New York Car Insurance Requirements

Fast, Free Auto Insurance Quotes

Minimum car insurance in New York

Compared to most other states, New York requires a lot of car insurance. You must have liability insurance, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and personal injury protection (PIP) to legally drive. In addition, there are other insurance types you may want, along with some confusing rules. Let's look at what's required and optional in New York so you can make the right picks.

Minimum liability insurance:

This is required. Liability car insurance pays for damage and injuries you cause to others, such as hitting someone else's car or property, like a fence or building. You can save money by buying only the minimum liability insurance required in New York, but you can be sued if your insurance limits aren't enough to cover accident bills. In New York you must buy liability coverage limits of at least:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person.
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident.
  • $10,000 property damage per accident.

This is often written as 25/50/10.

Minimum uninsured motorist coverage:

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage pays for injuries to you and your passengers from a driver with no liability insurance or not enough. UM coverage can be confusing in New York. Let's break it down:

  • UM is required in New York at a minimum of 25/50 (meaning $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident for injuries). In New York, UM covers you only for accidents that take place in New York state.
  • In New York you can also buy "supplemental uninsured motorist" coverage, known as SUM. This covers you for accidents with uninsured drivers outside New York state.

Personal injury protection (PIP):

New York has a no-fault insurance system. That means you make small injury claims on your own policy, no matter who caused the accident. Personal injury protection (PIP) is required and pays these claims. PIP covers medical bills and funeral expenses, lost wages if you can't work after an accident, and a small amount for services you might need, such as house cleaning.

  • In New York, you must buy $50,000 in PIP coverage.
  • The maximum amount you can receive for lost income is 80% of your wages or $2,000 a month, whichever is less, for 36 months.
  • To complicate matters, you can also buy Additional PIP (called APIP) or Optional Basic Economic Loss coverage (called OBEL). These are similar and allow you to add on PIP benefits beyond the $50,000 in basic PIP that's required. That means you'd get additional coverage for medical bills and lost wages.
  • You can buy APIP coverage up to $100,000 or higher.
  • If you buy OBEL, you'll get an extra $25,000 in coverage on top of your $50,000 in PIP.
  • See more about APIP and OBEL from the New York Department of Insurance.

   More: No-fault insurance



Other insurance options

Medical payments (MedPay): MedPay covers your medical bills and funeral expenses, no matter who caused the accident. It's very similar to PIP,  which is required in New York, so you probably don't need MedPay, too.

Comprehensive: Covers theft of your car or damage caused by hail, flood, fire, vandalism, falling objects, explosions and hitting an animal. If you have a car loan or lease you are likely required to buy comprehensive coverage.

Collision: Covers damage to your vehicle caused by hitting another car or an object, like a pole. If you have a car loan or lease you are likely required to buy collision coverage.

Rental reimbursement: Pays for a rental car if your vehicle is being repaired because of an accident covered by comprehensive or collision insurance. It generally has a daily maximum limit and also a total limit.

    More: Cheap car insurance in New York

You must show your insurance ID card (or other proof of financial responsibility) in New York when:

  • Law enforcement requests it
  • You renew vehicle registration

Penalties for not having car insurance in New York

  • Fine of $150 to $1,500, up to 15 days in jail, or both.
  • Must also pay a $750 civil penalty.

Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

Complaints against auto insurance companies

The department of insurance in New York handles and tracks complaints against insurance companies. A "complaint ratio" is meant to show the number of complaints nationally against a company relative to its amount of business. Here are complaint ratios for the largest auto insurance companies in New York.


New York car insurance complaints comparison

New York DWI laws

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New York is defined as having blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or other evidence of intoxication. If you're a commercial driver: .04 BAC or other evidence of intoxication.

First offense

The first DWI offense in New York is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face the following penalties:

  • A fine between $500 to $1,000.
  • Up to one year in jail.
  • License revoked for at least six months.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, but the court may reduce the length of time.

Second offense

A second DWI offense within 10 years of the prior conviction is a class E felony. If convicted, you could face:

  • A fine of $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Up to four years in jail.
  • License revoked for at least one year.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, but the court may reduce the length of time.

Third and subsequent offenses

A third and subsequent offenses within 10 years of prior conviction is a class D felony. If convicted, you could get:

  • A fine between $2,000 and $10,000.
  • Up to seven years in jail.
  • License revoked for at least one year.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, but the court may reduce the length of time.

Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI) is defined as:

BAC is .18 or higher. If convicted of Aggravated DWI, you can face more severe penalties than a DWI conviction.

First offense

The first offense is a misdemeanor in New York. If convicted, you could get:

  • A fine between $1,000 to $2,500.
  • Up to one year in jail.
  • License revoked for at least one year.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, buy the court may reduce the length of time.

Second offense

A second offense within 10 years of prior conviction is a class E felony. If convicted, you could get:

  • A fine between $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Up to four years in jail.
  • License revoked for at least 18 months.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, but the court may reduce the length of time.

Third offense

A third and subsequent offenses within 10 years of prior conviction is a class D felony. If convicted, you could face:

  • A fine between $2,000 to $10,000.
  • Up to seven years in jail.
  • License revoked for at least 18 months.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, but the court may reduce the length of time.

Driving While Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alchohol) in New York is defined as:

More than .05 BAC but less than .07 BAC or other evidence of impairment.

First offense

The first offense is a traffic infraction in New York. If convicted, you could get:

  • A fine between $300 to $500.
  • Up to 15 days in jail.
  • License suspended for at least 90 days.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, but the court may reduce the length of time.

