Car Insurance Requirements in New York

Car Insurance in New York


Every day, car accidents result in bodily injuries all across the State of New York.  Here’s the figures: each year 10,500 Bronx County residents are treated at a hospital emergency room due to traffic related injuries.  In Westchester, it’s 6,420 residents per year and 750 residents per year in Putnam County.

How are these emergency room visits paid?  By your car insurance.  Specifically, your Personal Injury Protection (aka “PIP”) insurance coverage.  In New York, all car owners and drivers must be covered by a valid car insurance policy.  Is car insurance required for every single car on the road? Yes. New York is a mandatory vehicle insurance state. 

It’s the law: every vehicle must be covered by a valid auto insurance policy in order to obtain license plates.  New York issued car insurance must include the statewide minimum amount of insurance coverage.  

What is the Minimum Amount of Mandatory Car Insurance in New York?

First, New York law requires a minimum of $50,000 in basic no-fault insurance coverage.  Basic no fault insurance pays for health care if an occupant of a car is injured in a crash and requires hospitalization or medical treatment.  Second, New York requires every vehicle to be covered by a minimum of $25,000 in liability insurance coverage.  This insurance covers each person’s bodily injuries.  This coverage is available to any passenger in the vehicle injured in a car accident.  New York also requires minimum insurance coverage of $50,000 combined for all injured persons.  Finally, every vehicle is covered by a minimum of $10,000 in insurance coverage to pay for property damage.

What Happens When You Are Injured By an Out of State Automobile?

Automobiles in nearby states, such as Pennsylvania and Connecticut, often carry less insurance.  What if I am in a car accident in the Bronx, Westchester or Putnam County with an out-of-state driver operating a vehicle with out-of-state insurance?  Will that out-of-state vehicle have less insurance available to me for my personal injuries? No. 

Not surprisingly, New York law applies any time an out-of-state vehicle drives within the geographic boundaries of the State of New York.  Therefore, the insurance coverage on that out-of-state vehicle automatically increases to the minimum level required in New York.  Let’s look at the example of a collision in the Bronx, Putnam or Westchester County with a minimally-insured Pennsylvania pickup truck.  In that case, the out-of-state vehicle’s $15,000 insurance policy is automatically increased to $25,000.  The results are similar if you are involved in a car accident in Putnam, Westchester or the Bronx with a minimally-insured Connecticut motorcycle or car in the Bronx, Putnam or Westchester County.  That Connecticut vehicle’s $20,000 insurance policy is automatically increased to New York’s minimum of $25,000.

What Happens When a Driver Moves into the State of New York?

When a driver moves from another state to New York, he/she must obtain valid insurance with at least the minimum amount of coverage set forth above. Otherwise, New York will not register the vehicle or issue license plates for the vehicle.

Often, the driver can simply contact his/her existing insurance company and ask to switch to a New York policy (as long as the insurance company has a license to conduct business in New York).  Without a New York insurance policy, the vehicle must remain off of New York’s roads.

What Happens if a Driver Moves Out of New York?

If a driver moves to a different state, the New York registration and car insurance requirements no longer apply.  Ideally, the driver should return his/her New York license plates and then cancel his/her car insurance policy.

If the driver does not return their plates, they should contact the MVA to provide several pieces of information, including:

* New York tag and title numbers;

* Insurance policy effective and termination dates; and

* Title and registration information from new jurisdiction.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you were involved in a New York car accident recently, speak with a premier New York personal injury attorney.  The attorneys at Martin + Colin, P.C. in White Plains, New York have proven experience in personal injury law, including car accidents.  If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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