New York Governor Cuomo recently signed a bill that updates the state’s automobile insurance laws. Coined by some as the Supplemental Underinsured Motorist (SUM) insurance bill, or just the SUM bill, it is expected to act as a boon for New York drivers while also not shorting insurance companies. The objective of the SUM bill is to add clarity to New York’s auto insurance laws and how such policies operate in the state. Due to the consumer protections established by the SUM bill, Attorney Scott Wiss of Levine and Wiss, PLLC lobbied the bill to New York state legislators and is proud to have played a part in its successful passing.
Before the bill was signed, someone who was hurt in a car accident caused by another driver could only collect insurance coverage up to the cap of the insurance policy owned by the liable driver. If they wanted more than that cap, which could be quite low, they would have to buy SUM insurance. After years of professional asking-around and work on the new bill, it was determined that the average driver in New York had no idea that SUM insurance even existed for purchase.
The newly-signed bill has turned SUM insurance into a default offering from insurance companies. When someone buys a policy for a certain amount of coverage, they also buy SUM insurance for the same amount. If they want to save on premiums – while also increasing their risk of not getting enough coverage after a car accident – they can sign a separate waiver opting out. Although, it is not expected for many people to want to actually opt out of SUM insurance due to its great benefit and typically low cost.
Insurance companies are not bothered by the bill, either. Even though they need to technically increase the coverage given to drivers, it also allows them to gain a little more in insurance premiums each month. This SUM bill represents one of the few times where legislation rings in a true win-win scenario.
At Levine and Wiss, we are proud to be strong legal advocates for the wrongfully injured in their hours of need. Indeed, we did not hesitate to give our support to the SUM bill, for we knew it would act as great consumer protection legislation. If you have been hit by a negligent driver in New York and fear you will not be able to collect enough compensation to pay for your damages, please do not hesitate to call our New York City personal injury lawyers at (888) 973-0344. We can set up an initial consultation to get you pointed in the right direction.