Driving without car insurance could leave you financially vulnerable in an accident. It could also mean hefty penalties and fines. In New York, driving a vehicle without current insurance could even result in losing your driver's license and having your registration suspended for up to a year.
Check out New York’s minimum auto insurance requirements to learn more before hitting the road.
New York minimum car insurance requirements
Most states have minimum car insurance requirements to keep your car legally on the road.
In New York, those requirements include maintaining property damage and bodily injury liability insurance policies, and additional liability insurance if someone dies in an accident you caused.
New York also requires that drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage to protect themselves if the driver or their family is involved in a hit-and-run or an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance.
In addition, drivers must maintain no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, or other reasonable expenses if drivers or their passengers are injured in a car crash.
To legally drive in New York, drivers must carry car insurance policies with at least the following minimum coverage:
|Minimum liability coverage||Uninsured motorist||Personal injury protection (PIP)|
Property damage liability
This coverage helps take care of the damage you may have caused to another person’s vehicle or property when you are at fault in an accident. New York requires that drivers maintain at least $10,000 in property damage liability insurance, but that may not be enough. If damages exceed your policy limit, you may have to pay out of pocket for anything not covered.
Bodily injury liability
Bodily injury liability insurance assists in covering the medical bills of someone you hurt in an accident. This liability coverage applies to accidents you cause as the vehicle driver or injuries caused by anyone you allow to drive your car. It doesn’t cover medical bills for you or your passengers.
According to New York’s insurance laws, you must maintain the following:
- $25,000 for another person’s bodily injury not resulting in death and $50,000 for injuries resulting in the death of one person in any single accident.
- $50,000 for bodily injury not resulting in death sustained by two or more people in any one accident, or $100,000 for injuries resulting in the deaths of two or more people in one accident.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident or an accident with an uninsured motorist, this policy helps cover expenses related to medical bills. It does not cover the costs of repairing your car or other property. Underinsured motorist coverage, or UIM, is optional in New York. UIM policies provide extra coverage when a driver hits you and doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damage they cause.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
PIP coverage is also called no-fault coverage because it helps pay for your medical bills regardless of who was at fault in an accident.
Unlike bodily liability coverage, PIP covers medical bills for you, any passengers in your car, and pedestrians you hit up to the policy limit. PIP may also cover a certain amount of lost wages and other necessary and reasonable expenses related to being injured. It does not cover your auto repairs or other property damage.
Because of New York’s no-fault state laws, injured parties can sue the driver at fault for any losses that exceed the victim’s PIP policy limits. New York law also allows judgments for pain and suffering in the case of severe injury.
Penalties for driving without insurance
If the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) discovers you were involved in an accident without proper insurance, your vehicle registration or driver’s license may be suspended for at least a year. Even if someone else was driving the vehicle, your license and registration may be suspended for not maintaining adequate coverage.
In addition to potentially losing your license, you’ll be fined up to $1,500 for driving without insurance or allowing someone else to drive your uninsured vehicle. You’ll also have to pay a civil penalty of $750 to get your license back and any applicable reinstatement fees.
If your registration or license is revoked, you must turn in your license plates to the DMV during the suspension period. If your insurance has lapsed for less than 90 days, you may be able to avoid turning in your license plates and instead pay a civil penalty for each day your insurance has lapsed.
Other types of coverage to consider
Carrying more than your state’s minimum auto insurance coverage is highly encouraged if you can afford it. While the minimum amount might be enough if you’re in a minor accident, any significant repairs or injuries could leave you open to a lawsuit or paying out of pocket.
Some additional coverages to consider adding to your New York car insurance include:
- Collision: Collision coverage helps pay for expenses related to damaging or totaling your vehicle in a car accident or other type of collision. It covers incidents like hitting another car, a stationary object, or someone or something hitting your parked car.
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive insurance helps protect you from financial damage if your car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged in events other than an accident, like storms or natural disasters, hail, fallen trees, lightning, or even hitting an animal or falling objects.
TipMany vehicle lenders or leasing companies require you to keep both collision and comprehensive coverage for the length of your loan or lease.
- Medical payments: If you or your passengers are hurt in an accident, medical payment coverage could help cover any gaps between your health insurance and PIP coverage. Unlike PIP insurance, which may also cover lost wages or funeral expenses, medical payments coverage generally only applies to medical bills.
- Personal umbrella policy: If your standard property or bodily liability limits aren’t enough to pay for damages you cause in an accident, an umbrella policy could help with any additional bills. It could also help protect your assets if you’re sued by bridging the gap between any judgments against you and the amount your standard liability covers.
- Rental reimbursement: If you’re in an accident and without a vehicle, rental reimbursement could help cover the cost of transportation while your car is undergoing repairs.
- Roadside assistance: If you have car trouble that requires roadside assistance, this coverage could help you cover the costs of towing, jump starts, tire changes, fuel delivery, and lockouts.
- Gap insurance: Gap insurance works with your collision or comprehensive coverage. In a covered claim, if your brand-new vehicle is severely damaged or totaled, you may owe more on the loan than the depreciated vehicle value. Gap insurance helps pay the difference between a totaled car’s depreciated value and the amount you have left on your loan.
Tips for finding affordable auto insurance in New York
Maintaining an auto insurance policy in New York can be expensive, but the penalty for driving without insurance could be catastrophic.
To help you get the best price on your car insurance, consider doing the following:
- Shop around: When shopping for car insurance coverage, get at least three insurance quotes from different companies to ensure you get the best price and coverage. Ensure you understand the types of coverage offered so you can ask informed questions. Before signing up with a company, read customer service reviews and ask friends and family for recommendations.
- Bundle policies: Many insurance carriers will give you a discount if you purchase two or more insurance types. If you have a homeowners or renters policy, you can often bundle an auto policy for an additional discount or, if you have multiple cars, bundling all of your auto policies together could help you save money.
- Maintain a good credit history: Many insurance providers use credit history to calculate your insurance premiums. Maintaining a solid record of on-time bill payments and well-managed credit balances could help you save money on auto insurance.
- Be a safe driver: A clean driving record could be one of the best ways to save money on car insurance. Moving violations like speeding, failing to signal, and minor fender benders appear on your driving record. Your insurance company may factor those incidents into your price.
- Consider raising your deductible: Opting for a higher deductible could mean saving money on your monthly car insurance premium. If you raise your deductible, you could set aside that amount in a high-yield savings account or your emergency fund so you’re prepared and don’t have to put repairs on a credit card.
What are the auto insurance requirements for a motorcycle?
In New York, motorcycles are required to be insured whenever they are driven on a public road or highway. New York does allow motorcycle insurance to be terminated without the driver having to surrender the plate, which could make it easier to get the motorcycle back on the road if it's been stored over the winter.
Is NY car insurance expensive?
The amount you pay for car insurance in New York varies based on multiple factors. Your driving record, how much you drive, age, gender, and even where you live can all affect what you pay for car insurance. Additionally, the type of coverage you have, the policy limits, and deductibles can also add to how much your insurance costs.
How soon do you need insurance after buying a car in NY?
You must have insurance to drive in New York legally, even if you just purchased the vehicle. Additionally, you must show proof of New York State auto insurance to register a car. The New York DMV will not accept out-of-state insurance coverage for a vehicle registered in New York.
Driving without insurance in New York could lead to a lot of problems. While the required minimum policy coverage will offer some protection if you’re in an accident, it's a good idea to consider additional coverage limits and policies if you can afford them.
To help you find the right car insurance, check out our list of the best car insurance companies to ensure you have the right coverage and aren’t paying for extras you don’t need.
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