Many different types of car insurance are required to drive in New York. Here we explain minimum New York car insurance requirements, how to buy the best coverage for your needs and how NY car insurance laws work. You can also find out what the cheap car insurance in New York will cost compared to full coverage, what the average rates are for your area and how to get car insurance discounts.
When shopping for car insurance, use our average car insurance rates tool to compare rates. Enter a ZIP code to see the average premium for your neighborhood. You will also see the highest and lowest rates from the six major carriers surveyed to get an idea of what the most affordable car insurance price is in your area.
The average car insurance rate in New York is $1,542 a year. The severity and frequency of claims in your neighborhood, your driving record, the type of car you drive and other variables are used by insurance companies to figure out the cost of your policy. That’s why the price for the same coverage can vary significantly among insurance companies — and why you should compare rates. For example, you could pay $7,000 more for the same policy in Brooklyn ZIP code 11226 if you don’t shop around. Here’s why: the highest rate among six carriers is $9,054, the lowest is $2,031.
Cheap car insurance in New York
New York car insurance requirements
State law requires the following coverages:
Minimum bodily injury liability
Minimum property damage liability
Uninsured motorist bodily injury
Personal injury protection (PIP)
If you opt to buy the cheapest car insurance policy possible, buy the least amount of coverage you need to drive, as explained below:
Drivers must have minimum liability coveragelimits of 25/50/10 under New York car insurance laws. This coverage pays for others’ injuries and damage to other drivers’ cars when you cause an accident.
Personal injury protection (PIP) is also required. It covers you, your passengers and other authorized drivers of your car who are injured while in your car. PIP also covers you and your family members if you are injured while riding in someone else's car or if struck by another vehicle while on foot. PIP is sometimes called “no-fault insurance” because it kicks in regardless of who is at fault. You must have $50,000 in coverage.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury covers medical expenses for you and your passengers if injured when hit by a driver with no insurance. You must have 25/50 coverage. This means your insurer pays up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 in total if there are two or more people injured.
It does cost more to buy more protection, but as you’ll see in the chart below, additional coverage is typically affordable. Increasing your insurance from the state minimum to full coverage with a $1,000 deductible costs, on average, $834 more, or $70 a month.
Average annual rate
Liability Only – state minimum
Liability Only - 50/100/50 BI/PD
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $1,000 Comp/Collision deductible
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $500 Comp/Collision deductible
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $250 Comp/Collision deductible
*The table shows the average annual rate of 10 ZIP codes in the state from the following carriers, in no particular order: Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, GEICO and Farmers. Data was provided for CarInsurance.com by Quadrant Information Services.
Recommended car insurance coverage
Drivers who buy the cheapest car insurance in New York may be taking a big gamble. If you get into an accident, your assets are at risk if you have basic car insurance. Even a minor incident can cost much more than what your minimal insurance will pay out. For instance, say you have New York’s minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage and $10,000 in property damage. Then you cause a crash that totals the other driver’s car, valued at $25,000. It also results in $45,000 of medical expenses for his injuries. You’re responsible for damages not covered by insurance. That means you have to pay $20,000 out-of-pocket for medical bills and $15,000 for the damaged car – a total of $35,000.
We recommend you buy more insurance than is required to legally drive a car in your state, especially if you have savings and assets. The more money you have, the more likely you are to be sued following a car accident should your insurance be insufficient to cover all the expenses. If your net worth is:
less than $50,000, choose at least 50/100/50
between $50,000 and $100,000, choose at least 100/300/100
more than $100,000, choose at least 250/500/100
If you're leasing or financing your car, you must get coverage of 100/300/100 or higher.
Collision and comprehensive
These are optional coverages and fairly affordable to add to a policy. Collision coverage pays for damage to your car after an accident that you cause. Comprehensive insurance pays to replace stolen cars and for damages from vandalism, flooding, hail, fire and animal strikes. New York drivers pay an average of $355 a year for collision and $156 for comprehensive.If your car is:
less than 10 years old, you should strongly consider buying collision and comprehensive.
more than 10 years old, only buy collision and comprehensive if your car is worth $3,000 or more, if you couldn’t afford to replace your car if it’s wrecked, or if you just want more protection on your policy.
These coverages are required in New York and should match the liability limits you choose. Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage pays for damages if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance or a driver with coverage that’s insufficient to pay for your repairs and medical expenses.
Medical coverage (MedPay)
Medical payments coverage can help pay for the medical or funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident, regardless of fault, up to $25,000. MedPay is optional in New York and not a must-have coverage, because your PIP protection takes care of the same expenses as MedPay. However, one benefit of MedPay is that there is no deductible and it can help defray health insurance costs. MedPay does the following:
Covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses
Pays for expenses after health insurance limits are exceeded
Offers additional protection to insured drivers who are hit by a car while walking or biking
If you and your passengers:
Don’t have health insurance, or have a plan that doesn’t cover car accidents or has low limits, we recommend that you add medical coverage of at least $5,000 to your car insurance policy.
Do have health insurance, it’s still a good idea to have medical coverage if you want the best protection in your policy, as it can pay out after your health benefits are maxed out.
