SUM stands for Supplemental Underinsured Motorist Coverage, and you need it to protect yourself against other drivers who carry minimum or insufficient liability insurance coverage. Every motor vehicle insurance policy in New York is required to have Supplemental Underinsurance Motorist Coverage (SUM). However, the coverage is only a benefit to you if you have SUM coverage in a greater amount than the vehicle which is at fault has liability coverage. SUM coverage protects those people covered by your auto insurance policy (usually you and residents of your home). If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, and suffer damages that would entitle you to compensation greater than the liability policy limits of the other driver, you can look to your SUM coverage to make up the difference. SUM coverage is different from liability coverage. Liability coverage protects you from people suing you, and makes payments to people injured by your negligent driving, or people negligently driving your vehicle. SUM coverage compensates you for damages suffered due to the negligence of other drivers. Here is an example of how it works:
Assume the other driver has $25,000 in liability insurance coverage, which is the minimum amount of liability insurance that a vehicle owner is allowed to maintain in the State of New York:
If you have $25,000 in SUM coverage: You can collect $25,000 from the other driver's insurance and $0 additional from your insurance. Thus, no matter how great your injuries, you could not collect more than $25,000 in insurance for your pain and suffering.
However, if you have $100,000 in SUM coverage. You can collect $25,000 from the other driver's insuarance and up to $75,000 more from your insurance for your injuries. Thus you can collect the difference ($75,000) between your SUM coverage ($100,000) and the other driver's liability coverage ($25,000). Your total compensation would thus be $100,000 ($25,000 from the other driver's insurance and $75,000 from your insurance)..
If you have $250,00 in SUM coverage. You can collect $25,000 from the other driver's insurance and up to $225,000 more from your insurance for your injuries, for a total compensation of $225,000.Obviously, the more SUM coverage you have, the more you can potentially collect in compensation for your injuries, if your damages warrant it. The cost of increasing your SUM coverage is relatively small compared to the protection it affords you, and your family, from underinsured motorists. You should certainly review the declaration sheet of your automobile insurance policy to see what your SUM coverage is, and consider increasing it. You should certainly have at least the same amount in SUM coverage as you do in liability coverage. After all, isn't is just as important for you to protect your own family and make sure that they are fully compensated for injuries caused by others, as it is for you to compensate complete strangers? If you have any questions about SUM coverage, or any other aspect of personal injury law, do not hesitate to contact us. At Zalman Schnurman & Miner we offer a free consultation on all possible accident and injury cases. Zalman Schnurman & Miner P.C. is a New York law firm that concentrates in personal injury actions such as motor vehicle accident cases, bus accidents, pedestrian-vehicular accidents, car accidents; truck accidents, motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, wrongful death cases, traumatic brain injuries, etc. Learn more at www.1800Lawline.com, or contact us at 1-800-LAWLINE, or 1-800-529-5463 Zalman Schnurman & Miner P.C. handles personal injury actions in New York City, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County, and Rockland County. Even if we are unable to act as your attorney, we can often refer you to an attorney that can. The information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not meant as legal advice or to cover all possible facts or factors. An attorney should be consulted to discuss specific facts and laws.