New York Car Insurance Requirements

New York car insurance requirements

Driving Statistics for the Empire State

New York is the 4th largest state by population and ranks in the middle of the pack when measured by land area (27th). Often referred to as one of the largest cities in the world, with a great public transit system. Which is why, it comes as no surprise that New York ranks as one of the safest states in the U.S.

Year: 2018 Statistics (totals)
Miles Driven (millions) 123,510
Fatal Crashes 889
Deaths 943

Fatality Facts 2018 State by State

New York Car Insurance Requirements

The Empire State protects New Yorkers by requiring all drivers to carry a bare minimum amount of insurance when operating a vehicle.

Bodily Injury (BI): $25,000 for BI / $50,000 for death per person per accident.

$50,000 for BI / $100,000 for death per 2 or more people per accident.

Coverage for expenses related to the injury of people due to an accident.

Property Damage (PD): $10,000 per accident.

Coverage for damage to other people’s property.

Unique Driving Laws

New York is equipped with several driving laws that help keep it in the running for one of the safest driving states in the U.S. Below are a few to take note of when visiting or living in the Empire State.

  • Many states allow right turns on red lights. New York is not one of them. Make sure you simply wait for the light to change in the Empire State, before making your turn.
  • Parking is tough in New York. That said, make sure you remain at least 15 feet away from fire hydrants and crosswalks.
  • Note that some areas in New York do not allow left turns during certain hours.
  • If no speed limit is posted in an area, the maximum speed limit is 55 mph.
  • Parking on a bridge is prohibited.
  • It’s illegal to breach the speed limit while passing another vehicle.
  • Drivers must use the appropriate turn signal at least 100 feet prior to making the intended turn. If the vehicle’s signals do not work, the driver must use appropriate hand signals.

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New York Teen Driving

Given the Empire State has so many drivers, its licensing process actually differs by region. The city has one set of parameters, then Upstate and Nassau/Suffolk counties have their own.

  • When teens turn 16, they can apply for a learner’s permit. They must be accompanied by their parent, pass a vision test, and if they haven’t completed a driver’s education course, they will need to complete a written knowledge test as well. While driving with a learner’s permit, drivers:
    • Can only operate a vehicle while under the immediate supervision of an Approved License Holder (criteria are different for each region of New York) in the front seat.
    • Are required to practice driving for at least 50 hours, including 15 at night, with a licensed parent, guardian or instructor.
  • Teens that have held a learner’s permit for at least 6 months, completed a pre-licensing course, and 50 hours of practice driving, are able to apply for a junior driver’s license. Junior driver’s license holders:
    • May not drive in New York City.
    • May not drive with more than one passenger under 21 years of age that is not related to them.
    • In Upstate, may not drive between 9pm and 5am, and in Nassau/Suffolk counties, can drive unsupervised to/from work and driver education.
  • At 17 years of age, teens that have their junior driver’s license and have completed a driver education course are eligible for their full unrestricted license. Once teens turn 18, if they have their junior’s driver’s license, they will automatically receive their full unrestricted license in the mail.

Top Insurance Carriers in New York Region

  • USAA (5 out of 5 stars)
  • New York Central Mutual (5 out of 5 stars)
  • State Farm (4 out of 5 stars)
  • Travelers (4 out of 5 stars)
  • MetLife (4 out of 5 stars)

Auto Insurance Satisfaction J.D Power Finds

Average Insurance Expenditure* for New York

Although New York is one of the safest states in terms of driving, New Yorkers pay the 3rd most in the country in terms of auto insurance. On average drivers in the Empire State pay nearly 40% more than the U.S. average.

New York: $1,302

USA: $936

*Defined as annual cost of insurance regardless of mix of coverage (liability, comprehensive, collision)

Insurance Information Institute

Often Overlooked Discounts for New York Car Insurance

Given New Yorkers’ unusually high auto insurance costs, drivers will need all the discounts they can get. Below are a few you should consider.

  • Multi-Policy: bundle your auto and homeowners’ policies with the same insurer and receive a discount.
  • Combat Auto Theft Program (CAT): some insurers provide discounts for drivers that participate in the CAT Program. A program whereby vehicles that display an official decal can be stopped without cause between 1am and 5am, the prime vehicle theft period.
  • Careful Driver: drive without a major incident in years and receive a discount.
  • Telematics: carriers will often provide discounts for those drivers that participate in their telematics/usage-based insurance (UBI) programs. Note that the respective discounts will be based on certain driving statistics particular to your vehicle.
  • Safety Technology: if your car is equipped with any safety/collision avoidance systems such as a backup camera or lane assist, you may qualify for discounts.


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