There were around 309,000 car accidents in New York state in 2017. That’s about one accident for every 30 cars registered in the Empire State. Buying car insurance may not be a day at the beach, but when you need it, it can be a real financial life saver. Read on to learn more about New York’s car insurance laws and how to find the lowest rates.
Average New York Car Insurance Rates
How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance in New York
U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average auto insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies. The rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 17, 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2018 Honda Civic, 2018 Toyota RAV4, 2018 Ford F-150, 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage of 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records, and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only. Individual rates will differ.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in New York?
See the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies
The average New Yorker pays about $4,300 in car insurance each year. What you pay will depend on several factors, including how much coverage you choose to buy, your age, where you live, your driving record, and much more. Auto insurance rates in New York often vary widely.
For instance, teenage drivers are typically charged higher rates because of their limited driving experience and higher frequency of accidents. That’s why a 17-year-old male can expect to pay around $9,500 a year for car insurance in New York state, while a 25-year-old male can expect to pay 65 percent less for similar coverage.
|Company||Single 17-year old female||Single 17-year old male||Single 25-year old female||Single 25-year old male||Married 35-year old female||Married 35-year old male||Married 60-year old female||Married 60-year old male|
Speeding violations and credit history also come into play. Drivers with a clean driving record pay 8 percent less on average for auto insurance.
|Company||Clean record||With 1 speeding violation||With 1 accident||With 1 DUI|
Drivers with a good credit score pay about 18 percent less than those with a fair score, according to our analysis.
New York Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements
All vehicles registered in New York state must be covered by three types of insurance: personal injury protection (PIP), liability, and uninsured motorist.
Personal injury protection – often called no-fault insurance – pays for medical bills and lost wages if you or your passengers are injured in a car accident. As its name suggests, this plan pays the policyholder regardless of who is at fault in the accident, and it covers these costs immediately – even before a personal health insurance plan – so that those injured can get treatment as quickly as possible. The minimum no-fault coverage required by New York state law is $50,000 per person. That means the driver and all passengers are covered for their medical costs and lost wages up to the $50,000 limit.
Liability auto insurance is different. It compensates the other parties affected by an accident for their bodily injury and property damage if you are at fault. The minimum liability coverage required by New York state is often referred to as the 25/50/10 ratio. A minimum coverage limit of $25,000 is set for the injury of one person, a limit of $50,000 is set for the injury of two or more people, and a limit of $10,000 is set for car and property damage.
The last type of required coverage is uninsured motorist insurance. It provides bodily injury coverage for you and any passengers in your car if an accident occurs and the driver at fault does not have insurance. This coverage also applies in the event of a hit-and-run accident. The minimum coverage limits required by New York state for this policy are the same as liability insurance: $25,000 for the injury of one person and $50,000 for the injury of two or more people. Read more about how much car insurance you need.
It’s a good idea to carry additional coverage over these minimum requirements though, especially if you have assets to protect. If a claim is made against you, and your liability coverage is insufficient, the other party can take you to court for monetary damages – putting assets like your home or business on the line.
There are several optional auto insurance policies that are worth considering as well. The two most popular types are collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle caused by an accident, regardless of fault. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from all other incidents, such as a flood, fire, theft, vandalism, or hail. While the state of New York may not require comprehensive or collision coverage, your lender may require them if you lease your car or still owe money on it. That’s to make sure you can pay off your car loan or lease in the event your car is a total loss in an accident or collision.
Cheapest Car Insurance in New York
According to our analysis, Geico offers the lowest car insurance rates in New York state – and often by a large margin. Geico’s rates tend to be lower regardless of driving record, age, credit history, coverage type, or annual mileage driven. On average, drivers who select the minimum coverage through Geico for personal injury protection, liability, and uninsured motorist insurance pay about $2,300 per year. Drivers who opt for a higher level of coverage pay about $2,600 a year with Geico.
USAA and Progressive offer the next best auto insurance rates, according to our research. New York drivers insured with these companies pay about $3,800 a year on average. Nationwide is another attractive option. The average driver insured with Nationwide pays about $4,000 a year, and its rates for teen drivers are lower than most.
