According to state law, vehicle owners in New York must maintain established minimum levels of car insurance coverage on every vehicle that is registered and operated in the state. In addition, New York is a “no-fault” automotive insurance state, which means that if you get any injury in a car accident, your options for submitting a claim have a limit. Continue reading to learn more about New York’s no-fault auto insurance system, as well as the state’s minimum car insurance coverage requirements. In New York, no-fault car insurance is available.
New York is among a dozen states that use a “no-fault” automobile insurance system in some form or another. After a car accident, your automobile insurance coverage (particularly, your “personal injury protection” or “medical benefits” coverage), regardless of who caused the accident, pays for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses incurred by anyone insured under the policy, subject to coverage limitations. If you file a no-fault claim, you will not get reimbursement for your “pain and suffering” or any non-monetary damages resulting from the accident.
To pursue a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault motorist, your injuries must reach certain state-defined thresholds (we’ll look at New York’s “serious injury” requirement in the next section).
It’s worth noting that New York’s no-fault car insurance system only covers injuries caused by car accidents, not vehicle damage. In New York, you can sue the at-fault driver for car damage (or entire loss).
In New York, what constitutes a “serious injury”?
As previously said, to pursue a claim against the person who caused your automobile accident outside of New York’s no-fault car insurance system, the injuries you sustained must meet the state’s “severe” injury threshold. That means you’ve encountered any of the following as a result of the vehicle accident:
- A considerable change in appearance
- A bone breakage/fracture
- A permanent restriction on the use of a body organ or a body member
- A significant limitation in the ability to employ a body function or system
- 90 days of substantial complete disability
You are not confined to a no-fault claim under your coverage if your injuries meet this criterion. You can sue the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a third-party claim. They can also be sued for non-economic damages like pain and suffering (which are not recoverable in a no-fault claim).
Let’s take a look at the state’s requirements for various types of automobile insurance coverage now that you know how no-fault car insurance works in New York.
New York’s Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Requirements
New York requires that the owner of a motor vehicle maintain at least the following levels of insurance coverage:
- $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability insurance (when you cause a car accident)
- $50,000 in total bodily injury liability coverage for any accident you cause (regardless of how many people got an injury)
- Property damage liability coverage of $10,000 (per accident you cause)
- $50,000 in no-fault coverage (personal injury protection), plus
- Uninsured motorist coverage (for physical injury caused by someone else) is subject to the same minimums.
Remember that if you’re judged to blame for a car accident, your damages will surpass your insurance policy’s limitations. If you just meet New York’s minimal coverage standards, you may be financially liable for the shortfall.