New York is a no-fault state which means that if you are injured in an accident that you would place a claim against your own insurance through your no-fault benefits. Yes, there is a minimum amount of no-fault insurance as well as Liability insurance that you must purchase as part of a personal passenger auto insurance policy.
As the New York Insurance Department notes, New York State law requires that motorists carry a minimum amount of Liability insurance of $25,000 for Bodily Injury to one person, $50,000 for Bodily Injury to all persons, and $10,000 for Property Damage in any one accident. This is referred to as 25/50/10 coverage.
Mandatory "no-fault" coverage of $50,000 is also required. Many motorists carry higher Liability limits and additional Personal Injury Protection beyond these minimum benefits required by law.
What is termed no-fault insurance is really Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and is there to pay medical expenses and lost earnings for a driver or passenger injured in, or a pedestrian injured by, your car. PIP is designed to pay promptly regardless of who might have been at fault or whether there was any negligence, for economic losses (meaning medical/health expenses, lost earnings, and certain other reasonable and necessary expenses related to injuries sustained), up to $50,000 per person (if you have only basic No-Fault coverage), to the driver and all passengers injured in your car as well as any pedestrians injured by your car, because of its use or operation in New York State.
Because of New York's No-Fault law, lawsuits due to auto accidents can be brought only for economic losses that exceed No-Fault benefits and for non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) only if a "serious injury" (as defined in the Insurance Law) is sustained.
Basic No-Fault auto insurance coverage includes:
- reasonable and necessary accident related medical and rehabilitation expenses (in accordance with established fee schedules);
- 80% of lost earnings from work, up to a maximum payment of $2,000 per month for up to three years from the date of the accident; subject to statutory offsets for New York State disability, Worker's Compensation and Federal Social Security disability benefits.
- up to $25 a day, for up to a year from the date of the accident, to reimburse other reasonable and necessary expenses, (e.g., household help, and transportation expenses to/from medical treatment) resulting from the auto accident; and
- a $2,000 death benefit (in addition to the $50,000 basic No-Fault limit), payable to the estate of a person eligible for No-Fault benefits who is killed in a motor vehicle accident.
However, under most insurance policies, a person will be ineligible for No-Fault benefits, if:
- driving while intoxicated or impaired by use of a drug that contributes to the accident;
- intentionally causing his or her own injuries;
- riding an all terrain vehicle (ATV) or a motorcycle as operator or passenger (a pedestrian struck by a motorcycle or ATV is covered);
- injured while committing a felony;
- injured while in a vehicle known to be stolen; or
- an owner of an uninsured vehicle.
For a modest additional premium, optional coverages are available that will pay more than the required basic No-Fault benefits. You may purchase Additional PIP coverage, to raise the overall limit of No-Fault benefits available in case of an accident up to $100,000 or higher and, in the process, increase the potential maximum amounts of lost earnings payments, other necessary expenses or the death benefit, depending on the limit you select.
Additional PIP also includes coverage for you and your family and, unlike basic No-Fault, extends to all out-of-state guest occupants in your car when driving anywhere in the United States, its territories and possessions, or Canada. For a minimal charge, you may also purchase additional PIP solely to cover such guest occupants, without increasing the overall limit of No-Fault benefits.
Insurers in NYS must offer Optional Basic Economic Loss (OBEL) coverage. If purchased, this coverage elevates the required $50,000 of basic economic loss PIP coverage by an additional $25,000. When the basic limit of $50,000 has been reached on a claim, this $25,000 can be designated by the injured person to be applied specifically to payments for loss of earnings from work (wage loss), for rehabilitation, or to all elements of basic economic loss.
So the maximum that your no-fault (PIP) insurance will pay out in New York depends upon your policy and the coverages you have chosen. If you have a basic no-fault policy than your maximum payout would be $50,000 if you choose higher limits you can have $100,000 or more in PIP benefits.
If you want to shop around for New York State auto insurance rates you can click here for instant car insurance quotes. If you already have a NYS auto insurance policy in place you can speak to your agent about your coverages and limits. You can also contact the NYS Insurance Department, the insurance regulator for the state, for more consumer information.