Why Auto Insurance Rates Vary in New York
Many factors determine your car insurance rates, but where you live can have one of the biggest impacts. When offering rates, insurance companies evaluate the frequency of claims in a ZIP code, as well as the cost of medical and repair services. An area’s population and traffic are also considered. That’s why shoppers can expect higher rates in ZIP codes with dense traffic and lower rates in more rural areas. The more crowded the area, the more likely you are to make a claim on your auto insurance, which means higher costs for your insurance company, and thus higher rates for you.
In New York, the cheapest car insurance rates are found in the smaller cities and ZIP codes of the upstate New York region. The average rates in Elmira, Binghamton, and Ithaca vary between $2,800 and $3,100 per year. The state’s highest car insurance rates are found in ZIP codes with the largest populations. The average rate in Yonkers and Mount Vernon is about $6,250 a year. It’s even higher in New York City at around $7,500 per year.
How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in New York
Some aspects of car insurance are out of your control, but most aren’t. There are many discounts available that can lower your car insurance rates substantially. Many insurers offer discounts to teens who take a driver safety course. Homeowners can often bundle their home and auto policies with the same insurance company to save money (also called a multipolicy discount). Drivers can insure multiple vehicles with the same company as well (a multicar discount).
Some companies also offer discounts based on the safety features of the insured vehicle. You can often get discounts for having airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), daytime running lights, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, or anti-theft devices like a car alarm.
Ultimately, the simplest way to lower your car insurance premium is through safe driving. Insurers offer better rates to those with a clean driving record as compared to those with speeding violations or accidents. Usage-based insurance is also growing in popularity as a way to evaluate driving risk. Drivers can apply for apps and devices that record their driving habits and transmit that data to the insurance company. Examples of this include Progressive’s Snapshot program and Allstate’s Drivewise program. Safe driving is rewarded with lower premiums; frequent panic stops or high-speed driving can result in higher premiums.
If you’ve applied for car insurance and been denied by a number of companies, you may want to consider purchasing coverage through the New York Automobile Insurance Plan (NYAIP). This state program is designed to provide car insurance to consumers with a poor driving record or multiple insurance claims. Drivers are assigned to an insurance company and covered for three years. These policies tend to be much more expensive than the voluntary insurance market, though.
Important Laws Around Auto Insurance in New York
There are two main types of auto liability insurance laws: fault-based and no-fault. New York is one of a dozen states that require no-fault insurance (personal injury protection). In these states, a driver and their passengers can receive compensation for their medical bills and lost wages from their own insurance company, regardless of fault. The policyholder can sue the other parties involved in the accident as well, but only under certain conditions, such as if medical bills exceed a set dollar amount. Advocates for no-fault insurance say it provides quicker compensation to those injured and deters lawsuits, which can be lengthy and expensive.
Most other states follow the fault-based system. In those states, drivers aren’t required to buy personal injury protection (an equivalent plan is often optional). Instead, the liability insurance of the driver at fault covers the lost wages and medical expenses of those injured. Proponents of this system say it lowers insurance premiums and reduces the need for overlapping medical coverage, which health insurance plans may already provide.
New York Driving Laws and Punishments
All cars and trucks registered in New York state must always have insurance coverage. Motorcycles are the sole exception – they don’t need to be insured when in storage, but they must be insured when operating on public roads. If you are caught driving without insurance in New York, you can be fined up to $1,500. You can also be arrested and have your vehicle impounded. If you are involved in an accident while driving without insurance, your license and vehicle registration can be revoked for a year. There are additional fees to reinstate your license if it has been revoked.
New York state also has strict distracted driving laws. It is illegal to drive a vehicle while holding and using a cell phone in New York. This includes placing a call, reading or composing text messages and emails, and viewing or taking pictures. To legally use a cell phone while driving in New York state, it must be securely attached to the vehicle – on the dashboard, for example – or equipped with a hands-free device like a Bluetooth headset. Fines for distracted driving range from as little as $50 for a first offense to $450 for a third offense. Drivers will also receive violation points against their license. Drivers with a probationary license or learner permit will automatically lose their license or permit for 120 days and up to a year if a second violation occurs within six months.
