What is SUM automobile insurance?

April 18, 2013

In our years of experience as Buffalo personal injury attorneys, we have found that people often do not ask this question until it is too late.  SUM insurance stands for Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance.  If you suffer a personal injury in a motor vehicle accident, having a sizable SUM policy may help you obtain full compensation for your injuries.

SUM insurance is a part of your automobile insurance that you buy to protect yourself should you be involved in an injury motor vehicle accident with a driver who is either uninsured or carries too little insurance to pay for your personal injury.  SUM insurance may only be used when the full amount of the negligent driver’s insurance policy is paid.  When that happens, your own insurer may be required to pay additional money for your damages – up to the difference between the amount of SUM coverage you have and the amount paid by the other driver’s insurance.

For example, a Buffalo driver with $100,000 in SUM coverage is involved in a personal injury car accident where the negligent driver only carries $25,000 in coverage.  The injuries are worth more than $25,000, and the negligent driver’s insurance pays the full $25,000.  Once this happens, the injured driver may then seek up to $75,000 in additional compensation from his or her own insurance company, which is the difference between the other driver’s bodily injury policy and the injured driver’s SUM coverage.

In our experience, many people are not aware that they can seek additional SUM coverage through their own insurance company to protect themselves.  If you are injured by another driver, it may be to your benefit to have more than minimal SUM insurance.  You cannot control how much insurance other driver’s carry, but you can control the amount of SUM coverage in your own insurance policy.