In the State of New York, in order to register a vehicle, you must have New York State issued automobile liability insurance.  If there is a lapse in auto insurance, the DMV will suspend your vehicle registration and driver’s license and you will be required to pay significant fines.

The State of New York requires the following mandatory minimum for car insurance pursuant to the NY Code of Rules and Regulations:

  • Property Damage: $10,000 in property damage coverage as a result of an accident
  • At-fault Liability: $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in the accident or $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two+ people in an accident.
  • Uninsured Motorist: $25,000 for injuries and $50,000 for death of one person, in any one accident or $50,000 for injuries and $100,000 for deaths for two+ people in one accident.

At-fault liability insurance is the coverage for damage that the insured driver caused.  So for instance, if a driver runs a red light and collides with another driver, the at-fault insurance of the driver who ran the red-light would cover the physical injuries of the other party who was hit.

Uninsured motorist insurance covers physical injuries that an insured driver sustains when involved in an accident with another driver who does not have insurance.

It Is Better To Be Safe Than Sorry

Although the State prescribes mandatory minimums for coverage, it is almost always better to have more coverage than the minimum.  For instance, if you are involved in a car accident that injured the driver of the other car, you may be responsible to pay damages for the physical injuries they sustained.  If the damages are more than the insurance coverage you have, the driver can sue you personally for any additional money that is not paid by the insurance coverage.

Increasing your car insurance does not have to be an expensive endeavor.  More often than not, increasing your coverage does not mean a huge increase in out of pocket expense.  Increasing liability coverage by thousands of dollars can usually be done for a couple extra dollars a month in payment.

Comprehensive and Collision Coverage:

The other two forms of popular insurance coverage are Comprehensive Coverage and Collision Coverage.  If you own your car outright, meaning no loans or leases, then these forms of insurance are not mandatory under the laws of New York.  When leasing or purchasing a car with a loan, the lending institution will typically require these forms of insurance in order to secure the loan.

Comprehensive Coverage protects against any damage to your car not caused by a collision.  This can cover a wide variety of things including, but not limited to,  theft, fire, vandalism, falling tree branches, are all part of Comprehensive Coverage.

Collision Coverage by contrast is any damage caused to an insured vehicle when it is being driven.  For instance an accident involving another car, or a tree, or a fence post, is covered under Collision Coverage.

It is always a good idea to have these two types of insurance so you are not force to pay an entire bill in the event of an incident.

Underinsured Coverage:

Underinsurance coverage is designed to increase the level of protection for insured drivers injured by the negligence of someone else.  If the negligent driver’s liability insurance is not enough to cover the injuries of the innocent driver, the underinsurance coverage of the innocent driver kicks in and covers the rest of the damages.  This is an extra security blanket to make sure that no matter what type of insurance anyone else has, you can guarantee you are protected.  For a limited monetary investment, you can secure this additional insurance and ensure that you are fully covered in the event of an accident.