New York State requires every motor vehicle registered in the state to carry personal-injury liability insurance with a coverage amount of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 limit per accident or in the case of death at least $50,000 per person and a total of $100,000 per accident. In addition, the minimum amount of property damage coverage that a person must carry is $10,000. These limits only apply to harm you have caused to others and not to yourself. These are not large amounts in view of costs today. If you were so unfortunate as to be seriously injured in an accident caused by a driver who was carrying only these minimum amounts of insurance coverage, the most you could receive for your personal injuries would be only $25,000. In addition, too many vehicles on our roads carry no insurance at all.
As both a practical and legal matter, it is next to impossible to recover from most negligent operators more than they carry in insurance coverage. Therefore, anyone who is injured by the negligent driver of a car, bus, truck, or motorcycle in New York is often forced to accept a total of only $25,000 in insurance benefits, regardless of the seriousness of the loss.
True, some drivers or owners do carry liability coverage in excess of these minimum amounts. For the victim of an accident, however, the amount of compensation available is largely a matter of chance.
Fortunately, there is a solution. To protect ourselves and our loved ones in the event of serious injury, we can ensure that there will be sufficient insurance coverage by buying supplementary uninsured and underinsured coverage. This additional coverage is available on any auto insurance policy in which the liability limits are high than the $25,000/$50,000 minimum. Under New York law, every insurance company must offer this type of insurance with up to at least $250,000 per person and a total of $500,000 per accident. Since the law does not permit you to insure yourself in amounts higher than you provide for others on the road, you must provide as much coverage for others as you have in uninsured and underinsured coverage for yourself. The cost in additional premiums for this coverage, however, is a small percentage of your total insurance premium.
For your own benefit, review the “declarations sheet” of your insurance policy today to find out how much coverage you have. If you have more than $25,000 in liability coverage, but do not have uninsured and underinsured coverage, call your insurance company and order this insurance. If you have only the minimum required coverage limits, ask your agent about increasing your limits and adding the uninsured/underinsured coverage to your insurance. Even if you already have more than the minimum coverage limits, consider increasing your coverage. With the current cost of medical care and the increased risk of injury on the road, the added expense will be outweighed by the comfort of knowing that you will have the money that you will likely need to recover from a serious accident. Don’t delay, make the call today.