As one of the world’s major cultural, financial and commercial centers, New York City is an awe-inspiring place full of iconic sites and attractions. As a whole, New York state’s popularity means a higher cost of living, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t find affordable auto insurance there.
New York insurance rates vary widely depending on which Empire State zip code you live in, but all residents can benefit from our unbiased, carrier-neutral information on rates and features. We provide options that allow you to choose the coverage that’s right for your specific needs and budget.
It really pays to shop around when it comes to purchasing auto insurance in New York. You must obtain the proper level of coverage from a reputable insurance agent. To help you along, we’ve listed the top three car insurance companies in New York (see the full list).
Not all insurance companies are the same. Make sure to compare customer satisfaction, rates, rejected claims, and other key pieces of data when shopping for coverage.
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Auto insurance is more than an expense; it’s an investment. It protects you financially in the event of an accident, ensuring you can afford medical care, vehicle replacement, and time off from work. It’s always wise to carry as much insurance as possible, especially in states known to have a high percentage of uninsured motorists or poor overall safety ratings. Let’s look at some safety information for New York.
New York Driving Safety
Distracted driving, heavy congestion, a high number of tourists, and other factors contribute to New York’s high number of vehicle crashes and associated injuries each year. Plus, 5% of drivers in New York are uninsured and many more are underinsured, which means there’s a decent chance your next accident could be with someone who’s not properly covered.
There are a few telling state safety stats below. Visit New York State’s page about Distracted Driving, Talking & Texting for more information on the dangers of distracted driving.
New York encourages motorists to go green by offering several green driver incentives. These incentives are in addition to auto insurance discounts and federal incentives.
The state exempts emissions testing for electric cars (both on-board diagnostic system and low-enhanced emissions), new vehicles less than 2 years old, and diesel-powered vehicles with a maximum gross weight of more than 8,500 lbs. However, these vehicles must still undergo annual safety inspections.
This program, called the Clean Pass Program, allows qualifying fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles to bypass heavy road congestion by using the Long Island Expressway HOV lanes. Vehicles eligible for this incentive include those with an EPA fuel economy rating of at least 45 MPG and super ultra-low emissions vehicles. A Clean Pass sticker must be placed on the vehicle. To apply for a sticker, visit the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website.
Drivers of hybrids may be eligible for a 10% discount on their E-ZPass. To determine eligibility, you must confirm your vehicle is listed and that your tag has a Thruway logo, make a copy of your registration, and then request the Green Discount by sending a letter to the E-ZPass New York Customer Service Center.
In addition to the above incentives, New York State offers several incentives to local fleet owners in the commercial bus and truck sector. This program, called the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program (NYT-VIP), offers three funds to vendors who sell alternative fuel vehicles and diesel emission control devices. For more information on this program, please visit the NYT-VIP Fact Sheet.
In New York, you must have state-issued auto liability insurance coverage to register your vehicle. If you fail to continuously maintain this coverage, the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your driver’s license and registration.
The minimum amount of coverage is $10,000 for property damage, $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for accidental death of one person. For two or more people involved in an accident, you must carry $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death. New York also requires a minimum of $25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage.
New York is a no-fault insurance state, and drivers are required to carry personal injury protection in the minimum amount of $50,000. This insurance provides motorists with benefits toward medical and rehabilitation costs, death-related expenses, lost wages, and more.
Minimum coverage for serious or permanent injury to a single person
Minimum coverage for death for a person involved in an accident
Minimum payment for damaged property in an accident caused by you
Most lenders require a level of insurance much greater than that required by law. Some may also request that you add a variety of optional coverages to your policy. Always check with potential lenders before purchasing a new vehicle, and clear policy changes with your finance company to prevent penalties.
Electing to buy optional coverages from the possibilities below provides extra peace of mind and financial protection. Some exclusions will apply.
Our article 10 Things to Consider when Shopping for a New Auto Insurance Policy can help you make smart purchasing decisions.
* This company list is based on the consumer ratings in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Ratings are derived from five key customer service areas: claims, billings, price, interaction, and policy offerings. USAA is only open to U.S. military personnel and their families and was therefore not included in the rankings.
New York law states that all children under the age of 4 years must ride in a child safety seat. Children have to ride in a child restraint system until they turn 8 years old. All child restraint systems and safety seats must be certified according to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 and meet the weight and size requirements for the child based on manufacturer recommendations and federal requirements.
An appropriate child safety restraint system can be a safety seat, harness, vest, or booster seat. These should not be used in the front seat of your vehicle.
Infant seats are generally for babies weighing 22 pounds or less and who are 25 inches or less in length. These seats should be rear-facing.
Infants and toddlers weighing 40 pounds or less qualify for convertible child safety seats. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to when these seats should be repositioned from rear-facing to front-facing.
Children who have outgrown toddler and convertible seats should be placed in a certified booster seat for children ages 4 to 8 years and weighing 40 to 80 pounds. Once your child reaches 4 feet, 9 inches, he or she is tall enough to use an adult seat belt in most vehicles.
Children 12 years of age and younger should ride in the back seat whenever possible due to safety concerns over injuries related to deployment of airbags. Children under the age of 16 must wear a seat belt whether they are in the front or back seat.
New York may be a northern state, but that doesn’t mean the temperatures don’t pose a threat to children left in vehicles. Even when outside temperatures are only 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the inside of a car parked in the sun can increase 30 degrees within 30 minutes. These temperatures can quickly lead to brain damage or death. Never leave a child (or a pet) unattended in a parked car for even a few minutes.
Poor credit can make it difficult to receive the cheapest car insurance in New York, but each insurer has its own approach to dealing with driver credit problems. Shop around to get the best rates.
New York offers residents a discount on their auto insurance for being a good driver and remaining accident free. This “Careful Driver” discount can save you a lot of money on your policy, so ask about it before signing your paperwork. Other potential discounts include:
Yes! New York drivers are allowed to provide digital proof of insurance coverage. Proof of insurance should be present or immediately accessible at all times to avoid hefty fines.
If you experience a lapse in insurance coverage in New York State, your registration and/or driver’s license can be suspended. If you’re caught driving without insurance, you may be ticketed or arrested and your vehicle can be impounded.
It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle in New York with the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
There are different levels of DUI in New York State. For more information about New York’s DUI laws, refer to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles Alcohol and Other Drugs web page.
Under New York’s “Implied Consent” law, driving a vehicle means you’ve consented to a blood, urine, or saliva test to measure your BAC. If you refuse to take the test, your driver’s license will be suspended and the refusal can be held against you as evidence of guilt when you go to court for alcohol or drug-related charges.
The consequences of being convicted of a DUI in New York are severe and depend on your age, blood alcohol level, and whether you were transporting a child at the time of your offense. Even a single DUI conviction can result in high fees, legal expenses, license suspensions, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and even jail time.
Killing or harming another person due to an alcohol or drug-related violation can result in thousands of dollars in fines and a maximum jail term of 15 years.
Yes. New York State offers a Point and Insurance Reduction Program, which includes a Defensive Driving or Accident Prevention Course, to help prevent loss of license and reduce the base rate of your car insurance premiums.
Reducing the cost of your New York auto insurance starts with keeping an eye on your credit score, shopping around and comparing insurance rates, and inquiring about your eligibility for all available discounts. Paying up front, remaining accident free, and avoiding coverage lapses will also keep your bill under control.
Despite laws requiring all drivers to carry auto insurance, some people still choose to drive without it. As a result, it’s important for insured drivers to also carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to recover compensation following an accident with an uninsured driver. New York does not require underinsured motorist coverage, but it is highly recommended. The state does require uninsured motorist coverage.
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