Car Insurance Coverage in New York, Explained

Cars stuck in traffic on freeway

If you’re in the midst of selecting car insurance coverage, you may be looking for guidance. Choosing car insurance in New York can be confusing, especially if you’re new to its no-fault insurance system. There are several forms of coverage you’ll need to get to comply with New York state law—namely, liability insurance, no-fault insurance, and uninsured motorist coverage.

Below, we’ve included an explanation of what these forms of coverage provide, and whether you may want to consider getting more than the legally-required minimum to ensure that your expenses are covered after a car accident, and so that you aren’t vulnerable to a lawsuit after a crash.

Liability Insurance: You’re legally required to purchase a policy that will pay $25,000 for injuries to a single person or $50,000 for multiple injured people, as well as $50,000 for an individual’s death and $100,000 for multiple deaths, and $10,000 to cover damage to the property of others. If you are at fault in an accident and the other person’s injuries are severe, this coverage may not be sufficient, and you could be sued for the difference.

No-Fault Insurance: This covers injuries both to you and to other drivers in the event of an accident. The minimum required amount is $50,000 in coverage for each individual injured in the accident, including yourself, which will provide money for medical expenses, lost wages, and an additional $2,000 death benefit beyond that provided under liability insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage: This coverage that you purchase would provide compensation when the driver who hits you is uninsured. New York requires its drivers to carry at least $25,000 for injuries to a single person, and $50,000 for injuries to more than one person in uninsured motorist coverage. This insurance would not cover property damage caused by an uninsured motorist. You may wish to purchase supplementary uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which would cover up to $250,000 in damages per person and $500,000 per accident. Keep in mind that researchers estimate that about 13% of drivers are uninsured, despite the fact that most states require residents to have car insurance.

Collision: This will cover the cost of repairs to your car after an accident. The cost of this coverage is measured by your deductible; if you choose to pay a large deductible when you need to pay for repairs, you’ll pay less per month. Such coverage is not required under New York law, but if your car is young or particularly valuable, it may be worth having.

Comprehensive: This is another form of non-required insurance which will cover replacement or repair costs when the car isn’t damaged in a wreck, but rather is damaged in a storm, stolen or vandalized. “Full” coverage will include both collision and comprehensive coverage. If you drive an older car, you may not need to consider full coverage. If, however, you’ve purchased your car new, are leasing your car, or purchased your car with a loan, you may want or need to have full coverage.

While car accidents don’t happen every day, it’s important to be prepared when they do occur. If you are hurt in a car accident and are unsure about how to pursue a claim to get all the compensation that is due to you, our team of experienced Hudson Valley attorneys is available to offer a consultation on your possible claims. Call the law firm of Basch & Keegan today, at (845) 338-8884 (Kingston), or (518) 288-5600 (Albany).