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Searching for cheap auto insurance in New York is much harder than most people anticipate since there are so many providers claiming to offer the most affordable rates. Ultimately, the best fit for your budget and needs will depend on your driver profile. To help you save time (and reduce your premiums), our Geeks evaluated the insurance quotes of several top providers in The Empire State.
Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in New York
If you want the cheapest insurance rates in New York, you’ll have to compare quotes from multiple carriers. The table below outlines the results of our comparison study:
|Liberty Mutual||Safe Drivers|
|USAA||Drivers in the Military|
|Esurance||Drivers Who Pay Their Premiums Upfront|
|State Farm||Teen Drivers|
Best Car Insurance Companies in New York
Our Geeks analyzed consumer reviews and complaint data to identify and rank the best auto insurance companies in New York. Below, you’ll find a table summarizing our findings:
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in New York
In New York, drivers are required to carry auto insurance coverage that meets these minimum limits:
- Coverage For Bodily Injuries To One Individual: $25,000
- Coverage For Bodily Injuries Per Wreck: $50,000
- Coverage For Property Damage: $10,000
- Personal Injury Protection Per Collision: $50,000
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) Coverage Per Person: $25,000
- UMBI Coverage Per Accident: $50,000
Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in New York
New York’s strict minimum liability insurance laws are enforced with an iron hand. If you let your coverage lapse for any reason, or you’re nabbed on the road driving without insurance, you could face a long list of penalties that will jeopardize your permanent driving record and put immense strain with your finances.
By law, insurers are required to notify the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles when your vehicle’s insurance ends. Unless you took steps to surrender your license plates and turn in your registration before your coverage was canceled, your registration will be suspended and you could be strapped with an escalating series of daily fees until you have handed over your plates to the Department. These fees are calculated based on how long you have not had insurance.
For example, for each day within the first 30 days you are uninsured, you will owe the Department $8. For the next 30 days, that daily amount jumps up to $10. And for the final 30 days, you will have to fork over a further $12 for each day you’re late surrendering plates.
If, after 90 days, you still haven’t surrendered your plates, your license will also be suspended. Reinstating your license will cost an additional $50 on top of the $900 in late fees you accumulated beforehand.
However, these penalties pale in comparison to those faced by drivers who are caught driving without insurance in New York. If you are nabbed on the road, you could face the following penalties:
- $150 to $1,500 in fines;
- Up to 15 days in jail;
- License suspension or revocation; and
- A civil penalty totaling $750.
Unlike most other states, if your license is suspended, you will have to wait until the suspension period has ended before your can return to the road.
New York Car Insurance FAQs
Will My New York Car Insurance Company Increase My Rates After a Collision That Someone Else Caused?
Probably. If you were involved in a collision that another driver caused, it is still likely that your car insurance provider will increase your rates. This is because liability (fault) is often unclear since it is common for multiple drivers to share fault in a collision.
What Are Some Common Reasons Why Auto Insurance Companies Increase Premiums?
Most drivers would jump at the chance to save on car insurance. Besides asking your provider about discounts, you may be able to cut your monthly premiums by avoiding scenarios when your insurer would increase your monthly rates. Examples include:
- You were involved in an accident;
- You were found guilty of driving under the influence;
- You were cited for a traffic offense;
- You purchased a car with a higher claim rate or more horsepower;
- You changed your residence; or
- You’re adding another driver to your policy.
What Is The Most Important Step to Take Following a Collision?
The most critical step after a wreck is to seek medical help for yourself and anyone else who was injured. If you were not injured, be sure to exchange contact and insurance information with all drivers involved, record the contact details of eyewitnesses, and take pictures of the scene. But don’t forget that your number-one concern should be your safety and the safety of others.
What Are Some Important New York Traffic Laws?
New York Driving While Intoxicated Laws
With New York’s advanced network of public transport systems, there is no excuse for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But in the decade between 2003 and 2012, more than 3,700 people were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers in the state.
Consuming alcohol can impact your coordination, reduce concentration, limit vision, slow reaction times, and impair judgment. All of these negatives add up to a 400% increased risk of death in an accident if you get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
In New York, most drivers must adhere to a strict 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. However, drivers under age 21 will be penalized for testing at or over 0.02%, while commercial drivers must stay below a 0.04% limit.
If you are stopped and test over the limit, you could face the following penalties based on your age, BAC, and other factors:
- License suspended for 3 to 18 months;
- $300 to $5,000 fines;
- $750 in assessment fees over three years as part of obligations to complete New York’s Driver Responsibility Program;
- Up to 4 years behind bars; and
- Compulsory attendance of the state’s Drinking Driver Program.
