Underinsured and uninsured motorists in New York State

New Yorkers know that after tending to any critical injuries or medical needs, the first thing that should be done in the wake of an automobile crash is to exchange information between drivers. Certainly this includes name, phone number, automobile license plate and driver's license number but also should include the insurance company name and phone number and the policy number.

Carrying a basic level of auto insurance is a legal requirement in New York yet there are some drivers who fail to do so, leaving you with in a sticky situation if you are hit by an uninsured motorist. According to data collected by the Insurance Research Council, 13.8 percent of drivers nationally are not covered by insurance when behind the wheel.

How concerned should you be?

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles data indicates that a total of 294,757 auto accidents were reported in the state in 2012. Of those, 1,082 accidents resulted in fatalities. These numbers should make every New York state driver take note as the risk of an accident is real.

Understanding uninsured and underinsured in terms of insurance

An uninsured driver is quite simple to understand-this is someone who carries no insurance at all. But what is an underinsured motorist? This is someone who carries at least the legally required minimum coverage but whose coverage is insufficient to compensate for your damages.

For example, if you are injured in a car accident and the total cost of your medical expenses are $40,000 but the at-fault driver's insurance only covers $25,000 for your expenses, that driver is said to be underinsured.

Whether your damage and injuries were caused by an uninsured or an underinsured motorist, you can be in need of help to provide adequate care for yourself or any others in your vehicle.

What are New York's insurance requirements?

By New York State law, every licensed driver must carry enough auto insurance to cover the following damages:

  • $25,000 for injury to one person or $50,000 for injury to multiple people
  • $50,000 for death of one person or $100,000 for death of multiple people
  • $10,000 for property damage
  • $50,000 of no-fault damages

In addition, all drivers are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage. The no-fault insurance is designed to provide compensation to you in various situations, including an underinsured motorist case as described above.

Discuss your options with a professional

If you have been involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should contact an attorney. In addition to your own insurance coverage, there may be other options for you to help obtain the compensation you deserve.