What is Bodily Injury Liability coverage?
New York drivers are legally required to have “Bodily Injury” or “BI” coverage as part of their automobile insurance policy. This coverage is used to compensate a person injured due to a driver’s negligent operation of a vehicle if the person’s injuries meet the “Serious Injury” threshold as defined by New York law. This is the type of coverage that would pay you for your “pain and suffering” as well as bills not covered by No-Fault insurance.
How much Bodily Injury coverage is required?
In New York, vehicles are only required to have a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in automobile coverage.
Can a person have Bodily Injury Liability coverage higher than $25,000/$50,000? Absolutely, everyone has the option of paying for higher BI coverage but it is very common for vehicles in New York to have just the bare minimum coverage as it is the most affordable.
With a minimum BI policy, regardless of how catastrophic your injuries are, the most you can recover from the negligent driver’s insurance is $25,000 per person.
Also, regardless of the number of people injured as a result of the negligent driver’s actions, the most that can be recovered in total from the negligent driver’s insurance carrier is $50,000..
- Example: A family of six is rear-ended by a negligent driver and all six family members are seriously injured. Those six people would have to divide up a total maximum amount of $50,000.
There is a way to ensure that you have higher coverage that covers you and your family in the event that a negligent driver has no insurance or the minimum BI coverage amount. This coverage is called Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage.
What is Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage?
New York law requires every insurance carrier to offer Supplemental Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) Coverage.
SUM coverage is extremely important as it could pay you (and your passengers) if you are seriously injured by a negligent driver who is underinsured (minimum $25,000/$50,000 policy), uninsured (no insurance), driving a stolen vehicle or commits a hit and run against you.
Under your own automobile insurance policy, you have the option of choosing higher coverage to provide more protection for you and your passengers. Supplementary Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage provides a significant increase in coverage available to pay you and/or your family/passengers injured by an uninsured, underinsured (only $25,000/$50,000), or hit-and-run driver.
How much can you increase your SUM coverage above the minimum $25,000/$50,000 that every policy has in order to protect you and your family?
Every insurance carrier is different, however, typically the options are:
- $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident
- $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident
- $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident
- $500,000 per person and $500,000 per accident
Some insurance carriers offer even higher amounts up to $1,000,000.
Yes, increasing your SUM policy limits will increase your premium, however, typically it is not as much as you would think. At a bare minimum, ask your insurance agent for a quote!
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have the highest SUM coverage you can afford!
How does Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage work?
The negligent driver’s Bodily Injury (BI) coverage would pay first and then a claim would be made against your own policy under the SUM coverage you paid for.
The claim against your own SUM coverage would be for the difference between the negligent driver’s BI limits and what your own SUM policy limit is.
- Example: Assume you have SUM coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. You are rear-ended by a negligent driver and are seriously injured. You would be paid the negligent driver’s $25,000 policy. We would then make a claim against your own SUM coverage for the difference between the two policies. You could receive up to another $75,000 from your SUM policy ($25,000 + $75,000 = $100,000 total SUM limit).
- Example: Assume you have SUM coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Your family of six are rear-ended by a negligent driver and all six passengers are seriously injured. Your family would receive the $50,000 from the negligent driver’s insurance and we would make a claim against your own SUM coverage. Your family of six could receive another $250,000 from your SUM policy ($50,000 + $250,000 = $300,000 SUM limit) to divide amongst your family.
There is a specific time frame in which you must bring a claim against your SUM policy, which is why it is critical that you reach out to Kammholz Rossi PLLC immediately.
How Kammholz Rossi – Car Accident Attorneys can help?
At Kammholz Rossi PLLC, we bring almost 50 years of combined legal experience, trial savvy and investigative diligence to your case. We understand the various types of insurance that are relevant in your unique case and how they may work together to maximize your claim. We believe that compassion, honesty, and diligence are the foundation of successful personal injury cases. We put our deep knowledge of the law to work for you. Local experience is crucial and gives our team an advantage.
We are here to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible.
Please call our team in Rochester to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer.
We will help you determine the best possible course of action with your claim. We are available at 585-684-8545 and by email. We look forward to speaking with you soon.