You need car insurance for New York vehicle registration.
New York is a mandatory insurance state, meaning that you must have insurance to register and drive a car legally. You must show proof of insurance when registering a vehicle, which means you need the insurance before registration.
It is the opposite. As it’s a mandatory insurance state, you need car insurance in order to register a car in New York. You must have valid insurance for the entire time you have the car registered and while anyone drives the vehicle on a public road in New York.
New York has minimum liability coverage limits of $25,000 in bodily injury per person, $50,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 in property damage.
Vehicle owners can, of course, opt for higher liability limits. Full coverage would include comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. Drivers need to elect for this and pay the associated premiums.1
New York recommends that anyone with assets to protect opt for higher coverage limits than the minimum. These limits commonly go up to $250,000 in bodily injury per person, $500,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $50,000 in property damage, otherwise known as liability insurance coverage. Higher limits than these are available with some insurers.
New York is a no-fault state, meaning that your insurance will cover your bodily injury losses regardless of who is at fault. The New York Department of Financial Services recommends buying more no-fault protection than the $50,000 minimum coverage limit.2
Optional coverage is essential to protect your car and personal assets. Talk to your insurance agent about your risk and what coverage limits will protect you.
CARCO inspections protect the insurance carrier and you regarding the physical attributes of a car. You must get the inspection within two weeks of buying a new car unless it has less than 1,000 miles on it. Licensed inspectors do CARCO inspections at car-related businesses such as tire retailers, gas stations, and dealerships.3
Register your car at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.
You don’t need a valid driver’s license to get insurance in New York, but you may have to shop around for an insurance carrier that will insure the vehicle if you don’t have a license. You will need some government-issued identification such as a state ID card when registering the car, and you won’t be able to drive it without a valid driver’s license.
It is possible to register a car with a license suspension in New York. The DMV only asks for valid government-issued identification when you register, which means even a state ID will allow you to register your car. However, you can’t drive your car (or any car) legally until you reinstate your license.
When you first register the car, you need to do it in person. However, there is an online process for the annual renewal registration. The online renewal form helps expedite the process and reduces lines at the local DMV.4
Here’s how to renew online:
Renewing your registration online can save you a lot of time from standing in line at the DMV.
You can register a car with a learner’s permit because you only need a valid government-issued ID to register a vehicle. However, you may have issues insuring the car with just the permit.
New York requires matching names on car insurance and registration — meaning the exact same sequence, including middle initials or suffixes. For example, if the name on your insurance is John E. Doe, you have to include your middle initial on your registration as well.
Your insurance and registration must be in the same state. You cannot insure a car registered out of state or vice versa. Where you garage the car determines both the registration and the insurance address of record.
New York allows you to use either a paper form or electronic version as proof of insurance. Insurance carriers send paper forms as insurance cards. Electronic evidence can be either a picture of the paper card or a downloaded version through your insurance carrier’s mobile app.5
Diminished value is the difference between your car’s value before and after an accident. Diminished value coverage allows you to recoup this difference. For example, if you bought a new car valued at $30,000 and got into an accident, leaving the car valued at $18,000, you could file for diminished value as part of the claim to recoup the $12,000 difference.
Your home state’s insurance policy will cover you up to the policy limits when you travel out of state. If your policy limits are below the state minimums where you are driving, the insurance carrier will meet those state minimums to make sure you are legally protected.
These are some types of auto insurance discounts that drivers may be eligible for in New York:
Teenagers can become licensed drivers at 16 years old. Drivers licensed in another state who are not yet 16 are not authorized to drive in New York. Teen drivers have a curfew, which means they must have a licensed adult in the car with them if they drive between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Only one passenger can be under age 21 unless they are immediate family.
Young motorists could get their license suspended for up to 60 days when texting and driving. Learn more about fines for texting and driving in New York.
If you don’t have insurance while driving in New York, you could get a fine of up to $150. You might also have your license and car registration suspended until you show proof of insurance.
Anyone registering a car in New York will need to show valid proof of insurance for that vehicle, which means that you get the insurance before you register the car. You could face penalties and fines if law enforcement catches you driving without insurance. Learn more in our car insurance FAQs.
New York State Insurance Requirements. New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. (2022).
Shopping for Auto Insurance. New York State Department of Financial Services. (2022).
Did You Know…NYS Requires a CARCO Inspection. Blue Line Insurance. (2020, Nov 1).
Register and Title a Vehicle in New York State. New York State Services. (2022).
N.Y. DMV’s New Rule Allows Proof of Auto Insurance in Electronic Format. Insurance Journal. (2015, May 14).