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NY Insurance Center

There are New York insurance requirements for your vehicle, just as there are in all the other US states. Understanding the form of auto insurance you must hold in the state of New York can be the best way to prevent any costly violations and tickets on the road, or even penalties that could cost your driver's license. If you have a vehicle in New York, you will even need proof of insurance before the vehicle can be registered, or even used in a New York road test, with standard liability offered to ensure that you have the minimum required policy for a price that you can afford. This is the best method of proving that you are financially responsible for any liabilities you incur on the roadways of the state, including damages and injuries to others in a collision.

Establishing Financial Responsibility in New York

If you are involved in an accident and cannot prove financial responsibility, you will incur penalties. The best method of establishing financial responsibility in New York is to obtain the appropriate liability coverage on your vehicle. While there are other options in different states, this is the only option for you as a driver in NY, with no bonds or other forms of financial responsibility accepted by the NY DMV.

New York Private Passenger Vehicle Liability Insurance Requirements

In order to drive in the state of New York, or even get your vehicle registered within the state, you must obtain a liability insurance policy offered by a company that has been licensed for business within the state. You cannot utilize out-of-state policies for insurance in New York, as they are not accepted as appropriate proof of financial responsibility. The company you choose should have a license also from the New York Insurance Department, ensuring that the policy you obtain is adequate for coverage in New York.

There are state minimums accepted for your liability policy, which means that your policy must include no less than the following:

  • Injury coverage $25,000/$50,000
  • Death coverage $50,000/$100,000
  • One accident property damage $10,000
In the state of New York, there is a no-fault regulation. You must always retain valid insurance on your New York registered vehicle, no matter whether or not the vehicle is in use at the time. Just being parked in your driveway requires that there is an appropriate policy covering the vehicle.

  • There are different types of insurance, however, that you may accept, with full coverage often required for new vehicles that are purchased on the lot. This requirement, however, comes from the dealerships and not the NY DMV. While the state minimum coverage is the guideline, you may want more coverage to protect your vehicle as well as those that you damage in an accident. Finding the right type of insurance policy should be proceeded by competitive rate comparisons, giving you the best rate possible.
  • It is important to remember that getting auto insurance in New York can only be done for the vehicle registered in your name. In other words, if the vehicle isn't registered to you, it cannot be insured by you. Your name and address for your insurance policy should also reflect that of your vehicle's DMV issued registration – both which must remain valid and current in New York.
  • Your New York auto insurance company should provide an electronic status report of your insurance status to the DMV when your policy is purchased. Make sure that it happens as it can be costly for you if it doesn't.
Proving Insurance Coverage in New York

Although the insurance company will provide an electronic notice stating your insurance coverage status to the DMV, you will still need to provide your valid insurance card when you register your New York vehicle. This is a requirement of New York and applies to all drivers and vehicles.

  • When you purchase your New York auto insurance policy, you must obtain two original policy identification cards in order to properly provide proof of insurance. These cards must contain a bar-code for scanning and the name that is also present on the registration application of the vehicle.
  • One of your policy ID cards must be submitted to the NY DMV within 45 days of obtaining your policy, which is kept for your registration application process. The other card must be kept within your vehicle in order to ensure you can prove coverage if ever stopped by police or involved in a traffic accident.
Failure to Maintain Auto Insurance Penalties

Once your vehicle is registered with your insurance policy reported, do not let it lapse! There are penalties for those who allow their insurance coverage to lapse without an alternative form of insurance coverage accepted in New York.

  • License suspension
  • Registration suspension
  • License and registration revocation for one year if involved in traffic accident without coverage. This includes if your vehicle is hit by another vehicle at no fault of yours.
  • Fine up to $1,500 for driving or allowing someone to drive your vehicle without proper coverage on the vehicle. An additional $750 fee for civil penalty is assessed when you attempt to have your license reinstated for lapse of coverage.
No Plates with No Coverage

Without insurance on your vehicle, you aren't authorized to have New York license plates, which means that when your coverage lapses, your plates must be turned in to the NY DMV. Holding your plates without coverage on your vehicle – even if you have coverage but it is not the minimum liability coverage required in New York – will cause your registration to be suspended for the same amount of time your coverage is lapsed. If your lapse lasts longer than 90 days, your license will also be suspended for the same amount of time as your registration.

There will be a $25 termination fee assessed when reinstatement is possible after suspension of your license or registration.

If your insurance coverage lapses, simply bring your plates in to the DMV, or send them by mail to:

NYSDMV, Port Jefferson Office

3 Roads Plaza

1055 Route 112

Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776-3054

If you never submit you plates for lapse of insurance coverage, your license and registration can be suspended indefinitely, which means you will no longer be able to obtain a driver's license or register your vehicle in New York again.

If you don't want to surrender your license plates for lapse of New York auto coverage, you can pay a civil penalty to the DMV instead, but only if your lapse is for a term of no more than 90 days. However, this option is only available once every 36 months, so make sure you are maintaining your insurance policy well. To pay the civil penalty, the following fees are assessed based on the number of days your coverage is lapsed.

  • $8/day from 1-30 days
  • $10/day from 31-60 days
  • $12/day from 61-90 days
If you want more information, contact the New York DMV at 1-518-474-0700.