New York Auto Insurance Law

Required Auto Insurance

This Web page describes the minimum coverages and amounts of insurance that must be purchased to satisfy the financial responsibility requirements of New York auto insurance law needed to register your car and obtain license plates. These coverages include:

  1. No-Fault (Personal Injury Protection) – to pay medical expenses and lost earnings for a driver or passenger injured in, or a pedestrian injured by, your car;
  2. Liability – to protect against the harm any car you drive, with the owner’s permission, might do to other people and their property; and
  3. Uninsured Motorists – to protect against the injuries you, your family or your passengers might suffer in a hit-and-run accident or in an accident with an uninsured vehicle.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) No-Fault

This coverage, also called Personal Injury Protection (PIP), is designed to pay promptly regardless of who might have been at fault or whether there was any negligence – for actual economic losses (meaning medical expenses, lost earnings, and other reasonable and necessary expenses related to injuries sustained), up to $50,000 per person (“basic No-Fault coverage”), to a driver or passenger injured in your car and to pedestrians injured by your car, because of its use or operation.

Under New York auto insurance law, the purpose of No-Fault insurance is to restore individuals hurt in auto accidents to health and productivity as swiftly as possible.

Because of the No-Fault provision of New York auto insurance law, lawsuits due to auto accidents can be brought only for economic losses that exceed No-Fault benefits and for non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) only if a “serious injury” (as defined by New York auto insurance law) is sustained.

Under this coverage, your insurer pays you and relatives living with you for economic losses arising from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents anywhere within the United States, its territories and possessions, or Canada.

Under New York auto insurance law, basic No-Fault auto insurance coverage includes:

  • necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses (in accordance with established fee schedules);
  • 80% of lost earnings from work, up to a maximum payment of $2,000 per month for up to three years;
  • up to $25 a day, for up to a year from the date of the accident, to reimburse other reasonable and necessary expenses resulting from the auto accident; and
  • a $2,000 death benefit (in addition to the $50,000 basic No-Fault limit), payable to the estate of a person eligible for No-Fault benefits but killed in a motor vehicle accident.

However, under most insurance policies and in accordance with New York auto insurance law, a person will be ineligible for No-Fault benefits, if:

  • driving while intoxicated or impaired by use of a drug that contributes to the accident;
  • intentionally causing his or her own injuries;
  • riding an all terrain vehicle (ATV) or a motorcycle (as operator or passenger);
  • injured while committing a felony;
  • injured while in a vehicle known to be stolen; or
  • an owner of an uninsured vehicle.

Liability Insurance—Bodily Injury and Property Damage

This liability coverage protects you (and anyone driving your car with your permission), if a claim is made against you by another person (“third-party”), alleging that you were negligent or otherwise at fault.

Thus this coverage will make payments on your behalf to that injured third-party, in the event your car is involved in an accident that results in serious injury or death to others or damage to their property.

In addition, under New York auto insurance law your insurance company must provide you with a legal defense against such claims, without reducing your policy’s liability limits.

In accordance with New York auto insurance law, the minimum limits of third-party bodily injury liability coverage mandated by New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury (not resulting in death), or $50,000 for any injury resulting in death, sustained by any one person in any one accident;
  • $50,000 for bodily injury (not resulting in death) sustained by two or more persons in any one accident, or $100,000 for any injuries resulting in death sustained by two or more persons in any one accident (subject to the above per person limits).

Since the minimum limit of coverage required by New York auto insurance law for property damage liability protection, for damage to another party’s car or property, is $10,000 per accident, these minimum liability limits in New York are sometimes together referred to as “$25,000/$50,000/$10,000” or “25/50/10”.

You have a right to sue another party involved in the auto accident for pain and suffering, only if you sustained a “serious injury” as defined in by New York auto insurance law.

You can also go to court against a third party for property damage and, when bodily injury has been sustained, for other economic loss not covered by, or exceeding the limits of, your No-Fault coverage.

Suing another party would be your own personal action, and does not involve your insurance company under the provisions of your policy.

Under New York auto insurance law, if you decide to sue someone else, your insurer under your own policy is not required to provide or pay for a lawyer you might want or need to handle your claim against another party.

While your automobile liability insurance policy provides coverage for every passenger in your vehicle injured in an accident cased by the driver’s negligence, it will most likely not provide any liability coverage when the injured passenger is your spouse.

However, your spouse would still be eligible for basic No-Fault coverage under New York auto insurance law. When shopping for insurance, please check with your insurance company, agent or broker about whether your policy affords bodily injury liability coverage to your spouse.

Uninsured Motorists Coverage

Another important feature of your auto insurance policy is bodily injury protection for you, your family members who live with you, and occupants of your car, in the event you or they are injured as the result of negligent actions by an uninsured vehicle or hit-and-run motorist. For assistance, contact Queens car accident attorneys.

Under New York auto insurance law, this mandatory coverage applies only in regard to bodily injury due to accidents occurring in New York State, and does not cover auto body damage to your car or damage to other property.

For New York accidents, the amount of uninsured motorists protection required to be provided under New York State auto insurance law is the same minimum bodily injury limits as required for liability insurance.

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