Car Insurance: The Very Basics

The Minimum Insurance Coverage Required by New York State Law

As personal injury attorneys, we at The Orlow Firm urge all Queens residents to become educated consumers when it comes to car insurance coverage. In this article, we provide information as to the absolute minimum insurance coverage required by state law. In our next article, Car Insurance: How Much is Enough?, we strongly advise you to consider obtaining coverage above the minimum requirements levels.

In-State Insurance Coverage

You must have New York State-issued automobile liability insurance in order to register a vehicle in New York State. Failure to maintain this coverage can result in suspension of your vehicle registration and driver’s license. Even if you don’t use your vehicle, your insurance coverage must remain in effect while your registration is still valid. Your auto insurance policy must be issued in the name of the vehicle registrant, and remain in the name of the registrant at all times. In addition, your car insurance coverage must be issued by a company that is licensed by the NYS Department of Financial Services and certified by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles. Auto insurance coverage from out-of-state is not acceptable.

Basic Coverage

In the event of an automobile accident, basic coverage provides reimbursement for medical procedures, lost earnings and other reasonable expenses, property damage, and death benefit payable to the estate of the person affected.

At the very least you must have the following coverage:

  • $10,000 for property damage for a single accident
  • $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident
  • $50,000 mandatory no-fault insurance

No-Fault Coverage

The purpose of no-fault coverage is to provide prompt payment of benefits regardless of who was at fault and whether or not the accident involved negligence. Lawsuits may be brought only for economic losses that exceed the no-fault coverage limits, for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, or for “serious injury” as defined by New York State Insurance Law. No-fault coverage provides personal injury protection and does not pay for damage to your property or vehicle.

Reducing the Cost of Car Insurance

Here are some the ways you can reduce the cost of your car insurance: accident prevention courses, automatic seat belts or air bags, factory-installed anti-lock braking systems (ABS), anti-theft devices (alarm systems, ignition cut-off devices and certain electronic tracking systems), factory-installed daytime running lamps, driver training for persons under age 21, “careful driver” or “accident-free” discounts, and multi-car discounts.

Contact the Orlow Firm

If you have any questions, contact the Queens car accident attorneys at The Orlow Firm for a free consultation at (646) 647-3398.