You have to have insurance to register a vehicle and legally drive in New York. You carry a policy, and you probably assume that most other people do as well.
There are enough uninsured drivers on the road that they are a source of concern for many drivers, but the real big issue with motor vehicle insurance coverage in New York is that the law doesn’t require enough coverage.
For every driver that you might cross paths with on a New York road who doesn’t have insurance, there will be several other people who have insurance, but just not enough. The low requirements for motor vehicle liability coverage could mean that you are the one paying the costs of your injuries after a crash caused by another driver.
What does New York require from drivers?
Insurance is mandatory for those who want to drive on New York roads. Many people will just buy the lowest amount of coverage that the law requires. Their focus is on compliance, not necessarily on protecting themselves from liability or other people from losses.
If you get into a crash caused by a driver with the lowest amount of coverage possible, they might have only $10,000 in property damage coverage. It could be hard to repair a nicer vehicle for $10,000, let alone replace a totaled vehicle. When it comes to bodily injury or death, the coverage is similarly low.
If one person gets hurt, there is only $25,000 worth of bodily injury coverage. That goes up to $50,000 for two or more people who get hurt. If someone dies in a crash, there is $50,000 of death-related coverage, and that minimum amount doubles to $100,000 if two or more people die in one accident. It’s not hard to see how your medical costs could be higher than $25,000 or how years of lost wages from a spouse who dies in a crash could be well over $50,000.
What are your options when there isn’t enough insurance coverage?
When the person responsible for the crash does not have adequate liability coverage, you may have a few options available. If you have uninsured and underinsured driver coverage, you might be able to file a claim against your own policy. However, doing so will likely affect your premiums for several years.
You may also be able to bring a claim against the other driver if negligence or lawbreaking played a role in the crash that left you hurt, damaged your vehicle or claimed the life of a loved one.