Minimum Insurance Requirements
Even though New York is a “no-fault” jurisdiction when it comes to automobile accidents, all drivers and car owners in the state are required to carry insurance. All drivers must have a $50,000 no-fault policy, which will pay for your damages if you are involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. In addition, you must have uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident, in case you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance.
Finally, all drivers must have a minimum coverage of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for bodily injury, $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident for death, and $10,000 per accident for property damage.
It is perfectly legal to operate a vehicle in New York if you have the minimum insurance coverage specified above, but is it wise?
What is Not Covered By the No-Fault Law
New York’s no-fault auto accident law is designed to make claims easier for most accidents. When an accident only involves property damage or the injuries are minor, the minimum coverage should be sufficient to cover the expenses. However, the minimum coverage may not be enough in these particular circumstances:
- Accidents involving motorcycles. Motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles for purposes of the no-fault laws. In an accident involving a motorcycle, an injured person may sue for personal injury damages that fall below the threshold of “serious injuries” for other accidents. Even a non-serious injury claim may exceed the $50,000 minimum required coverage.
- Serious injuries. Claims for serious or permanent injuries are not covered by the no-fault law. If you only carry the minimum amount of insurance, you could be personally liable for any damages above that amount. If a person is permanently injured, the claim can easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Pain and suffering. An injured person may still sue a negligent driver for pain and suffering. This type of damage is often far greater than the monetary damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and property.
- Uninsured motorists. If you are injured in an accident with a driver who has no insurance, or whose insurance is inadequate, you may make a claim from your own insurance company. The minimum uninsured motorist coverage will not compensate you if you suffer any serious or permanent injury
Seek Professional Advice
Talk to your insurance agent about the best insurance plan for your needs. If you have been injured in an accident, talk to a New York accident attorney right away to learn about your rights and options. No-fault accident claims must be filed within 30 days, so do not delay. Attorneys at The O’Brien Firm are available for free consultations 24/7. Call us at (716) 907-7777