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Published: April 8, 2022Last updated: October 20, 2022

Car Insurance in New York State

Here’s what you need to know before you take a drive in the Empire State.

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Think of New York and you might picture the bright lights of Times Square, the complicated subway system or even the rolling mountains of the Catskills upstate. If you’re going to drive in New York, you’ll need car insurance, specifically liability and uninsured motorist coverage, plus personal injury protection. Car insurance in New York is the third most expensive in the county, with high minimums and costs that run over 25 percent higher than the national average. Let’s dive deeper into car insurance in this no-fault state.

What the State Requires

Here is the minimum car insurance you’ll need as a New York driver:

  • Bodily injury coverage per person: $25,000
  • Bodily injury coverage per accident: $50,000
  • Property damage coverage: $10,000
  • Uninsured motorist coverage per person: $25,000
  • Uninsured motorist coverage per accident: $50,000
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): $50,000
  • Death: $50,000 for the death of one person in an accident, or $100,000 for the death of two or more people in an accident1

Is Minimum Coverage Enough?

While New York’s car insurance requirements are extensive compared to other states, they’re not enough to protect you in the event of an at-fault car accident or another incident that causes damage. Ideally, you should have liability limits of up to $500,000, plus collision and comprehensive coverage to cover damages to your own car, not just the other party’s.

If you cause an accident, collision coverage pays for your car’s repairs up to its actual market value (AMV). Or, if forces other than collisions damage your car (such as theft, vandalism or hail), comprehensive coverage also pays up to the AMV. If you only carry the minimum coverage the state requires, you would cover any property damages out of pocket.

How Much Is Car Insurance in New York?

Car insurance costs in New York are the third-highest in the country, at an average of $1,445.30 a year. That’s 26 percent higher than the national average.2 However, many factors affect the cost of insurance, such as your credit score and your driving history, so you could pay anywhere from $304 to $5,369.60 annually for car insurance in New York.

Car Insurance Companies

While you’re living in New York, consider these auto insurance companies:

  • Allstate
  • American Family
  • Erie
  • GEICO
  • Nationwide
  • NYCM
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • USAA

How to Lower Your Premiums

Whether you live in the Hamptons or the heart of Manhattan, surely you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance in New York. While you can’t help your state’s higher-than-average costs, there are ways to lower your premiums and get the best price on auto insurance.

1. Bundle Your Policies.

No matter what type of home you live in, if you have homeowners, renters, condo, or any other type of insurance policy, bundle it with the same provider as your car insurance if you want to save money. Many companies offer discounts for insurance bundles.

2. Get Discounts.

Every provider offers different auto insurance discounts, so ask your insurance agent for ways to save. You probably have access to cost-saving options, whether they’re in the form of a defensive driving course or automatic billing.

3. Drop Coverages.

If all else fails, you can drop auto insurance coverages the state doesn’t require, like rental car coverage or collision insurance, to save money. Keep in mind that dropping coverage options could cost you more later if you get into an accident.

Light BulbTIP

Have an older car? Drop collision and comprehensive coverage, as your car will most likely be declared a total loss in the event of an accident.

4. Lower Your Limits.

Similarly, lowering your limits will also lower the cost of your auto insurance, but again, you’ll pay more if you incur injuries or damages in an accident.

5. Raise Your Deductibles.

You can increase your deductible to cut costs, but make sure you could still afford it if you were in an accident. If you can’t pay your deductible, you won’t be compensated for collision or comprehensive claims.

6. Explore Other Providers.

You may be able to cut the cost of your car insurance by requesting an insurance quote from a competitor (or three). When you look into auto coverage with other companies, consider these questions: Does the bodily injury liability cost more? Can you get liability insurance plus all the insurance the law requires for lower prices? If so, it may be worthwhile to switch car insurance.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Since car insurance is a requirement in New York, you can get into legal trouble if you’re caught driving without insurance, specifically paper or electronic proof of insurance.

