Recently the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, signed the Supplementary Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist (SUM) bill into law, also known as the NYS “Driver and Family Protection Act.”

This new legislation helps to protect drivers across New York State involved in automobile accidents with under-insured or uninsured drivers. It will help 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 the SUM coverage is included in their policy unless they sign a waiver.

Matthew A. Funk, president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) sent out a letter to its members outlining 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 “ride share” companies when operating outside NYC) to establish SUM insurance coverage for all their ride share vehicles at $1.25 million, an amount equal to their required general auto insurance liability coverage.”

A large number of people are not aware of the option to purchase SUM insurance coverage. If they are injured in a car accident with an uninsured or under-insured driver they have no ability to recover adequate compensation for the injuries. Now, if a person doesn’t opt out of getting SUM coverage, they will have the reassurance that they can recover from their own SUM policy to adequately compensate their loss.

It is important to know that the SUM policy only covers the insurance policy of the uninsured or under-insured driver once their own policy has been completely exhausted. For an example, let’s say you are involved in a car accident with another automobile 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.

We encourage every Syracuse and Central New York driver to discuss SUM insurance coverage with their automobile insurance agent. If you have been involved in an accident or sustained injuries in an accident as a result of another, we also encourage you to contact us as soon as possible after the accident injury to make sure you protect your rights and compensation. All consultations are FREE, and you never have to pay a fee unless your case is successful.