What are state minimums for car insurance in New York?

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Things to remember...
  • New York drivers without minimum coverage face up to 15 days in jail
  • New York drivers without insurance pay fines as high as $1,500
  • New York drivers without insurance face an immediate three-year license revocation


New York is often thought of as a place where most people don’t need a car. Outside the city, however, most people need a vehicle to get around.

The state requires anyone who registers their vehicle to carry liability insurance to meet the minimum requirements in place for New York residents. This policy requirement is designed to protect drivers from the financial pitfalls associated with car accidents.

The fees and costs associated with driving without insurance are astronomical, and most people cannot afford to pay medical bills, car repair bills, and settle personal injury lawsuits out-of-pocket.

The law requires all drivers bring proof of their insurance policy to the DMV when registering your car.

It’s one way the State of New York can monitor car insurance policies, but that doesn’t mean drivers don’t take it upon themselves to cancel their policies after registering their vehicle or even allowing their policy to lapse.

If the cost of purchasing an insurance policy is too much, you should know it’s more expensive to drive without coverage. You can always find affordable policies by comparing prices and utilizing a few insurance tricks to help lower your premiums.

What is the state minimum coverage requirement in New York?

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The law in New York is you must have liability insurance coverage. Without it, you are subject to fines, penalties, and even jail time.

The minimum amount of liability coverage includes $10,000 worth of property damage coverage, $25,000 worth of bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 per accident, and $50,000 worth of bodily injury coverage for more than two people and $100,000 for death.

You cannot register your vehicle without proof you have at least this kind of coverage, and the law mandates you maintain an active car insurance policy. If you let it lapse, there are many ways you will be found out.

If you are pulled over for any reason and cannot prove you have insurance, you will face penalties.

If you are involved in an accident and cannot prove you have insurance, you will face penalties. If you finance or lease your car and don’t carry coverage, your lender will find out.

– Does the minimum coverage in New York apply to my financed or leased vehicle?

No. You must carry full coverage on any vehicle you finance or lease. Leased vehicles must always maintain a policy with full coverage until they are returned for a new lease.

Financed cars must be fully covered until you make the final payment of your lien. Once you own the car outright, you are no longer required to maintain insurance as per the instructions of your lender.

Your lender does check your insurance status every month. If you cancel your policy or allow it to lapse at any point while the car is still owned by the lender, they will send you a letter in the mail demanding you purchase insurance right away.

Failure to do this by the date specified in the letter allows the lender to purchase a policy in your name for the car.

You are now required to pay for this policy, and you should know the lender is not shopping around and comparing rates to find the best price for you.

– If I own my car outright, I don’t need insurance, right?

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This is a common misconception. You own the car, it’s not worth much, and it’s your problem if you’re involved in an accident. It’s easy to make this mistake, but you should carry at least the minimum insurance as per New York law.

Without it, you are subject to fines and penalties. Even if you own your car, you must still abide by the law. You must carry at least the minimum car insurance policy.

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Are there penalties for not having insurance in New York?

There are fines and penalties if you are caught driving without a valid insurance policy.

You must be able to provide the officer who pulls you over or responds to the scene of an accident in which you are involved with a copy of your insurance card or some other form of proof that you do carry car insurance.

New York Law has many different penalties, and each one is defined based on the situation in which you are in when you are caught.

– Penalties for Driving Without Insurance During A Traffic Stop

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If you are driving and get pulled over, you must have insurance. If you don’t, you must pay a fine between $150 and $1,500. Your license could be revoked for as many as three years, and you must pay a $750 fee if this occurs.

You face up to 15 days in jail, and your car might be impounded. It depends on how many times you’ve been stopped without insurance in the past. First-time offenders receive lighter penalties in most cases.

–Penalties for Driving Without Insurance During an Accident

If you’re caught driving without insurance because you’re in an accident, the penalties are serious.

In addition to paying for the cost of repairs, medical bills, and any lawsuits that are filed against you for causing an accident, you face the same fines and penalties as someone who is caught driving without insurance during a routine traffic stop.

The cost of causing an accident without insurance could extend well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

– Penalties for Driving Without Insurance Due to A Lapse

If your insurance lapses, you face a $900 civil penalty. Your vehicle is not subject to impoundment, and you will not face any jail time.

However, New York lawmakers might suspend your license and registration if you fail to pay the civil penalty fee.

Tips for Finding Affordable Insurance in New York

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Many New Yorkers are happy to know that their insurance rates are directly related to their credit score. If you have a good score, you get a good rate.

It’s why you must check your credit report to ensure it’s free of mistakes prior to applying for a new insurance policy or comparing rates with various companies. There are also many discounts available for New York residents.

If you live close to work, it means you spend very little time on the road. The less time you spend on the road the less time you have to become involved in an accident.

Since New Yorkers in the city might live very close to work or even use public transportation in lieu of your private vehicle, you might qualify for savings for being an infrequent driver.

Comparing rates with companies that offer these discounts is profitable for you if you live in New York. Enter your zip code below to compare today.

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