  • Fine: The fine ranges from $150 to $1,500.
  • Civil penalty: Upon your conviction, you’ll pay a civil penalty of $750.
  • Imprisonment: This would be either in addition to the fine or instead of the fine, for a maximum of 15 days.
  • License suspension: If you’re without insurance for 90 days, your license will be suspended for the same duration as your registration suspension.
  • Registration suspension: This will be equal to your time without insurance. You’ll pay $8 a day for up to 30 days without insurance, $10 a day for days 31 to 60 without insurance, and $12 a day for days 61 to 90 without insurance.3

New York State Driving Laws

Have we convinced you to comply with New York’s car insurance requirements yet? If so, you’re almost ready to drive, but take stock of a few state driving laws first.

No-Fault Insurance System

New York’s no-fault insurance system is one of the reasons insurance is so expensive in the state, much like Florida’s no-fault insurance. In no-fault states, each person in an accident is responsible for their own medical expenses under PIP, regardless of who caused the accident. However, the at-fault party is still responsible for the other party’s property damages.

With the Empire State’s comparative negligence laws, victims can recover some money for their injuries, regardless of their level of negligence or fault. Even if they were responsible for more than 50 percent of the damage, they could still receive compensation, much like in California and Florida.

Uninsured Motorists in New York

As we noted previously, uninsured motorist coverage is a requirement in New York, but did you know it also includes car insurance coverage for hit-and-runs? That means that if someone hits your car and leaves the scene, uninsured motorist coverage can compensate you for any injuries or property damage.

Light BulbDID YOU KNOW?

In New York, only 4 percent of drivers are uninsured, the third-lowest rate in the U.S. That’s 205 percent below the national average, according to the most recent estimates from the Insurance Research Council.4

Another interesting fact about uninsured motorist coverage in New York is that you can stack coverage if you have multiple cars. Multiply your limits with the number of cars you have and you’ll reach your new limit.

DUI Penalties

If you’re caught driving under the influence, you could face fines up to tens of thousands of dollars, a prison sentence, and license revocations or suspensions. See New York’s DUI penalties below.

Violation Offense number Mandatory fine Maximum imprisonment term Mandatory driver’s license action
Aggravated driving while intoxicated (AGG DWI) All $1,000-$2,500 1 year Revoked for at least 1 year
AGG DWI – D felony Third within 10 years $2,000-$10,000 7 years Revoked for at least 18 months
AGG DWI – E felony Second within 10 years $1,000-$5,000 4 years Revoked for at least 18 months
Chemical test refusal First $500 civil penalty, or $550 for commercial drivers None Revoked for at least 1 year, or 18 months for commercial drivers
Chemical test refusal Within 5 years of a previous DWI-related charge or chemical test refusal $750 civil penalty None Revoked for at least 18 months for drivers over 21; for 1 year or until age 21 for drivers under 21; CDL revoked permanently for commercial drivers
Chemical test refusal under zero-tolerance law First $300 civil penalty and $100 reapplication fee None Revoked for at least 1 year
Chemical test refusal under zero-tolerance law Second or subsequent violation of zero-tolerance law $750 civil penalty and $100 reapplication fee None Revoked for at least 1 year
Driving under the influence (DUI) out of state Any previous alcohol or drug violation N/A N/A Revoked for at least 90 days (longer with certain prior offenses); if less than 21 years old, revoked for at least 1 year or until age 21 (longest term)
DUI out of state Second and subsequent N/A N/A Revoked for at least 90 days; if less than 21 years old, revoked for at least 1 year
Driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI) First $300-$500 15 days Suspended for 90 days
DWAI Second within 5 years $500-$750 30 days Revoked for at least 6 months
DWAI – misdemeanor Third or subsequent within 10 days $750-$1,500 180 days Revoked for at least 6 months
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving while impaired by a drug (DWAI-Drug) First $500-$1,000 1 year Revoked for at least 6 months
DWI or DWAI-Drug – D felony Third within 10 years $2,000-$10,000 7 years Revoked for at least 1 year
DWI or DWAI-Drug – E felony Second within 10 years $1,000-$5,000 4 years Revoked for at least 1 year
Driving while ability impaired by a combination of alcohol/drugs (DWAI-Combination) First $500-$1,000 1 year Revoked for at least 6 months
DWAI-Combination – D felony Third within 10 years $2,000-$10,000 7 years Revoked for at least 1 year
DWAI-Combination – E felony Second within 10 years $1,000-$5,000 4 years Revoked for at least 1 year
Zero-tolerance law Second $125 civil penalty and $100 reapplication fee None Revoked for 1 year or until age 21 (if younger at time of violation)
Zero-tolerance law First $125 civil penalty and $100 fee to terminate suspension None Suspended for 6 months

Seat Belt Laws

No matter what seat you’re in, you must wear a seat belt if you’re in a car in New York. This law is under primary enforcement, so a police officer can stop you for not wearing a seat belt, no other traffic violations needed.

