I have a true story to share about the serious consequences of NOT having the correct car insurance. The cautionary tale I have to tell happened to a local person, a client of mine who gave me the go-ahead to share his name and story.
I have blogged before and even written a book about the vital supplemental coverage your car insurance provider may be unwilling to tell you about. The most important insurance you can buy – and I bet you don’t have it – is SUM: Supplemental Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorists coverage.
What is SUM and why would an insurance company be reluctant to sell it to you? (It goes against common experience, right!?)
SUM provides coverage from YOUR insurance company to protect YOU if the other driver’s policy does not adequately cover your damages.
Insurance companies are reluctant to push SUM coverage because it offers a lot of coverage for low premiums – making it a smart buy for consumers and a losing proposition for insurance companies.
One accident victim’s story
New York state law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance. But the minimum coverage is $50,000 – a drop in the bucket if you have serious injuries and lose time from work.
My client, Peter Schrempf of Ithaca, kindly gave his consent for me to share his story on the NY Injury Law Blog, in the hopes that his experience could forewarn others.
Peter was run down while riding his bicycle. He was struck by a pickup that stopped at a stop sign on a side road, but then continued on. The driver claimed that he never saw Peter.
Peter suffered massive injuries from the collision. Unfortunately, the driver of the pickup truck only had $50,000 of liability coverage. That is the minimum required by New York state law.
Peter also only had $50,000 of SUM coverage from his own insurance carrier. This means that, bottom line, the most Peter could receive in compensation for his debilitating injuries is $50,000.
I wrote a whole book on the topic of protecting your family with the proper auto insurance, “Learn the Five Secrets to Buying Auto Insurance in NY.” It was based on what I found, in more than 20 years as a personal injury lawyer, to be the biggest return on investment for car insurance protection you can buy. In an appendix to the book, I even explain the cost comparisons for increasing your SUM coverage.
I have also written before on the NY Injury Law Blog regarding SUM coverage, in the post “Too Many Drivers Light on Insurance Coverage, Elmira Accident Attorney Warns” in particular. In addition, the Ziff Law Firm has an FAQ about car crashes and auto insurance.
If Peter had my recommended minimum SUM coverage of $250,000 on his own car, he could have received an additional $200,000 from his own insurance company. All of this additional coverage for what would have been less than $10/month in additional premiums.
It is sad to say, but the value and availability of SUM coverage is NOT common knowledge. That is why I try to share information about this important coverage out every chance I get and through different means – from my book, to my firm’s web site and by blogging. Please learn something from Peter’s experience and my knowledge of New York state car insurance coverage laws – don’t delay in asking your insurance provider about your SUM options.
Thanks for reading,
James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and