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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 it illegal to drive without insurance in New York?
It is illegal to drive in New York without valid auto insurance. 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 involved in an accident or a traffic infraction and are found to be driving uninsured, you could face serious penalties, including fines, jail time or a suspended license. If you cause an accident without insurance, you will be responsible for paying for the damage out of pocket in addition to legal fees and penalties.
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:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability
- $10,000 per accident for property damage liability
Additionally, New York drivers must also have $50,000 for personal injury protection (PIP), as well as:
- $25,000 per person for underinsured/uninsured motorist bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for underinsured/uninsured motorist bodily injury
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 anywhere up to $1,500 per incident. The severity of the fine will likely boil down to past offenses and whether you have a history of driving without car insurance.
For those who have their license or registration revoked for driving without insurance, an additional fine of at least $500 and up to 180 days of imprisonment may be assessed if they continue to drive.
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.
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 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 damages, 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. You may also face the consequences of driving without insurance like license suspension, fine and car impoundment.
The average cost of car insurance in New York is $3,139 per year for full coverage and $1,371 per year for minimum coverage. This is well above the national average. Americans, on average, pay $2,014 annually for full coverage and $622 annually for minimum coverage. Actual rates tend to vary among drivers based on several personal variables such as age, driving record, vehicle type, location and more.
The best car insurance company for you may not be the best car insurance company for everyone else. Rates vary based on personal factors, such as age, ZIP code, driving history, vehicle make and model and more. Experts recommend shopping around and obtaining quotes from several companies to find the best one for you. When asking for quotes, make sure to specify the same types and limits of coverage, or the comparisons may not be valid.