Driving without insurance in New York is not only illegal but also puts you at greater financial risk. While the cost of car insurance may seem like a lot, driving without insurance could end up being even more expensive — especially if you’re involved in an accident. If caught while driving uninsured in NY, first offenses generally result in fines, and repeat offenders may face jail time.

Is driving without insurance in New York illegal?

In NY, driving with no insurance is illegal. The state of New York requires drivers to maintain a minimum level of auto insurance to drive on public roads. This requirement is in place to financially protect yourself and others from the high potential costs of accidents and other incidents.

If you are caught driving with no insurance in New York, you could face serious penalties, including fines, jail time or a suspended license. If you cause an accident without insurance, you will likely be responsible for paying for the damage out of pocket in addition to legal fees and penalties.

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Minimum insurance required in New York

New York state law requires all drivers to have a 25/50/10 policy. This means that each driver must have the following minimum coverage:

Additionally, New York drivers must also have $50,000 for personal injury protection (PIP), as well as:

Penalties for driving without car insurance in New York

Following are a few potential penalties for driving without car insurance in the Empire State:

Fines and jail time

It is possible you could be fined each time you drive without car insurance or let someone else drive your car. The fine for this could be up to $1,500 per incident. The severity of the fine will likely boil down to if you have past offenses, whether you have a history of driving without car insurance and if you’re involved in a car accident.

For those who have their license or registration revoked for driving without insurance, an additional fine of at least $200 to $500 and up to 180 days of imprisonment may be assessed if they continue to drive.

Car impound

You may be arrested and your car may be impounded if you get caught driving without insurance. If it is, you could expect to pay both a storage and towing fee. Fees usually must be paid prior to retrieving your car.

Learn more: How to get your car out of impound without insurance

Revoked driver’s license and registration

To reinstate your driver’s license in New York after getting a ticket for no insurance, you may have to pay a $750 fee. Vehicle registration suspension may have additional fees. Generally, a vehicle registration suspension can last the same length of time as your vehicle was uninsured yet retained its plates.

A lapsed insurance policy may also amount to your license and vehicle registration getting revoked for at least one year.

Getting into an accident without insurance in NY

In New York, getting into an accident while driving without insurance can be expensive. Depending on who’s at fault, you may face several fines, possible license and registration suspension and jail time.

If you caused the accident, you could be responsible for the other driver’s medical bills and vehicle repairs out of pocket. This is on top of potentially paying to repair your own vehicle and cover your own medical bills, as well as those of your passengers.

If you are not at fault for the accident, you are unlikely to get stuck paying for the other driver’s injuries or damage, but you are likely to still face steep fines.

Frequently asked questions

    • Providing false insurance information is considered a form of insurance fraud under New York law. So, if you lie about your insurance after a traffic incident, on an insurance application or at any other time, you may be subject to jail time and fines up to $1,000. The exact fine amounts and penalties depend on the type of fraud and your driving history. You may also face the consequences of driving without insurance like license suspension, fines and vehicle impoundment. Plus, you could find it difficult to get insurance in the future since car insurance companies might be unwilling to cover you.
    • The average cost of car insurance in New York is $3,751 per year for full coverage and $1,605 per year for minimum coverage. This is well above the national average. Americans, on average, pay $2,314 annually for full coverage and $644 annually for minimum coverage. However, individual rates tend to vary among drivers based on several personal variables, such as age, driving record, vehicle type, location and more.
    • There’s no single best car insurance company since insurance is so personalized. What you’re looking for in an insurance company — like low rates, great customer service or local offices — might be different from what someone else values in an insurer. To find the best car insurance company for you, consider your insurance priorities. Once you know what you’re looking for, request quotes from several companies. Specify the same coverage types and policy limits so you can do an even comparison and don’t forget to check for eligible discounts.