If you don’t own your car outright and have an accident, gap insurance pays the difference between the cash value of your car and the current outstanding balance on your loan or lease.
If you’re financing your car, your car is less than one year old and you’ve put less than 20 percent down on it, you should buy gap insurance. If not, you don’t need gap insurance.
If you’re leasing your car, it’s a good idea to buy gap insurance if you aren’t already required to in your lease agreement.
If you own your car outright, you don’t need gap insurance.
Car insurance companies in New York
Scores are based on Insure.com’s “Best Insurance Companies” customer review survey of 3,700 customers. Companies not in the top 10 of market share do not qualify. All scores are out of 100.
Best car insurance companies in New York
Best customer service:
USAA -- 100
Allstate – 91.8
Travelers – 90.6
Nationwide – 90.4
Best claims service:
USAA – 100
Travelers – 97.5
Liberty Mutual – 96
Geico – 93.9
Progressive – 92.5
Best value for the price:
USAA – 91.3
Travelers – 88.8
Progressive – 86.3
State Farm – 84.6
Naitonwide – 83.2
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Largest car insurance companies in New York
Direct premiums written
Market share %
Overall Customer Review Ranking
Allstate Mutual Insurance Group
State Farm Group
Progressive Insurance Group
Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies
NYCM Insurance Group
MetLife Auto & Home Group
Source: A.M. Best market share rankings are based on direct premiums written in 2015.
Customer review rankings based on Insure.com's 2016 "Best Insurance Companies" survey of 3,700 customers. Scores are out of 100.
New York car insurance laws and resources
"No-fault" or PIP insurance in New York
No-fault doesn't mean that no one is found at fault for an accident, but instead that someone who is injured in an accident looks first to his or her own coverage to pay for expenses. If PIP limits are exceeded, then the at-fault driver's liability coverage can kick in.
Basic no-fault PIP coverage includes:
Reasonable and necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses
80 percent of lost earnings (up to maximum of $2,000 per month for three years)
Up to $25 per day for replacement services (e.g. household help)
Death benefit of $2,000, in addition to the $50,000 in liability death coverage
Exclusion to no-fault coverages:Most New York car insurance policies say that a person may be ineligible for PIP benefits if the individual was:
Driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs and that contributed to the accident
Riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or motorcycle as driver or passenger
Intentionally causing his or her own injuries
Injured while committing a felony
Injured while in a stolen vehicle
An owner of an uninsured vehicle
New York driver point system
The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) uses a license point system to track high-risk drivers. The DMV assigns points for certain traffic violations. If you get 11 points in an 18-month period, your driver license may be suspended. Points stay on your record for 18 months. Points are counted from the date of your violation, not from the date of your conviction.
Keep in mind that car insurance companies don’t use the DMV point system when assessing your rate. However, they do review your driving record periodically, usually upon policy renewal time, and then will use their own demerit system to hike your rates based on your infractions.
The Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP)
The Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) in New York lets drivers take DMV-approved accident prevention/defensive driving classes to get a car insurance discount. You can get a 10 percent discount on the base rate of your liability and collision premium if you complete a PIRP class. The discount lasts for three years. You may also be able to take four points off your driving record.
Once you complete the class, you will receive a certificate within 45 days that proves you passed. You have to give your insurer a copy of the certificate within 90 days after completing the course to get your discount.
New York law requires insurance companies to give you a discount if your vehicle has the following safety features:
“Passive restraint” system, which means either automatic seat belts or air bags
Factory-installed anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Factory-installed daytime running lamps (DRL)
Of course, insurance companies also offer many additional discounts, even if not mandated by state law. These include good student, safe driver, low-mileage and anti-theft device discounts, among others.
If you cause a car accident, New York law says your insurer can raise your rates (known as a surcharge) only if you caused bodily injury or property damage that was more than $2,000. You can also be surcharged if you're convicted of certain traffic violations. As in any state, keeping your driving record clean will go a long way toward holding down your car insurance rates.
Uninsured motorist penalties for New York
You may have to pay $150 to $1,500 in fines and could receive a sentence of 15 days in jail. You may also have your license and registration suspended and your car impounded.
How long does an accident affect your insurance?
An accident normally remains on a New York motor vehicle record (MVR) during the year that the accident occurred and for the following three years. The accident is then removed on Jan.1 of the fourth year after the accident.
No grace period
There is no grace period allowed in New York before you renew your insurance or obtain insurance on a new car. In fact, the law requires that you mail your insurance renewal forms at least 15 days before your cancellation date.
If you are a minor, insurance companies normally require that a parent or guardian need to sign on your insurance policy since it is a legal and binding document. The New York DMV allows only ages 16 and up to apply for a title and registration.
To drive legally in New York, you must have liability insurance with at least limits of:
25 / 50 / 10
Bodily injury liability limits of $25,000 for yourself and $50,000 for all others involved in an accident, and property damage liability of $10,000. You must also carry uninsured motorist bodily injury limits of $25,000 for yourself and $50,000 for others. You also must have personal injury protection (PIP) of $50,000, which covers you, your passengers and other authorized drivers of your car who are injured while in your insured vehicle.