Biggest Auto Insurance Mistake in Buffalo, NY.

Biggest Auto Insurance Mistake in Buffalo, NY.

I read with horror an opinion piece it the Buffalo News about a Depew, NY man’s pain of losing his wife in an auto accident. Then the pain was made even greater by the total lack of proper insurance coverage – his – not the at-fault driver.

Supplemental Insurance

S.U.M. Coverage

One part of your insurance policy is S.U.M. coverage, which stands for Supplemental uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage. It is where you can collect money from your own insurance policy, when hit by either someone with no insurance (it lapsed) or under-insured. So the minimum on every auto insurance policy in New York State is $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident.

Biggest Auto Insurance Mistake in Buffalo, NY.

Car accident in New York

Rear Ended Accident

For example, you in an auto accident, at fault by a driver who carries the minimum in New York of $25,000/$50,000. But you carry S.U.M. limits of $100,000 per person/ $300,000 per accident. Since you were alone in the car, you can collect $25,000 from the other driver and then an additional $75,000 from you own insurance. You cannot collect more than the coverage you carry ($100,000) so the at-fault parties insurance would pay $25,000 and your insurance company would pay $75,000.

When I read this gentleman’s story, my 1st thought was he either bought insurance from a 1-800 type insurance company or from a direct writer of insurance (they only sell “their” brand). Some brand name insurance companies (you can guess who) are told not to sell higher S.U.M. limits. Why? Because it is a claim on THEIR books and a higher loss ratio for the agent selling it. They both can make more money with a lower loss ration each year.

S.U.M. coverage in New York

Buy S.U.M. Coverage

As an independent insurance broker, we always max out the S.U.M. coverage for our clients. So if client A has $100,000 per person/ $300,000 per accident auto liability insurance, then their S.U.M. is also $100,000/$300,000. If client B has $250,000/$500,000 (the next level offered in New York) of liability insurance, then their S.U.M. coverage will also have $250,000/$500,000. We never even offer the bare minimum New York State insurance policies offer of $25,000/$50,000.

Biggest Auto Insurance Mistake in Buffalo, NY.

There is one company who advertises “name your own price” and I cringe every time I see this ad. Because if you buy based on price alone, you can end up like this man in Depew, NY – lack of coverage. Name your own price is lowering, lowering your liability limits and your S.U.M. limits until you say “yes, I like that price!” But at what cost?

Don’t find out like this man did. Deal with an insurance professional.


Tom Larsen, Independent Insurance Broker


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