What to Know About New York Automobile Insurance Laws

Posted: March 1, 2018

New York State requires all motor vehicles registered in the state to be insured. To register a vehicle in Buffalo, or anywhere in New York, the owner must purchase a minimum automobile insurance policy from an insurance company licensed by the New York Insurance Department. That insurance policy must have certain coverages, including: (1) first-party no-fault personal injury protection (“PIP”); (2) supplementary uninsured motorist protection; (3) bodily injury; and (4) property damage. The first two coverages are “first party” coverages, meaning that they insure the driver and/or occupant of the insured vehicle or, potentially, the named insured and resident-relatives of the named insured not occupying the insured vehicle. The second two coverages are third-party coverages, meaning that they insure against claims made by third parties (other drivers and pedestrians on the road).

The Insurance Department has set forward minimum coverage amounts for each type of coverage:

  • Bodily injury–$25,000/$50,000
  • Property damage–$10,000
  • Personal injury protection–$50,000
  • Supplementary uninsured motorist protection-$25,000/$50,000

Insurance companies that issue policies in New York must report issuances, and lapses in coverage, to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Penalties for Driving without Insurance in Buffalo

Drivers must carry proof of insurance with them at all times and be able to show some type of valid insurance document to law enforcement upon request. Non-compliance can result in a fine, suspension of your driver’s license and a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the circumstances. When lack of insurance results in revocation of a vehicle’s registration, the driver is fined $8 per day for the first 30 days, $10 per day for the next 30 days, and $12 per day for the following 30 days.. This means a driver could face penalties close to $1000 if minimum coverage policy is not obtained within 90 days of receiving the citation.

Personal Injury Protection Vehicle Insurance

Because New York is a no-fault state, Buffalo drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection, or “PIP”, which covers medical expenses and lost wages incurred by pedestrians, passengers and drivers injured in an automobile accident.

Optional Vehicle Insurance

Additional Personal Injury Protection (“APIP”) and Optional Basic Economic Loss (“OBEL”) provide excess insurance coverage for economic losses—be it lost wages or medical expenses—beyond the state minimum afforded by PIP. Because PIP coverage is limited to $50,000 for lost wages and medical expenses, and compensation for lost wages is limited to $2,000 per month or 80% of lost wages—whichever is less—sufficient APIP and OBEL coverage is critical to ensure compensation for economic losses following your collision.

Insurance companies that issue policies in New York can use a driver’s credit history to determine policy rates. Depending on the credit score, an insurer can also decide whether payments will be made quarterly or monthly. Moreover, an insurer can require an applicant with a poor credit score to pay the entire premium upfront before a policy is issued.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, contact our Buffalo car accident lawyers 24/7 at (844) 444-4444 to receive a free consultation.

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