Second offense

The second offense within five years of a prior conviction is a traffic infraction. If convicted, you could get:

  • A fine between $500 to $750.
  • Up to 30 days in jail.
  • License revoked for at least six months.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, but the court may reduce the length of time.

Third and subsequent offense

The third and subsequent offenses within 10 years is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face:

  • A fine between $750 to $1,000.
  • Up to 180 days in jail.
  • License revoked for at least six months.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, but the court may reduce the length of time.

Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug) in New York

First offense

The first offense is a traffic infraction. If convicted, you could face:

  • A fine between $500 to $1,000.
  • Up to one year in jail.
  • License suspended for at least six months.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, but the court may reduce the length of time.

Second offense

The second offense within 10 years of a prior conviction is a class E felony. If convicted, you could face:

  • A fine between $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Up to four years in jail.
  • License revoked for at least one year.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, although the court may reduce the length of time.

Third and subsequent offenses

The third offense and subsequent offenses within 10 years of a prior conviction is a class D felony. If convicted, you could face:

  • A fine between $2,000 to $10,000.
  • Up to seven years in jail.
  • License revoked for at least one year.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, although the court may reduce the length of time.

Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination) in New York

First offense

The first offense is a traffic violation. If convicted, you could face the following penalties:

  • A fine between $500 to $1,000.
  • Up to one year in jail.
  • License revoked for at least six months.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, although the court may reduce the length of time.

Second offense

The second offense within 10 years is a class E felony. If convicted, you could face:

  • A fine between $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Up to four years in jail.
  • License revoked for at least one year.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, although the court may reduce the length of time.

Third and subsequent offense

The third and subsequent offenses within 10 years is a class D felony. If convicted, you could get:

  • A fine between $2,000 to $10,000.
  • Up to seven years in jail.
  • License revoked for at least one year.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, although the court may reduce the length of time.

Chemical test refusal in New York

A chemical test is typically a test of breath, blood or urine. Refusal to submit to a chemical test in New York could result in the following penalties:

First offense

  • $500 civil penalty ($550 for commercial drivers).
  • License revoked for at least one year (18 months for commercial drivers).

Second offense

If you refuse a chemical test within five years of a previous DWI-related charge or chemical test refusal, you could face:

  • $750 civil penalty.
  • License revoked for at least 18 months; one year or until age 21 for drivers under age 21; permanent CDL revocation for commercial drivers.

Zero Tolerance Law in New York

A driver who is under age 21 and drives with a BAC of .02 to .07 violates the zero-tolerance law.

First offense

  • $125 civil penalty.
  • $100 fee to terminate suspension.
  • License suspended for six months.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, although the court may reduce the length of time.

Second offense

  • $125 civil penalty.
  • $100 fee to terminate suspension.
  • License suspended for one year or until age 21.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock during the period of license revocation or a minimum of 12 months, although the court may reduce the length of time.

Chemical test refusal and zero tolerance law

If you refuse to take the chemical test and you're under 21, you could face the following penalties:

First offense

  • $300 civil penalty.
  • $100 fee re-application fee.
  • License revoked for at least one year.

Second or subsequent offenses

  • $750 civil penalty.
  • $100 re-application fee.
  • License revoked for at least one year.

Additional DWI related penalties

  • If you have multiple drug or alcohol violations over a 25-year period, greater penalties than the above could apply.
  • Three or more drug and/or alcohol related convictions or refusals over a 10-year period could result in a permanent license revocation. A waiver request would not be permitted until after at least five years.

DWI penalty sources: New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and the National Conference of State Legislatures

Distracted driving laws in New York

Prohibits drivers from using hand-held cell phone while driving

Yes

All cellphone ban

No

All cellphone use banned for novice drivers

No

Text messaging ban while driving

All drivers

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association


Updated July 9, 2018

Find a New York auto insurance agent


Albany Car Insurance | Buffalo Car Insurance | Mount Vernon Car Insurance | New Rochelle Car Insurance | Car Insurance NYC | Rochester Car Insurance | Schenectady Car Insurance | Syracuse Car Insurance | Utica Car Insurance | Yonkers Car Insurance | Amsterdam Car Insurance | Auburn Car Insurance | Batavia Car Insurance | Beacon Car Insurance | Binghamton Car Insurance | Canandaigua Car Insurance | Cohoes Car Insurance | Corning Car Insurance | Cortland Car Insurance | Dunkirk Car Insurance | Elmira Car Insurance | Fulton Car Insurance | Geneva Car Insurance | Glen Cove Car Insurance | Glens Falls Car Insurance | Gloversville Car InsuranceHempstead Car Insurance | Ithaca Car Insurance | Jamestown Car Insurance | Kingston Car Insurance | Lockport Car Insurance | Long Beach Car Insurance | Middletown Car Insurance | Newburgh Car InsuranceNiagara Falls Car Insurance | North Tonawanda Car Insurance | Ogdensburg Car Insurance | Olean Car Insurance | Oneida Car Insurance | Oneonta Car Insurance | Oswego Car Insurance | Peekskill Car Insurance | Plattsburgh Car Insurance | Poughkeepsie Car Insurance | Rome Car Insurance | Rye Car Insurance | Saratoga Springs Car Insurance | Tonawanda Car InsuranceTroy Car Insurance | Watertown Car InsuranceWhite Plains Car Insurance

MORE: Additional New York Cities & Towns

Fast, Free Auto Insurance Quotes