New York Car Insurance Laws

Auto insurance requirements in New York State

Drivers in New York must carry car insurance to be legal behind the wheel. Proof of coverage must also be carried at all times while driving. Below you’ll find the minimum insurance requirements in New York as well as some optional coverages that could offer even more protection for you and your assets.

Minimum Liability Coverage: 25/50/10
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage 25/50Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage per accident
  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $50,000 per person

Bear in mind that those who finance or lease a car could face additional insurance requirements as a part of your contract.

 

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in New York

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is legally required in New York and pays for injury and lost wages that you or your passengers may suffer in the event that you are hit by an uninsured driver who is at fault.

 

Personal injury protection (PIP) requirements in New York

Because New York is a no-fault state, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP). PIP provides coverage for medical costs that you and your passengers incur in an accident regardless of fault. PIP will cover medical expenses such as hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and even work loss resulting from an accident. In New York, minimum PIP coverage of $50,000 per person is required on your policy.

 

Liability insurance coverage in New York State

Liability coverage is legally required in New York. This coverage pays for bodily injury and property damage that you cause to another driver or their passengers in an accident in which you are at fault. This coverage can also apply to expenses related to funeral costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. It should be noted that your liability coverage never pays for your injuries or property damage, so you may want to consider further coverage options to add more protection.

 

What are state-mandated car insurance limits in NY?

The term limits refers to the maximum amount that your car insurance company will pay in the event of a claim. States have the authority to set minimum limits of coverage which drivers must adhere to in order to be considered legal. For instance, New York’s PIP limits require a minimum of $50,000 per person.

Liability coverage limits are normally split into three categories: bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage. In New York, these coverage limits are written out as 25/50/10 and are explained in greater detail below. 

  • $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person is the maximum dollar amount your insurer will pay for a single person that you injure in an auto accident.
  • $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident refers to the total amount your insurer will pay for all injuries that you cause in an accident if more than one person is hurt.
  • $10,000 in property damage per accident is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for damage that you cause in an at-fault accident. 

Coverage limits for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are normally split into two categories. In New York, the minimum limits for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are listed as 25/50 and explained below:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury coverage per person. This is the maximum dollar amount paid out for a single person injured in your vehicle by an uninsured driver.
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident. This is the total amount paid out for all injuries in your vehicle by an uninsured driver if more than one person is hurt.

 

Do New York’s required car insurance minimums provide enough coverage?

While New York requires more types of coverage than many other states, the limits still remain quite low. If you were to seriously injure someone in an at-fault accident, the $25,000 limit could be exhausted quickly. Furthermore, the $10,000 in property damage is less than half of the cost of a new vehicle, meaning that you could be personally liable for paying for the remainder of the damages out-of-pocket.

Increasing your insurance limits is highly recommended. Most insurance companies allow you to do this for a modest increase in your premium. Minimum liability coverage limits of at least 50/100/50 are recommended, though you should consider going even higher if you have assets such as a house. There are also different coverage types that can help to provide more protection for yourself and your automobile that you could consider.

 

New York’s penalties for driving without proof of insurance

Insurance companies in New York must notify the DMV whenever your liability coverage begins or ends. If your coverage ends and you have not purchased liability insurance, you must turn in your license plates to the DMV. If the authorities find that you or another party has been driving your uninsured vehicle, you could face the following penalties:

  • Vehicle impounded
  • Possible arrest
  • Vehicle registration suspended equal to the lapsed period
  • Fines (see fine schedule below)
Duration of Lapse
Amount of Fine
1-30 days$8 per day
31-60 days$10 per day
61-90 days$12 per day


If your lapsed period is longer than 90 days, your driver's license will be suspended for the duration of your registration suspension. You must then pay a $50 fee to have it reinstated.

Also, if you are in an accident while driving without liability insurance, your driver's license and vehicle registration can be revoked for a full year.

 

Optional car insurance coverage in New York State

While New York law requires liability, UMBI, and PIP, most carriers allow consumers the option to add or increase their coverage in order to provide greater protection.

  • Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle against non-collision damages your vehicle might sustain (though it does cover collisions with animals).
  • Collision: Collision coverage goes toward covering your vehicle in the event that you collide with another car or fixed object. Keep in mind, however, that collisions with animals are covered under comprehensive only.
  • Gap coverage: Because of the rapid depreciation of most vehicles, it can be a good idea to have some built-in protection to cover the difference of the actual cash value of your car and the amount you still owe on your loan. Sometimes known as loan/lease coverage, this is a great option for those who don’t want to be caught upside down in a loan.
  • Medical payments: Often referred to as “med pay,” this coverage goes towards your medical bills or funeral expenses (as well as those incurred by passengers in your vehicle). This coverage usually has limits that fall between $5,000 and $10,000 and can be used regardless of who is at fault.
  • Rental car reimbursement: If your car is rendered inoperable due to a covered loss, this coverage can go toward paying for a rental until yours can be fixed. Limits and terms can vary depending on which company you choose.
  • Roadside assistance: If you break down on the highway, this coverage goes toward covering the cost of a tow, battery charge, or a number of other related costs.
  • Additional Personal Injury Protection (APIP): APIP works as an extension of your PIP coverage. This increase is usually in increments of $50,000 and can be purchased to cover additional expenses, lost wages or medical expenses.
  • Optional Basic Economic Loss (OBEL): Like APIP, this is an extension of your PIP coverage that allows you to increase your coverage beyond the initial $50,000. OBEL coverage can be used to pay for medical treatments or lost wages.

 

Why adhering to car insurance requirements in New York is important

To stay legal on the roads, having car insurance is mandatory. However, it’s also just a good idea, as not carrying it can have serious financial consequences. If adding additional coverage has you concerned about rising premiums, it may be time to consider a new car insurance policy. The Zebra can help you compare rates and policies from the top car insurance companies in the country. Enter your ZIP below to get quotes that can help you find the coverage you need.

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Ross Martin LinkedIn

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross is responsible for researching and writing about all matters related to auto and home insurance. He has a background in writing and education, as well as a masters degree from Royal Holloway, University of London. He has been quoted by Kin Insurance, Safety.com, and autoinsuranceEZ.com.