What Is SUM Automobile Insurance?

by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC on January 12, 2010

in NY Insurance Issues

In our years of experience as personal injury attorneys in the Buffalo area, we have found that many people do not ask this question until it is too late.  SUM insurance stands for Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance, and is required to be a part of your automobile insurance policy under New York State law.  This means that if you are struck by a driver who does not have automobile insurance, your own SUM insurance provides you with coverage.

SUM insurance may also be used, however, in cases where a negligent driver does not carry enough insurance to provide adequate monetary compensation for the damages he or she has caused.  This SUM insurance may only be used when the full amount available under the negligent driver’s policy is exceeded, and only pays any difference between the amount of SUM coverage you have and the amount paid by the other driver’s insurance. 

For example, you are involved in a personal injury car accident in Erie County and suffer injuries worth more than $25,000.  The negligent driver only carries $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, but you carry $75,000 in SUM coverage.  If the negligent driver’s insurance pays the entire $25,000 in coverage, you may then seek from your insurance company up to $50,000 in additional compensation, which is the difference between the other driver’s bodily injury policy and your SUM coverage.

In our experience, many people are not aware that they can seek this additional coverage through their own insurance company.  If you are injured by another driver, it may be to your benefit to carry more than the minimum SUM coverage.

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