McAfee Secure sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

New York Auto Insurance Basics

Purchasing auto insurance in New York is a straightforward process. The state has some simple requirements that all policies must meet, though, or NY will not allow you to register your car in the state. To ensure smooth workings with the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, there are some things every New York driver and vehicle owner should know about the state's auto insurance basics.

Minimum Insurance Requirements

Like most states, New York requires a minimal amount of bodily injury liability, property damage liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist, and personal injury protection insurance. Bodily injury liability insurance covers someone else's injuries if you are in an accident and are deemed at fault. You must carry a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for one injured person and $50,000 for more than one injured party.

Similarly, property damage liability insurance covers damage to another person's property if you are in an accident and deemed at fault. This includes their car, but can also include damage to buildings, landscaping, etc. You must carry at least $10,000 in coverage for property damage.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance covers your medical bills if you are in an accident and a person without insurance or without enough insurance to cover your bills is deemed at fault. Again, you must carry a minimum of $25,000 to cover one person's medical bills and $50,000 for more than one person.

Personal injury protection insurance is designed to pay quickly on medical bills and other sorts of injury to your person (not your vehicle) after an accident. This insurance is considered no-fault, which means that it will pay whether you are determined to have caused the accident or not. Personal injury protection insurance is especially useful in cases where it takes some time to determine fault but medical bills need to be covered urgently, or in cases where fault is impossible to determine. You must carry at least $50,000 in this type of insurance in NY.

It is important to note that personal injury protection insurance does not just cover the injuries of you and anyone in your car in case of an accident. It also covers lost earnings and any other expenses deemed reasonable in light of the accident that occurred. This includes up to 80% of lost earnings from work, up to $2,000 per month for 3 years from the day of the accident. It also can cover up to $25 per day for up to a year for reasonable expenses coming from the accident, like transportation to medical appointments, household help, and in-home therapy. Finally, it includes a $2,000 death benefit on top of the $50,000 for expenses, for a person eligible for the benefits who is killed in a car accident. In New York, personal injury insurance is considered primary to health insurance, meaning that it pays before your health insurance company is billed for any medical expenses.

Good though these benefits are, New York's personal injury protection insurance does not pay if an accident was caused intentionally, if the driver of the vehicle was intoxicated, committing a felony, driving a stolen vehicle, or riding a motorcycle. In addition, if someone is the owner of a vehicle that does not currently have a vehicle insurance policy on file with the state, that person will not be eligible for this coverage.

In addition to these minimums, it is important to know that all vehicles registered in the state of New York must carry insurance from a company authorized to do business in the state. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. If you purchase an insurance policy with an out-of-state company, you will not be able to register your vehicle. If you change your insurance policy on an already registered vehicle to an out-of-state company, the state considers your coverage lapsed and can revoke your registration and your driver's license, as well as fine you for the days of lapsed coverage.

New York has the above requirement because it requires all companies authorized to sell vehicle insurance in the state to file an electronic notice of coverage for every policy it sells. This helps the state track who does and does not have automobile insurance in New York and ensures that fraudulently obtained proof of insurance cards will not be accepted.

Auto Insurance and New York Vehicle Registration

New York is known for being very strict about its auto insurance policies and will not make any exceptions. To drive legally in the state, you simply must follow its laws. If you do not, you will not be able to register your vehicle or your vehicle's registration will be revoked, you will be subject to fines, and you may lose your driver license.

All registered vehicles in New York must carry auto insurance, whether they are actively driven or not. The only way to not have to carry insurance on your vehicle is to surrender your plates, which effectively surrenders your vehicle registration.

To register your vehicle in New York, you must present a New York State Insurance Identification Card when you apply to register a vehicle. This card must include your name, exactly the same way it appears on your application for registration, and a barcode. Your insurance company, agent, or broker should issue two copies of this card to you. You cannot change the name under which your vehicle is registered without changing the name on your insurance. The two must match at all times, or the vehicle will be considered unregistered and penalties will begin to accrue.

In addition, you must present your Insurance Identification Card and apply for registration on your vehicle within 45 days of purchasing insurance. You should bring your cards to the Department of Motor Vehicles when you apply to register your vehicle. The DMV will keep one card and the other is yours, to present to a law officer upon request or to show another motorist in case of an accident.

If you do not follow these regulations, your registration can be suspended and you can be subject to fines between $8 and $12 per day your vehicle remains unregistered. Thus, it pays to keep your vehicle's registration up to date.

Rental Car Insurance

NY state requires that even rental cars carry the minimum amount of insurance at all times. When you purchase your regular policy in New York, check to see if you are covered in a rented vehicle as well. Many of the insurance companies in the state, in order to make rental car coverage easier, just include it in your usual policy.

If you regular policy does not cover you in a rental car, check with your credit card company. Many credit cards offer rental car insurance as a perk, though some require you to notify them to activate it. If neither of these routes work for you, you will need to pay for your rental car insurance through the rental company, which generally adds an additional $5-$15 to your daily fee.

Armed with these New York auto insurance basics, you should have all the knowledge you need to follow the state's rules and regulations and drive legally on its roads.


FREE Quotes, Multiple Insurers

Zip Code