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Car insurance in New York

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How to get cheap auto insurance in New York

If you live in New York or you’re planning to move there soon, get an idea of what’s required when it comes to auto insurance. Read on to learn more about average costs, state laws and more.

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Average car insurance costs in New York

New York averages $1,350 annually for standard car insurance coverage, which puts it slightly above the national average of approximately $1,300. Costs vary within the state based on your driving history, vehicle and level of coverage.

Location is one of many factors that can affect your insurance rate. For example, a driver who lives and parks their car in downtown Manhattan could pay more to insure their car than someone up in Woodstock. City living comes with some extra risks for vandalism and theft, plus driving in tight traffic more often tends to mean you’re at a greater risk for accidents.

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Car insurance quotes for New York drivers

While the state average is in the $1,300 range, you could pay more or less depending on your situation. To give you an idea of how much you might pay for car insurance, compare sample quotes for drivers living in the state of New York. These rates are for a married driver with good credit wanting great coverage for a newer sedan.

CompanyAverage annual rateLearn more
Central$1,436Read review
Travelers$1,519Read review
Allstate$1,729Read review
Geico$1,815Read review
Progressive$1,863Read review
USAA$2,048Read review
Kemper$2,116Read review
Chubb$2,279Read review
Erie$2,311Read review
State Farm$2,590Read review

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How can I save on my car insurance?

Looking for some ways to save money on your auto insurance in New York? No matter what state you’re in, there are many ways to lower your premiums and get a better value out of your coverage.

State minimum requirements in New York

  • Bodily injury minimum: $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident; $50,000 per death to one person / $100,000 per death to multiple people
  • Property damage minimum: $10,000 per accident
  • Uninsured/underinsured bodily injury minimum: $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident
  • Basic personal injury protection minimum: $50,000

When shopping for car insurance, you’ll sometimes see this written as 25/50/10.

Some states, including New York, require you to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage (UM/UIM coverage), which protects you in an accident with someone without proper insurance coverage. New York’s laws require a UM/UIM minimum equal to that of the regular liability coverage.

Additional optional insurance coverage

You can also get additional types of insurance to better protect yourself, including:

  • Collision. Helps pay for repairs if your car is damaged in an accident.
  • Comprehensive. Covers you in case your car is damaged by something other than an accident — for instance, a fire or vandalism.
  • Medical and funeral services. Assists in paying for medical bills or funeral services as a result of an accident.
  • Rental. Helps cover the costs of renting a car while you’re waiting on your vehicle to be repaired following an accident.

Compare New York car insurance providers

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go.
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.

Compare up to 4 providers

What if I’m caught driving in New York without proper insurance?

Because the state of New York mandates a minimum level of coverage to legally drive, you can expect fines, suspension of your license and registration or even jail time, especially if it’s a recurring offense.

  • Traffic stop or car accident. If you’re pulled over for any reason by the police and can’t prove you have the necessary car insurance coverage, you can be fined $150 to $1,500, have your licence suspended for at least one year, and pay a fee of $750 to reinstate your license after its suspension. In extreme cases, you could be imprisoned for as many as 15 days.
  • Lapse of coverage. You can be charged a civil penalty fee up to $900, and if you fail to pay that, your license can be suspended.

What if I had coverage but forgot to keep proof with me?

If you have insurance coverage but simply don’t have your insurance card with you, it’s likely you’ll get a ticket. Some times you can contest the ticket by mailing a copy of your insurance card and have the fee waived.

What can I use as proof of my insurance coverage in New York?

As of April 2015, drivers in New York are able to display proof of insurance electronically in addition to the paper card. That means having a copy of your insurance on a phone, tablet or laptop is just fine. Because technology sometimes lets us down when we need it most, keeping the card in your glove box is probably a good idea.

Is car insurance the only option for proving financial responsibility in this state?

Believe it or not, you can deposit $25,000 with the New York State Treasury office and get a certificate of financial responsibility. Your certificate counts as proving you have insurance during a traffic stop or accident.

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Uninsured drivers in New York

New York has a very low number of uninsured drivers — about 6%, which is less than half the national average of 13% in 2015. And since the state requires uninsured motorist coverage, you should be well protected against uninsured drives if you’re in an accident.

Can I get temporary insurance in New York?

Yes, you can. You might need coverage for a short time for a borrowed car or rental car. It’s perfectly legal to purchase short-term car insurance for less than six months, but most insurance companies won’t offer this option.

