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Yes, it's good news
for New York drivers

The following is the second in a series of columns by Jim Reed, managing partner of the Ziff Law Firm regarding news of a legal nature that readers might find timely in this ever-changing world.

By Jim Reed
Managing partner
Ziff Law Firm, Elmira

New York state residents rarely get good news from our state capital in Albany, but late last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered motorists a welcome Christmas present when he signed the Driver and Family Protection Act.

The new law improves insurance coverage for everyone who travels by vehicle because it better protects New Yorkers who are involved in accidents with drivers who are uninsured or underinsured.

Under the old law, insured motorists educated enough about insurance to protect themselves had to request that their Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) insurance policy limits be increased to match their liability limits.

Under the new law, your insurance company is required to match your liability and SUM limits unless the insured specifically waives the increased SUM coverage by signing an opt-out form. (Why would anyone sign the form?)

Let me explain why this is important, and why you should not opt out of equal limits.

Your liability insurance covers injuries or damage to other people or property if you're at fault in an accident.

Your SUM coverage, on the other hand, protects you and your family if you are involved in a crash with an uninsured or underinsured vehicle.

SUM coverage is the most critical part of your car insurance policy, and here’s why: If you have an accident caused by another driver who has no or inadequate insurance, you could end up paying for your own recovery, and your medical bills could be staggering. For these reasons, I strongly urge my clients to carry at least $250,000 of SUM coverage.

If you’re like most drivers, you would love to carry the bare minimum of required coverage to keep your costs down. I get that ... we all want to save money and it’s no fun spending a lot on insurance. But saving a few bucks on insurance could be the worst financial decision you ever make because it could leave you with huge medical bills and no insurance to cover it.

I have met too many people who didn’t know about the need for sufficient SUM coverage until it was too late. Don’t accept the opt-out offer from your insurance company. Your rates may go up, but consider it an investment in your family’s future.

So dig out your current car insurance policy now and make sure your insurance company follows the new law and sets your liability and SUM limits at the same amounts this year.

If you have a question about your car insurance policy or want me to take a look at your auto policy, feel free to email me at I am happy to review your policy free of charge.


To see Jim Reed's first column, click here.

© The Odessa File 2018
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869