Warning: If you are caught committing serious traffic violations while intoxicated or tests reveal traceable amounts of any banned substances in your system, you could face even harsher penalties.
New York Car Safety Seat Laws
A restraint system can protect your child in an accident, preventing ejection and absorbing the shock of impact forces. By law, children under age 4 must always travel in an appropriate child safety seat traveling on the road. Up until the age of 8, your child should be seated in a child restraint system such as a booster seat. After that, you must ensure that your child is buckled up at all times while on the road.
When buying a restraint system, ensure that your child meets the size and height requirements for a particular model. You should never install your booster or safety seat in the front seat(s) of your vehicle. The center rear seat is the safest part of your car because it’s situated a safe distance from the most common points of impact in a crash.
New York Distracted Driving Laws
According to recent estimates, around 20% of accidents in New York are caused by distracted or inattentive drivers, reports the NY DMV. Distracted driving activities can include, but are not limited to:
- Texting or talking on a smartphone without a hands-free kit;
- Adjusting seats;
- Browsing websites, watching videos, or checking social media;
- Apply makeup; or
- Talking to passengers.
Using your cellphone while driving is prohibited by the state. If you are caught violating these laws, you will have to pay fines of up to $150. You will also receive points on your license, putting you at risk of a license suspension or revocation.
However, drivers can use some electronic devices, namely electronic components that are built into the vehicle such as GPS and music playback systems.
New York’s License Points System
Every time you are caught committing a moving violation (basically, any ticketed infraction while your vehicle is in motion), this offense will be recorded on your driving record and you could receive points on your license. The total points you receive will depend on the nature of your violation. For example, speeding 10mph over the posted speed limit, will only result in a couple points at most. But if you are caught driving recklessly, you may receive 5 points.
If you accumulate 11 or more points in 18 months, your license may be suspended or revoked. In New York, there is no way to circumvent this suspension, which means you won’t be able to drive until the stipulated suspension period has elapsed.
Demerits for a given offense are removed 18 months after you first committed the violation. Completing state-approved driver safety class will reduce your points total by 4.
How Do I File an Auto Insurance Claim in New York?
Your provider will guide you through the process of filing a claim. However, it’s important to include the following information when making your case:
- A copy of the official police accident report;
- Photographs taken at the scene of the crash documenting property damage, injuries, road signs, and more;
- Contact details of witnesses and witness statements;
- Names, contact details, and insurance information of the other parties involved in the accident;
- A medical report showing injuries sustained, treatment costs, and recovery time;
- A typed copy of your version of events; and
- Any additional information that may help prove fault.
Does My Occupation or Education Affect My Auto Insurance Rates in New York?
No. Unlike most other states, insurers in New York can no longer increase drivers’ rates based on their education level or occupation. While statistics show that there are higher accident risks associated with certain job fields, lawmakers in the state have argued that this practice penalizes certain drivers based on factors unrelated to an individual’s driving ability.
However, insurers will still consider the following when determining your rates:
- Driving and accident history;
- Make, model, and age of your car;
- How often you drive;
- Your mileage; and
- Your credit history.
While these factors play a major role in calculating your rates, adjusting your deductible can help you strike a balance between saving money and netting yourself better financial protection. A deductible represents the amount you will have to pay to cover loss, such as repairs to your vehicle, before the relevant features of your policy kicks in to cover the rest. A high deductible will help you reduce your rates but will leave you exposed to financial loss in a crash. A low deductible will spike your rates but will buy you peace of mind that your expenses will be taken care of in an accident.
How Can I Reduce My Insurance Rates in New York?
Insuring your vehicle can be an expensive, but necessary, undertaking. However, there are still several ways to save money on your monthly, quarterly or annual premiums. Providers prefer insuring safe drivers as these motorists are far less likely to be involved in a serious accident. Check with your provider to see if they offer discounts for taking any of the following steps:
- Avoiding accidents for a few years;
- Completing a driving safety course; or
- Investing in a vehicle that is cheaper to insure such as a car equipped with advanced safety features.
What Is Comprehensive Coverage?
Collision coverage will reimburse you for any damage sustained by your vehicle in a collision with another vehicle or object. But sometimes, your car may be damaged by forces completely out of your control, such as a raging wildfire, fierce storm, or violent protest. Comprehensive coverage is a policy feature that will reimburse you for damage caused by so-called “acts of God”. If you’re financing or leasing a vehicle, this feature is mandatory. But you may want to purchase comprehensive coverage if you live or drive in parts of the U.S. that experience frequent natural disasters.