Distracted Driving Laws

You can’t use a handheld device while driving in New York, no matter your age or the activity, such as texting. Like the seat belt law, this ban is under primary enforcement. You’ll get five points per violation on your license, and you could face fines for texting and driving in New York (and for conducting any activity on a handheld device while driving).

  • First offense: $200 maximum
  • Second offense within 18 months: $250 maximum
  • Third and subsequent offenses: $450 maximum

Teen Driver Laws

No matter what part of the state you’re in, there are certain restrictions for those with learner’s permits and junior licenses.

Learner’s permit and junior license restriction Regulation
When you can drive without a supervising driver 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Conviction of traffic violations Suspension of license/permit for 60 days
Cell phone use while driving, first offense Suspension of license/permit for 60 days
Cell phone use while driving, second offense within 6 months Minimum 6-month revocation for probationary licenses; 60-day revocation for Class DJ/MJ driver’s license or learner’s permit

The three regions of New York (upstate, Long Island and New York City) all have slightly different restrictions regarding passengers, so check the DMV website for the most detailed information at https://on.ny.gov/3hRVEJQ.

Claims Statutes of Limitations

File any property damage or personal injury claims within three years of the incident to ensure proper coverage. Beyond that statute of limitations, you won’t be compensated for your losses.

Cancellation and Non-Renewal Notifications

New York car insurance companies have 20 days to alert you before they cancel your policy mid-term, or 15 days if the cancellation is due to nonpayment. For non-renewal at the end of your term, companies must alert you 45 to 60 days before the expiration date.5

Self-Insurers

You can self-insure your cars as an alternative to buying a personal auto policy from a provider. You’ll have to prove you have the proper liquidity and assets, which you can calculate from the number of tow trucks and other vehicles you own, the average dollar amount of claims in the past four years, and other factors. See the exact requirements on the application from New York’s DMV at https://dmv.ny.gov/ii-es/fs-100.pdf.

Inspection Requirements

Any car registered in the Empire State must be inspected every year or when ownership is transferred at a DMV-licensed inspection statement. The safety inspection includes an emissions inspection. Find a station near you via https://process.dmv.ny.gov/FacilityLookup/?_ga=2.73365715.1352907158.1646677644-930311440.1646677644. See below to estimate how much you’ll pay for the inspection.

Group Vehicle weight (in pounds) Exceptions Inspection fee
1 – Light vehicles Under 10,001 Trailers, motorcycles $10
1 – Light vehicles 10,001-18,001 Trailers, motorcycles $15
1 – Light vehicles 10,001-18,001 Semitrailers $6
2 – Heavy vehicles Over 18,000 or 10,001-18,001 Trailers $20
2 – Heavy vehicles Over 18,000 or 10,001-18,001 Non-trailers $12
2 – Heavy vehicles All Non-semitrailers $12
3 – Motorcycles All Non-motorcycles $6
Emissions Under 8,501 Vehicles from 1995 and earlier $27 at an inspection station within the New York metropolitan area, or $11 if outside the NYMA
Emissions Over 8,500 Vehicles from 1996 and after $11
Emissions Over 8,500 All diesel-powered vehicles $25

SR-22s

New York doesn’t require SR-22 forms that prove minimum coverage. If you’re a New Yorker, you can forget that this form exists.

Defensive Driving

If you rack up 11 or more points on your driving record, the state of New York requires you to take a defensive driving course. The courses are five hours and 20 minutes long and can take four points off your driving record (although those points will still be visible on the record physically). You may also be able to get up to a 10 percent discount on your car insurance for three years.

You can find a defensive driving course in New York at https://dmv.ny.gov/pirp/classroom.

