, why not protect yourself up to the same limit for other cars that may injure you who have limited or no liability coverage.
New York Law at present requires you to affirmatively purchase this coverage up to your own liability coverage. If you say nothing, the policy is written with the minimum uninsured/underinsurance only up to $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident. You on renewal of your automobile policy have purchased minimum coverage to protect yourself and injuries you may sustain from another automobile. It is important to protect yourself from these minimum coverage policies or vehicles without insurance by purchasing the uninsured/underinsurance coverage. Recently, the New York State Trial Lawyers have lobbied the New York State Legislature to compel auto insurance companies to write your policy with coverage up to your liability limits, automatically protecting you from uninsured or underinsured automobiles. If you purchase an automobile policy with liability limits of $100,000/300,000, then by this new legislature, your uninsured/underinsurance coverage would be $100,000/300,000 automatically. Naturally, the insurance companies can and does charge you for this coverage. However, the cost is minimal compared to protecting yourself from all automobiles with limited $25,000 policies or no insurance.
If you, or someone you know, have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, we request that you contact our office so that we can help take you through all of the necessary steps required to eventually file a lawsuit, if necessary, against the other vehicle. You can reach us at (914) 288-0800. We look forward to helping you through this difficult time and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed in the process.