Many states including New York have adopted the No-Fault Insurance Law. In basic terms, the No-Fault Insurance Law provides that when you are involved in an automobile accident, your own insurance company will pay your medical bills and lost wages regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident.

While the no fault insurance law does provide benefits for medical bills and lost wages, it generally severely limits an injured person’s right to recover for pain and suffering. For example, under New York’s no fault law, an individual injured in an automobile accident can only make a claim against a negligent party for pain and suffering if that individual sustained a “serious injury”. Serious injury is specifically defined under New York’s insurance law as: death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; fracture or broken bone; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of body function or system; or, a medically determined injury or impairment which prevents a person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute that person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 of the 180 days immediately following the accident.

Please Review Your Auto Insurance Policies

Most clients are aware of the importance of purchasing adequate liability insurance for their automobiles and their homes. However, very few people realize the “standard” automobile insurance policy contains many different parts, each must be examined carefully to determine it accurately fits your needs.

Liability Coverage

Generally, liability coverage is what protects you if you injure someone else in an accident. If an injured party files a claim against you, your insurance company is obligated to defend and indemnify you up to the amount of liability coverage you have selected with some exceptions. The amount of coverage that is right for you or your business is dependent on various factors.

Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage

Uninsured (UM) and Underinsured (UIM or SUM in some policies) coverage provides additional protection if you are injured in an automobile accident and the responsible party has no insurance or insufficient insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries.

Unfortunately, many people carry high amounts of liability insurance coverage but only minimal UM and SUM coverage. Since the cost for additional UM and SUM coverage is usually minimal, you may consider purchasing additional coverage.

New York has extremely low minimum insurance requirements. Remember, if you are hurt by someone with minimal coverage, unless you have purchased adequate UM and SUM coverage, you may not be able to recover adequate compensation.

Personal Injury Protection

Personal Injury Protection (or PIP) coverage options vary from state to state. You may want to consider purchasing additional coverage. This coverage may provide your medical and lost wage benefits regardless of who caused the accident.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage pays for repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle regardless of who caused the accident. You receive the cost of repair or the actual cash value of the vehicle whichever is less, minus your deductible. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium. If you were not at fault and if your insurance company recovers from the other driver’s insurance company you should receive a refund of your deductible. Collision coverage is usually mandatory on leased vehicles and for those vehicles for which banks have loaned money. Please edit to reflect this

In Conclusion

We believe it is critical for you to review your insurance coverage with your broker annually. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.