Serious Injury and Monetary Thresholds

While there’s no monetary threshold for civil suits in New York, there is a serious injury threshold. In other words, to file a civil suit following a car accident, you must have one of these serious injuries:

  • Bone fracture
  • Permanent limitation of use of a body member or organ
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Significant limitation of a bodily system or function
  • Substantially full disability for at least 90 days
  • Accident Reporting Requirements

You must report accidents that incur property damage, death or injuries worth more than $1,500 within 10 days. If you don’t, you could face a maximum fine of $250, 15 days of imprisonment, or both.6

Discrimination Based on Credit and Gender

New York’s laws are progressive in general. However, car insurance companies are allowed to base premiums on both credit scores and gender. If you have bad credit or are a man, expect to pay more for car insurance than those with good credit and women.

Total Loss

If a car’s repairs cost 75 percent or more of its AMV, it’ll be declared a total loss. If you have proper coverage, you will be reimbursed for your car’s AMV and won’t have to go through the repair process.

Contact Information You’ll Need

Are you a new driver in New York who needs to register your car? Or do you want to contest a claim decision with the state’s insurance department? Find the contact information you need here.

State Registration Information

First of all, you’ll need insurance for car registration in New York. Once that’s sorted out, you can register with your county’s DMV, whose address you can find at https://dmv.ny.gov/registration/how-register-vehicle. The documents you’ll need depend on how you bought the car — from a dealership, a private sale, or elsewhere. Figure out what you need to bring before you make the trip by reviewing the information at https://on.ny.gov/35Eg2ve. See how much you’ll pay for the registration below.

Vehicle weight range (in pounds) Fee
Up to 1,650 $26
1,651-1,750 $28
1,751-1,850 $29
1,851-1,950 $31
1,951-2,050 $33
2,051-2,150 $34
2,151-2,250 $36
2,251-2,350 $38
2,351-2,450 $39
2,451-2,550 $41
2,551-2,650 $42
2,651-2,750 $44
2,751-2,850 $46
2,851-2,950 $47
2,951-3,050 $49
3,051-3,150 $50
3,151-3,250 $52
3,251-3,350 $54
3,351-3,450 $55
3,451-3,550 $57
3,551-3,650 $59
3,651-3,750 $62
3,751-3,850 $64
3,851-3,950 $67
3,951-4,050 $69
4,051-4,150 $71
4,151-4,250 $74
4,251-4,350 $76
4,351-4,450 $79
4,451-4,550 $81
4,551-4,650 $84
4,651-4,750 $86
4,751-4,850 $88
4,851-4,950 $91
4,951-5,050 $93
5,051-5,150 $96
5,151-5,250 $98
5,251-5,350 $101
5,351-5,450 $103
5,451-5,550 $105
5,551-5,650 $108
5,651-5,750 $110
5,751-5,850 $113
5,851-5,950 $115
5,951-6,050 $117
6,051-6,150 $120
6,151-6,250 $122
6,251-6,350 $125
6,351-6,450 $127
6,451-6,550 $130
6,551-6,650 $132
6,651-6,750 $134
6,751-6,850 $137
6,851-6,950 $139
6,951 or more $140

You can renew your registration online, by mail, or in person.

  • Online: Go to https://transact3.dmv.ny.gov/registrationrenew/?_ga=2.83170134.1352907158.1646677644-930311440.1646677644 to renew your registration online.
  • Mail: Print and fill out the MV-82 form (https://dmv.ny.gov/forms/mv82.pdf). With the fee paid by check (made payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles), send the form to this address:
    • New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
      Utica Processing Center
      P.O. Box 359
      Utica, NY 13503
  • In person: Once you’ve filled out the MV-82 form, bring it to your nearest DMV, which you can locate at https://dmv.ny.gov/offices/county-offices.

DMV Contact Information

You can contact the New York DMV in several ways:

  • Give customer feedback online at ​​https://dmv.ny.gov/contact-us/submit-comment-or-suggestion-about-dmv-website.
  • Get help online at https://nysdmv.custhelp.com/app/ask_home?_ga=2.6665330.1352907158.1646677644-930311440.1646677644.
  • Call 518-486-9786 or 800-698-2931.
  • Visit https://dmv.ny.gov/offices/county-offices.