There are a number of DUI laws in New York state with varying penalties. The Zero Tolerance law states that no driver under the age of 21 can operate a vehicle if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is between .02 and .07 percent. Drivers who violate this law will have their licenses suspended for six months and up to a year (or until age 21) if a second violation occurs. Fines total about $225.
Drivers who operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher are in violation of the New York Driving While Intoxicated law (DWI). Depending on the number of offenses, drivers in violation of this law can face fines of between $500 and $10,000, maximum jail time of between one and seven years, and a license suspension of at least six to 12 months. These penalties are the same for motorists convicted of Driving While Impaired by a Drug (DWAI-Drug). The penalties are more severe for those convicted of Aggravated DWI, which is classified as driving with a blood alcohol content of .18 or higher.
Even though a blood alcohol content of .08 is commonly referred to as the “legal limit”, you can still face penalties in New York for operating a vehicle below this limit. This is known as DWAI, or Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol, and it’s classified as driving with a blood alcohol content of more than .05 but less than .07 percent. Depending on the number of offenses, drivers in violation of this law can face fines of $300 to $1,500, maximum jail time of between 15 and 180 days, and a license suspension of at least 90 days or up to six months.
New York Car Insurance FAQs
Is car insurance required in New York?
Yes, all vehicles registered in New York state must be insured up to the state’s minimum coverage requirements for personal injury protection (PIP), liability, and uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. Drivers can opt for higher levels of PIP and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, additional liability insurance to protect their assets if they are found to be at fault in an accident, as well as optional insurance like collision or comprehensive coverage to protect their vehicle.
Which cars are required to be insured in New York?
All cars, trucks, and SUVs currently registered in New York state must be insured. This includes all registered vehicles that are inoperable or in long-term storage. If you own one of these types of vehicles and do not wish to keep it insured, you must cancel your registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and return your license plates before ending your insurance coverage. Only motorcycles can remain uninsured when not in use.
If you’re a nonresident of New York with a vehicle registered in another state, such as a college student or a member of the military, you must follow the car insurance and registration laws of that state. If you become a resident, you must insure and register the vehicle in New York within 30 days.
When should I get car insurance in New York?
If you’re buying a new or used car, you’ll need to get insurance before you can register the vehicle. You can shop for insurance online, over the phone, in person with an agent or broker, or at a car dealership.
If you’re buying a car and you have existing insurance on a second vehicle, a car you’re selling, or a car you’re trading in – you can contact the insurer to have your next vehicle added to the policy.
What happens if my car is not properly insured in New York?
If you have cancelled or failed to maintain adequate insurance coverage on a registered vehicle, the DMV can suspend the car’s registration as well as your driver’s license. You can also be ticketed and arrested and have your vehicle impounded. The DMV maintains an online database that tracks insurance coverage for vehicles registered in New York state.
Is New York a no-fault state?
Yes, New York is a no-fault state for car insurance. New York requires all drivers to have personal injury protection, which is often referred to as no-fault insurance. Under this coverage, your insurer pays for the medical bills and lost wages if you or your passengers are injured in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Do I need uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in New York?
Yes, New York requires drivers to have uninsured motorist insurance. This coverage kicks in if you or any passengers in your car are injured in an accident where the driver at fault does not have insurance. It also applies in the event of a hit-and-run accident.
Is liability insurance required in New York?
Yes, New York state requires drivers to have liability insurance. If a claim is made against you that states you were at fault in an accident, liability insurance pays those affected by the accident for their bodily injury and property damage.
Does New York accept digital insurance cards?
Yes, New York state accepts digital insurance cards. These cards can be displayed on portable electronic devices like a cell phone, and they are accepted anywhere proof of car insurance is required, including at the DMV, in court, and during traffic stops. Check with your insurer to see if they offer these digital cards.