Your best option might be to call your current insurance provider or contact an online provider to find out what your options are. Look for a policy that lets you cancel for no or low fees, and transfer to a more long-term option when you’re ready.

Drunk driving laws in New York

New York’s laws are the same as anywhere else in the country when it comes to regular and commercial drivers over 21, but the state’s zero tolerance policy has caveats that address underage drinking. Police will charge you with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if you test at:

  • 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) and you’re 21 years old or older
  • 0.04% BAC and you’re driving a commercial motor vehicle
  • 0.02% BAC and you’re younger than 21 years old

First DWI offense

  • License suspension for six months.
  • A $500 to $1,000 fine.
  • A minimum $250 annual assessment fine, for a total of $750 in fines over three years. This is part of the state’s Driver Responsibility Program.
  • Up to one year in jail.
  • Possible enrollment in the New York Drinking Driver Program (DDP) and all the associated costs.

    Second DWI offense. If you get a second DWI charge within 10 years, you face:

    • License revoked for at least one year.
    • $1,000 to $5,000 fine.
    • A minimum $250 annual assessment fine, for a total of $750 in fines over three years. This is part of the state’s Driver Responsibility Program.
    • Up to four years in jail, with a minimum of five days in jail or 30 days of community service.
    • A Class E felony.
    • Possible enrollment in the New York Drinking Driver Program (DDP) and all the associated costs.

    These offenses, while similar to DWI, are slightly different and tend to involve slightly different consequences.

    • DWAI/Alcohol: The name for Driving While Ability Impaired specifically by alcohol.
    • DWAI/Drugs: The specific name for Driving While Ability Impaired by a drug other than alcohol.
    • DWAI/Combination: The specific name for Driving While Ability Impaired by both alcohol and other drugs.
    • Aggravated DWI (A-DWI): Being charged with aggravated driving by having a BAC 0.18% or higher.

    Can I get SR-22 insurance in New York?

    Unlike other states, New York doesn’t require drivers with DUI convictions to file SR-22 insurance — a certificate that tells the state you have the minimum coverage required to get behind the wheel. If a driver is required to file one, they’ll be notified by the state.

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    What happens after a car accident in New York?

    Car accidents can be unsettling and scary, even if it was just a small fender bender. Stay calm and follow these steps to keep your process as simple and safe as possible.

    • Get to safety. Check the people around you for injuries and your surroundings for any additional potential dangers. If someone is injured or you see a danger, call 911 right away. If not, it’s still usually a good idea to inform the local police of what’s happened as quickly as possible. If you’re blocking the road and feel comfortable try moving your car.
    • Exchange information. Get the personal information of the people involved in the accident — like their names, driver’s license numbers, addresses and cell phone numbers. Also write down information about their car’s make, model, year, tags and insurance policy.
    • Notify your insurance agent. Call your insurance company before you leave the scene. Tell them what’s happened and ask what additional steps you have to take.
    • Document the scene. Take pictures of the accident from all angles, especially the areas that are damaged. Take down the names of police officers and any potential witnesses to better protect your claim.

    Who’s at fault after an accident?

    New York is a no-fault or torte state, meaning that victims of a car accident are typically reimbursed by their own insurance company for damages regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident. However, if the state believes your injuries are serious enough to warrant an exemption from the no-fault rule then you’re allowed to sue the party who’s to blame for the accident.

    When should I report an accident to the authorities in New York?

    If anyone is killed, if there is an injury or if there is property damage greater than $1,000, you have to report the accident to local law enforcement right away. If law enforcement is not called to the scene of an accident, you’ll need to complete a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident and file it with the DMV no more than 10 days after the accident.

    Should I contact a lawyer after an accident?

    After minor accidents, it may not be necessary to get a lawyer. However, you may want to consider it if:

    • You’re facing criminal charges after a crash, such as gross negligence
    • You plan to appeal a court ruling that went against you
    • You plan to file a civil suit against another driver who was involved in your accident
    • Another driver involved in your accident plans to file a civil suit against you

    Bottom line

    Getting the right car insurance could make all the difference when it comes time to filing a claim, and depending on your circumstances, it could mean buying a policy with more coverage than the bare minimum. Shop around and compare your options to find the best value, and work with your provider to build a policy that works for you.

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    Frequently asked questions

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