Duplicate Car Title Instructions

Whether you lost your car title or want a copy for safekeeping, follow these steps to obtain a duplicate:

  1. If you want to complete the process online, visit https://transact2.dmv.ny.gov/titleduplicate/?_ga=2.7150642.1296147171.1641911547-1146883261.1633979390.
  2. If you’d rather use snail mail, print and fill out the form at https://dmv.ny.gov/forms/mv902.pdf.
  3. If you aren’t the vehicle owner, get the form notarized.
  4. Enclose a $20 payment for the fee.
  5. Send the form and payment to this address:
    • Title Bureau
      NYS DMV
      P.O. Box 2750
      Albany, NY 12220-0750

Department of Financial Services Contact Information

You can contact the New York DFS online, over the phone, or by mail.

  • Online: https://www.dfs.ny.gov
  • Phone: 212-480-6400
  • Mail:
    • New York Department of Financial Services
      25 Beaver St.
      New York, NY 10004

How Much Are Car Repairs in New York?

New York has the third-highest cost of living in the country, behind Hawaii and Washington, D.C.7 Surprisingly, though, car repairs in the state are actually 2 percent lower than the national average at only $376.08. Labor costs $138.60, and parts cost $237.48.8

Crime and Fatalities

On average, there is less car theft in New York than in the rest of the U.S. Unfortunately, New York’s traffic fatality rates are above the national average.

Car Theft

New York only had 102 car thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019, according to the most recent FBI data. That’s 142 percent lower than the national average.

However, the state’s biggest cities had higher rates, which is the usual case; in most states, car theft is more common in cities than in suburban and rural areas.

Metropolitan statistical area Number of motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020
Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY 220
Syracuse, NY 147
Rochester, NY 134
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 1189

Traffic Fatalities

The state of New York has 24 percent more traffic fatalities than the rest of the country — 931 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.10

Conclusion

New York has many different roads for you to travel down. But while you’re driving, make sure you follow all state and local guidelines. Maintaining a clean driving record will keep your car insurance rates as low as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still curious about car insurance in the Big Apple and beyond? Keep reading for our FAQs.

How much is car insurance in New York monthly?

Car insurance in New York averages $120.44 monthly. This is 26 percent higher than the national average cost, according to the most recent data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

What kind of car insurance do I need in New York City?

In New York City, you need bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured motorist coverage, as well as personal injury protection and coverage for deaths in accidents, according to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles.

Can you drive without insurance in New York?

No, you cannot drive without insurance in New York. If you do not have the minimum coverage and are convicted of driving without insurance, you could face the following penalties.

  • Fine: $150 to $1,500
  • Civil penalty: $750
  • Imprisonment: 15-day maximum (instead of or in addition to your fine)
  • License suspension: Suspension for the same amount of time as your registration suspension, once you are uninsured for more than 90 days
  • Registration suspension: Fines of $8 a day for up to 30 days, $10 a day for 31 to 60 days, or $12 a day for 61 to 90 days (up to the length of time you did not have insurance)

Do you need full coverage in New York?

You do not need full coverage in New York, as collision and comprehensive coverage aren’t mandatory. New York requires all other components of full-coverage car insurance: liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection.

Citations

  1. New York State Insurance Requirements. New York State DMV. https://dmv.ny.gov/insurance/insurance-requirements

  2. 2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. NAIC. (2022). https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-aut-pb-auto-insurance-database.pdf

  3. Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State. Consumer Federation of America. https://consumerfed.org/pdfs/140310_penaltiesfordrivingwithoutautoinsurance_cfa.pdf

  4. One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar). https://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/UM%20NR%20032221.pdf

  5. Cancellation and Nonrenewal. New York State Department of Financial Services. https://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/auto_insurance/cancellation_and_renewal

  6. Leaving scene of an incident without reporting. The New York State Senate. (2022). https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/VAT/600

  7. Cost of Living Data Series. Missouri Economic Research and Data Center. https://meric.mo.gov/data/cost-living-data-series

  8. 2020 State Repair Cost Rankings. CarMD. (2020, Jul). https://www.carmd.com/wp/vehicle-health-index-introduction/2020-carmd-state-index/

  9. NICB ‘Hot Spots’: Auto Thefts Up Significantly Across the Country. NICB. (2021, Aug). https://www.nicb.org/news/news-releases/nicb-hot-spots-auto-thefts-significantly-across-country

  10. Fatality Facts 2019 State by state. IIHS. (2021, Mar). https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/state-by-state