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Are You Underinsured?


3 simple letters. Supplementary Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

Four complicated words that can strike fear into an injured driver and many a personal injury attorney.

This blog talks about a case where an insurance company wanted to deny our client insurance coverage he paid for, but J&G went to court and won him the coverage.

Here are the facts.

  • Our client was riding his motorcycle and was injured by an out of control car [the bad guy]. The insurance company for the bad guy paid our client the full amount of its coverage.
  • To his credit, our client had Supplementary Underinsured Motorist Coverage on his motorcycle. This coverage provides extra insurance if the vehicle that hits you injures you so badly that your injuries deserve more money than the bad guy has.
  • In other words, the bad guy is not insured enough, is underinsured for the damages he caused. Your own underinsurance can come to the rescue BUT ONLY if the amount of your underinsurance coverage is greater than the bad guy’s insurance.

In the motorcycle case, the underinsurance on the motorcycle was the same as the bad guys insurance so the bad guy was not underinsured. So where is this blog post going?

When we first met our client, we asked him if he owned a car as well as a motorcycle, and if so, did he have SUM coverage on that car? Again to his credit, our client owned a car and indeed had a large amount of SUM coverage. We asked the car insurer to pay its SUM coverage to our client. That insurance carrier said NO, they didn’t insure the motorcycle and besides, the motorcycle had no SUM coverage and thus the car SUM coverage didn’t apply. J&G argued that there was SUM coverage on the motorcycle, that they insured the car owned by our client and that was enough. Yes, it’s murky.

The Court, however, saw it clearly. The Court said that even though our client had SUM coverage on the motorcycle, it was in the minimum amount, and therefore not effective. The remaining question was whether the car policy would provide coverage for a motorcycle accident? After examining the car policy, the Court ruled that YES, the car policy did provide coverage.

The insurance carrier might appeal the court’s decision, so stay tuned.

It is we lawyers who write some complicated documents and it is we lawyers who can untangle them as well. If you have what appear to be complicated documents that need to be untangled, talk to a competent attorney. You might be surprised at what can be done.

This is not intended to be legal advice.  You should contact an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.



Robert M. Lefland is Senior Counsel and primary attorney in charge of Personal Injury at J&G. He can be reached by calling 866.303.9595 toll free or 845.764.9656 and by email .  He is available by appointment on Saturday’s.  If you need his immediate attention, you can reach him on cell.



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