Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage in New York

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  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage in New York

Whether you’re making the trek from the Hudson Valley into the Big Apple, embarking on a beach day adventure in the Hamptons, or going about your daily life up in Albany, all drivers in the Empire State must ensure they have an active and adequate policy each time they get behind the wheel.

New Yorkers are legally required to have a minimum limit of uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI/UIMBI) per person and accident on their policies. Let’s look at how much of the coverage residents need, how the coverage protects policyholders, and how you can tailor your New York auto insurance policy to meet the needs of your lifestyle and the law. 

What Is New York Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Those with New York State car insurance must have a minimum limit of uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMIB/UIMBI) per person and accident on their policies. Those who fail to carry at least the minimum limit of this coverage are considered uninsured under the eyes of the law.

New York car insurance requirements state all drivers must have at least $25,000 in UMBI/UIMBI per person, $50,000 in UMBI/UIMBI per accident (25/50 UMBI/UIMBI coverage), $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, $10,000 in property damage liability per accident (25/50/10 liability coverage), and at least $50,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) per person. Those who finance or lease their vehicles may be required to carry comprehensive and collision coverages as part of their legally binding contract.

Some states lump UMBI/UIMBI in with uninsured and underinsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD/UIMPD), but New York separates these coverages. States that combine UMBI/UIMBI and UMPD/UIMPD will typically call the coverage uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage or UM/UIM coverage. Some states may even separate uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages and only require residents to have UM. Still, the Empire State requires drivers to carry coverage for both uninsured and underinsured drivers. 

UMBI/UIMBI helps protect drivers from those who get behind the wheel without an active or adequate policy. Should the policyholder get into an accident caused by an uninsured driver, their UMBI will help them cover their medical expenses up to their policy limit.

UIMBI helps protect policyholders should they get into an accident caused by someone with a minimum coverage policy. After the policyholder uses the at-fault party’s liability coverage, they can use their own UIMBI coverage to help them pay for the remainder of their medical expenses. UIMBI doesn’t help the policyholder cover expenses incurred in an accident with someone with a legally insufficient policy, but rather someone whose coverage limits are too low to cover the policyholder’s expenses.

What’s the New York Uninsured Motorist Law?

The New York uninsured motorist law states that drivers must carry at least 25/50 UMBI/UIMBI coverage on their policies at all times, and those who don’t have an active or adequate policy are considered uninsured. Maintaining a legally adequate policy in the Empire State is necessary and wise.

Driving without sufficient coverage in New York is illegal and punishable by several legal consequences, including fines, fees, license and registration suspension, or even jail time. Those with their license or registration revoked because they failed to maintain sufficient coverage may require SR-22 insurance or high-risk insurance for a few years. High-risk drivers generally pay double or triple the average cost of premiums in the state.

In New York, the average full coverage premium costs about $2,340 annually, or about 30% more than the national average of $1,670 annually. While forgoing insurance may save you a chunk of change in the short term, it’s generally cheaper to pay the annual premiums on a policy than risk financial ruin in the worst-case accident scenario without coverage. 

The law in New York for the uninsured motorist statute of limitations states that drivers who wish to recover their UMBI/UIMBI benefits must file a claim within 30 days of the accident. Those who fail to make a claim in this window may be unable to use the full amount of their coverage.

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Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Required in New York?

Drivers aren’t required to have uninsured motorist property damage on New York auto insurance policies but must have some UMBI/UIMBI coverage. The minimum UMBI/UIMBI limit in the state is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. 

While the cheapest policy in the state may be a minimum coverage policy, such a policy may offer drivers little protection. To better ensure your safety behind the wheel, we recommend binding a full coverage policy that exceeds the legal coverage limits rather than a policy that just meets them. Even though a full coverage policy is generally more expensive than a minimum coverage one, many of the top insurers in the state offer rates below the state average and various discounts policyholders can stack to reduce their premiums further. 

Is UIM Coverage Required in New York?

In New York, underinsured motorist coverage is required, but only the bodily injury portion of the coverage. All New Yorkers with vehicles registered in the state must have at least 25/50 UMBI/UIMBI on their auto insurance policies. 

The term “underinsured motorist” can get a bit confusing, so let’s clear the air. An underinsured motorist isn’t someone who has some coverage but fails to meet the state’s minimum legal requirements. In the eyes of the law, someone with insufficient coverage is still considered uninsured. An underinsured motorist is, instead, an at-fault driver with a policy whose coverage limits fail to cover the total cost of an accident victim’s bills. 

For example, suppose someone with a minimum coverage policy causes an accident with a driver with a full coverage policy. The accident victim will first use their PIP to cover their medical expenses, as New York is a no-fault state instead of a tort state. However, once the victim runs out of their PIP coverage, they will likely use the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. If the victim still has bills to pay after exhausting their PIP and the at-fault driver’s liability coverage, they will likely use their UIMBI to cover the remainder of their costs.

How To Find a Car Insurance Quote in New York

All New Yorkers must have an active and adequate car insurance policy, including the legally required minimum of UMBI/UIMBI coverage when they get behind the wheel. Whether you’re searching for the best deal on a policy with the minimum limits of UMBI/UIMBI, a full coverage policy with UM/UIM coverage that includes UMPD/UIMPD, or are just curious about what’s out there, your best bet is to get and compare quotes online. By getting and comparing quotes from several insurers, drivers can tailor their policies to meet their needs and budget.

Lucky for you, you’ve landed in the right place for quotes. Here at Clovered, we have a free quoting tool you can use to get unique quotes from several insurers in minutes. If you’d rather chat with a professional, one of our licensed agents will be happy to help you at 833-255-4117 or agent@clovered.com.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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