New York Car Insurance Requirements

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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 insurance 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

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