There’s no arguing – or changing – the fact that accidents happen. Add to life’s essential element of chance the fact that people take risks when driving: Going over the speed limit, falling asleep, talking on cell phones, pushing through lights and passing on curves… The list of violations goes on. You see or on the road or hear about it on the news almost every day.

The truth is you can’t entirely protect yourself from a car accident – short of becoming a hermit on a deserted island – because you can’t control all the factors of the environment. There are two things you can do, however: Drive responsibly, and have the best insurance options in case fate takes a hand.

Three types of auto insurance

No-fault: Every car in New York State is required to carry no-fault insurance to the tune of $50,000 in coverage. No-fault covers the driver and passengers for medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who was at fault in causing the accident.

Liability: Basically, liability insurance, unlike no-fault insurance, is concerned with who caused an accident. Liability insurance provides coverage to those who have been injured by the negligent driving of others.

Every car in New York State is required to carry a minimum of $25,000/$50,000 in liability coverage. Liability coverage kicks in when two criteria have been met:

  • You have been seriously injured, as defined in the insurance law. (An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine if you meet these criteria.)
  • The other vehicle caused the accident.

Supplemental Underinsured Motorists’ coverage: The required liability limit in New York state is low -only $25,000. Maybe (I hope not!) you have an understanding of how far $25,000 goes in a hospital. It’s not enough in many cases to cover damages and injuries. SUM coverage offers additional benefits if you are hurt by a negligent driver who is only carrying minimum liability coverage.

Better SUM than sorry

You should have at least as much SUM coverage as liability coverage. Ask your insurance carrier about your SUM coverage – it’s usually only a small additional fee to beef it up.

Sad to say, but often the most dangerous drivers are the ones who carry the least amount of insurance coverage.

Control what you can – and be prepared to handle what you can’t control.

Thanks for reading, Jim


James B. Reed, Esq.

Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney

Ziff Law Firm, LLP

303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902

Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062

Toll Free 1-800-943-3529