New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed the Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) bill, also known as the "Driver and Family Protection Act” into law.
This new legislation is designed to protect New Yorkers across the state who are involved in crashes with underinsured or uninsured drivers. It will do so by requiring insurance companies to inform customers about SUM insurance, and provide a waiver opt-out form for all new policies to inform them that SUM coverage is included in their policy unless they sign the waiver.
In a letter to New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) members, NYSTLA president Matthew A. Funk outlined just how valuable this new legislation will be.
“SUM insurance is so important that, after NYSTLA's advocacy, the Governor and the New York legislature required Transportation Network Companies (Uber, Lyft and other "rideshare" companies when operating outside NYC) to establish SUM insurance coverage for all their rideshare vehicles at $1.25 million, an amount equal to their required general auto insurance liability coverage.”
Many, if not most, people are completely unaware of the option of purchasing SUM coverage for their car and, therefore, end up injured a car accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver with no ability to recover adequate compensation for their injuries. Now, if people do not opt-out of getting SUM coverage, they will at least have the reassurance that they can recover from their own SUM policy to adequately compensate them.
Insurance policy holders should remember, though, that the SUM policy only covers above the insurance policy of the uninsured or underinsured driver once their policy has been completely exhausted. So, for example, if you are injured in a car accident involving another vehicle that has $25,000 of insurance coverage and you have $100,000 SUM coverage on your own insurance policy, you can potentially recover up to $75,000 from your SUM policy, as long as you have recovered the full $25,000 from the other driver’s policy first.
Our team here at The Perecman Firm is excited to see this important piece of legislation finally be signed into law, something our attorneys have been lobbying for alongside our fellow members of the NYSTLA. If you were seriously injured in a car crash caused by a negligent or reckless driver and are in need of an experienced New York personal injury attorney, call us at (212) 577-9325 or send us your information to start out with a free case evaluation today.