A bill currently on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk would require insurance companies to better inform drivers about uninsured / underinsured motorist insurance.
Currently, the default for supplemental underinsured motorist (SUM) coverage is usually $25,000, the legal minimum. This amount barely covers minor injuries, let alone the life-long injuries caused by serious accidents. Unfortunately, most drivers will accept their insurance coverage package without fully understanding what their coverage limits mean.
It is only when a driver is involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist that he or she realizes the mistake. SUM coverage is the only insurance that protects you if you are the victim of a hit-and-run crash or the driver who causes your accident is underinsured or uninsured. Compare this to liability insurance, which covers an accident when you are the driver at fault. Many people choose to increase their liability insurance, which covers other drivers' injuries, but not their SUM coverage, which covers their injuries.
If signed into law, the bipartisan bill would require insurance companies to set a much higher default for SUM coverage- the same default currently used for liability coverage. Drivers could choose to opt out of SUM coverage, but insurance companies would be required to inform them about what that would mean in the event of an accident caused by an uninsured/underinsured motorist.
Until then, you may want to consider making the SUM coverage change yourself. Take a look at your car insurance information and find how much SUM coverage you have. If it is the minimum - $25,000 - consider adding more coverage today. While premiums may be slightly higher, you could save thousands more in the long run.
Source: Star Gazette, "Guest viewpoint: N.Y. drivers would benefit from new insurance law," Jim Reed, Nov. 6, 2012
Have you been injured in a car accident with an uninsured motorist? Learn how you can recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit by visiting our pages on New York car accidents.