Car insurance in New York has a few extra wrinkles when compared to some states, but for the most part adheres to typical rules you'd find anywhere.

Here's everything you need to know about the requirements, rights, and responsibilities for choosing auto insurance in the Empire State.

Auto Insurance Requirements in New York

There are three types of mandatory insurance in New York: liability, personal injury protection (PIP), and uninsured motorist protection.

Liability Insurance

The primary type of mandatory insurance in New York is auto liability coverage. This type of coverage is used when you're involved in an incident that causes damage to other people, vehicles or property.

You're required to hold minimum coverage amounts in three areas:

  • $10,000 per accident for property damage (including vehicle damage)
  • $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death, for one person in one accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death, for two people in an accident

New York law requires you to maintain liability coverage for as long as the vehicle is registered in your name, even if you're not currently using that vehicle. The insurance policy must be taken out in the name (or names) used to register the vehicle, while up to two people can share a registration.

PIP Insurance

This type of insurance covers personal injury to you or your passengers. New York is a "no fault" state, which means this type of insurance is meant to pay out quickly, regardless of who's at fault in an accident. You must hold at least $50,000 of PIP insurance.

Uninsured Motorist

This type of insurance covers bodily injury or death when you're involved in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist. It adheres to the same minimums as standard liability coverage, so insurers typically include it with those plans.

Finally, only New York auto insurance qualifies for in-state requirements. If you're moving from another jurisdiction and want to register your vehicle in New York, you'll need to find minimum in-state coverage first or the registration will be denied.

Optional Auto Insurance in New York

Optional insurance choices in the state can increase the covered amounts for mandatory insurance categories, or add entirely new types of insurance coverage.

Coverage Boosts for Mandatory Insurance

You can pay more for a policy that provides coverage beyond the minimum requirements for liability, uninsured motorist, and PIP insurance. Drivers choose such options because the minimum coverage amounts may not be enough in the event of a very expensive accident.

For example, you're only required to maintain $10,000 of property damage liability, but most new cars are worth much more. Without additional coverage you could be on the hook for monetary damages from a civil lawsuit.

Collision Coverage

This no-fault coverage provides protection for any event where your vehicle collides with something and causes damage. It's a good choice if you want to be sure you'll have compensation for replacing or repairing your vehicle after an accident, no matter who was at fault.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive policies cover all non-collision damage to your car, like weather damage, theft, or hitting an animal in the road. This type of policy is the best way to guarantee you'll be compensated for any other kind of auto repair or replacement.

Many insurers offer "glass" and "no-glass" premium options for comprehensive policies, where "glass" policies have a higher premium but let you quickly make a claim to repair or replace windows without paying a deductible.

Supplementary Coverage

  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage can be used to supplement bodily and medical liability amounts.
  • Supplemental Spousal Liability coverage is used in situations where standard medical liability applying to the driver/owner wouldn't apply to a spouse passenger.
  • Medical Payments supplementary policies cover any medical bills not paid for by other liability types.

Factors for Choosing Car Insurance in NY

Car theft is not a major issue in New York. The state is near the middle of the pack for car theft rates nationally, and overall theft has dropped more than 80 percent in the last 20 years.

However, weather and animal-related incidents are higher than average, thanks to often extreme winters upstate and a high population of deer and other wild animals.

In New York City, the risk for fender benders and other minor accidents is also higher than normal, so you'll want to be sure you're carrying enough liability coverage. Additionally, stop-and-go city traffic is harder on vehicles, so most comprehensive plans in the city are more expensive than elsewhere in the state.

Auto Insurance Premiums in New York

New York is one of the most expensive states in the country when it comes to car insurance premiums, but the state average is significantly skewed by how expensive plans are in New York City. The five most expensive counties in the state are all in New York City, and all nearly twice as expensive as the average quote in upstate counties.

Accordingly, it's important to get as many discounts as you can, like AAA membership, AARP discounts, and military or service member discounts.

NY Driver Rights and Responsibilities

New York has taken steps in recent years to protect drivers from discriminatory pricing in auto insurance. Notably, education and occupation can no longer be considered when calculating your insurance quote.

Where responsibilities are concerned, you're required to maintain minimum insurance coverage in order to keep your vehicle registration and driver license in good standing. Lapses can lead to suspension of your license and other penalties.