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New York Car Insurance Requirements and Coverage

Several cabs and other cars stuck in traffic to illustrate the insurance requirements and coverage for New York.

Drivers in New York are required by law to have car insurance in order to legally drive. However New York car insurance has to meet certain minimums in order for the driver to be legally covered. So what are these car insurance requirements? Can drivers get cheap car insurance in NY through discounts? What happens if a driver is uninsured? Here’s what to expect regarding car insurance in New York.

New York Car Insurance Requirements

Minimal NY car insurance requires drivers to have a policy that includes liability car insurance, no-fault car insurance, and uninsured motorist insurance. You can easily find a New York insurance company that will provide a plan that combines all three types of coverage.

As you look through car insurance quotes, NY also has some required minimum coverage requirements for each aspect of your plan. Here’s a breakdown of all the required minimums in order for New York residents to drive:

Liability Insurance

  • $25,000 for injuries to a single person
  • $50,000 for injuries to multiple people
  • $50,000 for death to a single person
  • $100,000 for death to multiple people
  • $10,000 for property damage

No-Fault Insurance

When it comes to auto insurance, New York requires drivers to have coverage that will pay costs for injury and damages in an accident regardless of who was at fault. Basic no-fault policies for New York must have a minimum limit of $50,000 per person to cover:

  • Accident-related medical expenses
  • 80% of lost income due to accident-related loss or injury, with a $2,000/month limit for up to 3 years
  • A necessary household expense benefit of up to $25/day for up to one year
  • A $2,000 death benefit on top of the $50,000 limit

Uninsured Motorists Insurance

  • $25,000 for injuries to a single person
  • $50,000 for injuries to multiple people


For cheaper car insurance, NY law requires insurance companies to offer discounts to drivers that have automatic seat belts or airbags, daytime running lamps, and anti-lock brakes in their vehicles. You can also get a 10% discount on your insurance’s base rate for 3 years if you pass a DMV accident prevention course. Depending on your insurance provider, you may qualify for other discounts aside from the ones offered by New York state.

New York Automobile Insurance Plan

To ensure that all drivers have car insurance, New York has a way for high risk drivers to get coverage. All insurance companies operating in New York must participate in the New York Automobile Insurance Plan (NYAIP). The NYAIP allows drivers that have a poor driving history, a DUI,  lack driving experience, or have a history of frequent insurance claims to get involuntary coverage from an assigned insurance carrier if the driver is deemed too high of a risk for coverage in the voluntary insurance market. In order to obtain a NYAIP, a driver must show proof that they were unable to acquire a policy in the voluntary market within the past 60 days. Once assigned to an insurance carrier, insurance coverage must be provided for no less than 3 years.

It should be noted that this program is a last resort option for drivers looking to be insured. Because of this, most NYAIP policies are more expensive than most insurance plans in the market. It is more worthwhile to try to get a policy outside of the NYAIP program if possible.

Other Methods of Financial Responsibility

If a driver decides for whatever reason to not get an auto insurance policy that complies with the state minimums, they can still drive legally if they meet the state’s required financial responsibility. The alternatives to having car insurance include:

  • A $150,000 security deposit with the New York DMV
  • A NY licensed surety bond that covers the amounts required for the state minimum policy
  • A “self-insurance” policy for those who have more than 25 cars registered under their name and proof of financial ability to pay out accident claims for every vehicle

While these options are available, it is typically less bothersome and less expensive to just purchase a car insurance plan that meets New York’s minimum standards.

Penalties for Driving Uninsured

New York doesn’t mess around when it comes to auto insurance coverage. If you do not have car insurance, you must surrender your license plates to the DMV or risk indefinite suspension of your car registration and your driver’s license.

If you have a lapse in coverage, you must surrender your license plates or you’ll risk suspension of your car registration. Your driver’s license will also be suspended if your lapse in insurance coverage is longer than 91 days and you didn’t surrender your plates. You’ll have to pay a fee of $100 to get your license reinstated.

If you don’t surrender your plates during a lapse in coverage, you may elect to pay a fine instead. The fines are as follows:

  • $8/day for the first 30 days
  • $10/day for 31 to 60 days
  • $12/day for 61 to 90 days
  • 91 days and over is full suspension of license and registration

Even if all fines are paid, you may be subject to other penalties. Depending on your record, you may be required by a judge to obtain an SR-22 certificate on top of a standard policy. This is to help prove that you have valid insurance coverage.

If you are a New Yorker who needs good coverage at a low price, check out Freeway Insurance. Freeway offers a wide range of insurance rates and plans from the top providers in the nation, allowing you to pick the best policy at the best price. Give us a call at (800) 777-5620 or get a free New York car insurance quote online today.

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