As a New York driver, you likely already know that you must have uninsured motorist coverage a/k/a UM coverage in order to drive. However, you can choose whether or not to pay an additional premium to avail yourself of underinsurance coverage a/k/a UIM coverage and have a Supplementary Uninsured Motorist endorsement a/k/a SUM endorsement added to your insurance policy. 

Keep in mind that your auto insurance’s bodily injury liability provision applies only to third parties injured in an accident in which you were at fault. It does not apply to injuries you or your passengers suffer. Your UM provision covers you in the event you and your passengers become injured in an accident caused by a driver without any liability coverage. But what if that driver is underinsured instead of uninsured? 

SUM coverage 

As the New York State Bar Association explains, your SUM coverage protects you and your passengers in the following four accident situations: 

  1. An uninsured driver hits you. 
  2. A hit-and-run driver hits you. 
  3. A driver whose insurance company denies coverage hits you. 
  4. An underinsured driver hits you. 

Making an SUM claim 

You have six years after an accident in which to bring an SUM action. You must, however, meet the following five requirements; 

  1. You must notify your insurance company in writing “as soon as practicable” when you decide to make a SUM claim. 
  2. You must get a policy limit offer, meaning you must have settled with the at-fault driver. 
  3. Your policy’s bodily injury limits must exceed those of the at-fault driver. 
  4. You must be an “insured,” meaning that you must be (a) the person named in your policy; (b) the spouse or relative of the named insured; or (c) an occupant or passenger in the named insured’s vehicle. 
  5. Your SUM claim must arise from an accident, meaning you must not make a fraudulent claim, such as by staging an accident. 

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.