Protecting your Family from Uninsured Drivers
What is SUM/UM coverage, and why is it important to me?
Supplemental Underinsured Motorist and Uninsured Motorist coverage is an important part of your automobile insurance policy. This portion of your policy covers you and your resident relatives up to the amount of coverage you purchase.
This means that if the person who causes a car accident is uninsured, there is still coverage for you and your household relatives, up to the amount of coverage you purchase.
This also means that if the person who causes an accident is underinsured, there may be additional coverage available up to the amount of your rider.
Underinsured Motorist coverage does not provide coverage in the amount you purchase – it means that you have coverage up to the amount you purchase. In other words, any coverage the at-fault party has is deducted from the amount you purchase.
For example, if the at-fault party has the New York State minimum liability coverage of $25,000, and you have a $100,000 SUM/UM rider, then the most you could ever recover is $100,000. In basic terms, it means that you have an additional $75,000 available, that you would not have had if you did not purchase the SUM/UM rider.
There are many situations where your SUM/UM coverage might be used – but again, this is coverage for you. Even if you have $100,000/$300,000 in liability coverage, it might not mean there is that much available for you. It is a good idea to make sure that you are properly covered.
Contact us at (212) 779-0057 to review your automobile policy coverage, so that we can explain how the coverage works, each coverage’s limitations, and how it might benefit you.
How To Deal With The Other Guy’s Insurance Adjuster
After an accident, if you are deemed not at fault and file a bodily injury or property damage claim, expect to become very popular with the other party’s insurance adjuster. They will likely request a recorded statement from you. You are not required to do this, and our office recommends that you never give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. (Note: If your own insurance company needs to discuss details of the accident with you, you should cooperate but still exercise caution.)
The adjuster from the at-fault driver’s insurance company probably will also ask you to sign a medical authorization to gain access to your medical records. Do not sign it. There’s no need for them to have more information than necessary. They’re simply fishing for information from either past injuries or medical conditions that could damage your claim or limit your ability to collect fair compensation.
The other party’s adjuster may also want to settle your bodily injury claim with you before you’re finished with treatment, sometimes within 24 hours of your filing…think vultures on the savannah. Remember, they’re not looking to do what’s best for you; they’re looking to do what’s best for them—saving money. Threats to withdraw a settlement offer are empty ones. Don’t settle without talking to an accident attorney.
If adjusters press you to sign a release of any sort, confer with your attorney before signing anything. Don’t be intimidated. Again, do what’s right for your circumstances, not theirs. Adjusters can also be charming, friendly, and ask seemingly innocent questions. But even a “How are you?” and a response of “Fine” can damage your case.
Let an experienced accident attorney be your mouthpiece and guide you each step of the way to fully recover damages you are owed.