California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York – can you guess what these states have in common? These states are home to the highest number of licensed drivers in the U.S. In addition, 5-23 percent of the licensed drivers in these states currently drive without insurance. Thousands more take to the roads with inadequate amounts of insurance. In the state of New York alone, of 11,356,988 licensed drivers, 5 percent (or 567,849) drivers are currently uninsured.
Although New York’s uninsured motorist population is low in comparison to Florida (23 percent) and California (18 percent), auto insurance is still mandatory in the state. In addition to the more than half a million drivers that currently travel without auto insurance, New York requires a specific amount of auto insurance coverage based on accident statistics. In 2008 alone, there were 316,231 car accidents in New York. 1,160 were fatal, 180,177 resulted in reportable property damage, and 134,894 resulted in non-fatal injuries of nearly 200,000 drivers and passengers.
New York requires all drivers to carry $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury liability, $25,000/$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury, $10,000 for property damage, and $50,000 personal injury protection (PIP). New York drivers must purchase a policy from an insurance company licensed to do business in the state. Once you have obtained a policy, proof of minimum liability coverage must be carried in the vehicle at all times.
If you allow your policy to cancel or lapse, your auto insurance carrier will notify the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. If this happens or if you get caught driving without insurance, your license will be suspended, you will lose your vehicle registration, you will be ticketed and fined, and your car could be towed and impounded. If you lose your vehicle registration for 90 days or less, you will have to pay $8-$12 for each day the vehicle was uninsured. If you have not obtained auto insurance within 85 days, you will have to pay a civil penalty of $840.
Before purchasing an auto insurance policy in the state of New York, it is important to keep in mind that bare minimum coverage is rarely if you find yourself in a serious collision. This is why insurance departments and auto insurance companies recommend carrying at east double the amount of the minimum requirement. Many motorists carry triple or more—especially owners of late model vehicles with high usage and multiple drivers.
The average annual auto insurance premium for new Yorkers is around $1,083 as of 2006. Some estimates place the average annual premium at just over $2,000. To purchase New York auto insurance, contact a broker or agent to shop and compare.
To learn more about New York auto insurance, including the laws and requirements, visit New York auto insurance tips. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles is an excellent source of information.