Driving in New York can feel like navigating a minefield, especially in the city. With demanding traffic, crazy drivers, and the ever-growing list of moving and parking violations, sometimes it feels like your only choice is either to crash or get a ticket! When you realize that highway patrol and meter maids have a quota and are actively looking for people who could be ticket-able, you begin to feel like the system is stacked against you.
It’s understandable if you feel that way. But we don’t want you to despair. We want to show you that it is still possible to get discounts on auto insurance rates and on your car insurance quotes. Better yet, is the fact that some of the techniques are absolutely certain to keep your auto quote and premiums low, when discounts apply. Well, low-er, at least.
The good news is that there are lots of ways to help keep your car insurance rates from breaking the bank. Here, we will discuss only the top five. That isn’t because the other methods won’t help. It’s because the top five auto insurance-saving methods are the best, will save you the most, and will work the fastest. Most importantly, the tips we are going to share will continue to work over time. That means they might cost you an initial investment, but they will pay off in years and years of cheaper car insurance quotes and premiums.
NY Auto Insurance Tips at a Glance
- Compare quotes
- Be violation free
- Avoid property damage
- Raise your deductible
- Consider comprehensive coverage
- Use the best components, like anti lock brakes
So before we get to our five NY car insurance hacks, we want to paint a full and honest picture of what you have to look out for out there on the road.
Your Comprehensive Guide to NY Car Insurance Discounts
The Top 5 Auto Insurance Hacks
After all of this hubbub about the inevitability of getting points on your license as a driver in New York, you should be pleased to learn that there are things you can do to take some of the pain out of being a legally insured NY driver. As stated earlier, we are listing five here. These are the best investments in time, energy, and cash that we have found. They will last. They will save you money month after month on your coverage premiums over the course of your career as a motorist. That’s about as much as you could possibly ask for on this issue.
There are still more things you can do, which we will mention briefly after the top five list. But for best results, we strongly recommend doing the top five first.
5. Drive Safely
The greatest hazard involved with driving is the thrill of power that being behind the wheel provides. Young people are especially susceptible to this, and young males are doubly susceptible. Sadly, the only cure for this problem is time and experience. This explains in a nutshell why youth, especially male youth, is the greatest factor contributing to high insurance rates.
Unfortunately, there is only one way to deal with this and it is to build a demonstrable habit of safe driving. Understand that driving is no longer a ticket to adventure. It is a portal to grave and persistent danger.
The only way to achieve cheap car insurance rates as a young man is to survive your early twenties with a clean driver’s record. Keep in mind, even if you get into an accident that is not your fault, insurance companies run on statistics, not facts. That means they are likely to treat you as if all collisions are your fault.
For this reason, the only cure is persistent and obsessive careful, slow, and defensive driving. Always assume the other drivers will do the wrong thing. Always assume someone is going to barrel through the intersection. Don’t just drive for safety, drive for the sake of keeping some of your hard-earned money!
4. Look for Deals & Discounts
We mentioned a few of the ways you can save a heck of a lot of money on auto insurance like Accident Forgiveness, Gap Insurance, Rental Reimbursement Insurance, and Roadside Assistance Coverage. These are great places to start, and they can save you a lot of money.
But you should be on the lookout for deals on a consistent basis. Check with your auto insurance company’s website at least once a month for special deals that you might qualify for. These days, loyalty rewards and promotional deals are important ways businesses of all kinds promote themselves. But these are for promotional purposes. That means the value they get out of them is in being able to advertise them, not in extending them to you unprompted.
Therefore, look for, ask for, and apply for special discounts and loyalty benefits wherever you can find them. What’s more, if your insurer doesn’t offer as many discounts and benefits as another company, let them know that it could motivate you to switch.
One piece of expert advice we have learned to trust is that the best way to go for young drivers is usually to bundle auto insurance packages. This is especially true for young drivers using their parent’s policies.
3. Consider Alternative Auto Insurance
It may interest you to learn that traditional car insurance is not the only option available. Another option worth considering is “Pay Per Mile” Insurance. With PPM, you pay rates that are based on the amount of driving you do. So if you are only going to the grocery store on the weekends or just taking short trips to and from work you won’t pay the same as people who drive for hours each day. Doesn’t that just make good sense?
Another option is Usage Based Insurance Coverage. With UBI, you will make use of a device or an app that tracks your driving behavior. The information is analyzed and fed into an algorithm that develops a fair rate based on your behavior. If you have ever taken a long personality test, then that’s a clue to how it works.
The system will watch you over time to study your driving habits. If you are a compulsive driver, that is likely to show across the range of data even if you attempt to skew the results in your favor. This is very similar to how long-form personality tests work. Actions that betray the bulk of the data and establish a pattern will carry more weight than persistent safe driving.
So, UBI may only be advisable if you are confident that your temperament is commensurate with lower rates. If you’re a hot head behind the wheel, you’re probably better off looking to PPM or traditional auto insurance coverage.
Other forms of cheap car insurance include;
Surety Bonds: Offered in certain states through a surety company
State Deposited Funds: Also allowed only in certain states, SDFs show that the insured has deposited the minimum allowable amount to meet the legal requirement
Certificates of Self-Insurance: Usually only available to drivers who own a pool of vehicles, 25 or more in some cases
2. Seek Legal Representation
For much of the information in this article we have leaned heavily on the expertise of traffic law attorney, Arthur Pressman. Because getting points on your driving record is all but an inevitability in New York, it stands to reason that legal representation is sometimes a necessity. If and when it is the case that you are being punished for something that is not your fault or that could not have been avoided, a New York traffic law attorney can be your best bet.
These professionals can often reduce the amount you will pay on a traffic ticket. They can help you avoid having to attend driving school, which will save you valuable time and money. Finally, when an attorney successfully negotiates a reduction in charges or penalties, the result will often be a reduction in the increases to your auto insurance rates.
It’s not a perfect solution, especially if you’re a good driver with poor luck. But it is definitely better than nothing, and the money you save over time will be well worth the expense.
1. Defensive Driver Education
To round out our top five list is a very close second to consistent safe driving, we have Defensive Driver Education, (DDE). There are a number of benefits to this strategy, but the first and most important is that it shows good faith. It demonstrates in concrete terms that you are serious and committed to being an asset to the roadways and not a liability.
Reduce Points and Fines
When you get tickets or fines, oftentimes a judge will reduce the penalties if you take a DDE class. It’s even better if you extend the offer to take such a class yourself instead of waiting to be ordered to or having it suggested to you.
Learn Valuable Driving Techniques
Remember that there is such a thing as a professional driver and that the average motorist is anything but. This means that we all have a lot to learn, and being a better driver is the best way to successfully practice safe driving. A DDE class is an excellent place to pick up valuable skills.
Review the Laws Governing Our Roadways
The laws of the road are many and constantly change. So it’s never a bad idea to learn them afresh and be reminded of things you already know. Also, if there are newer laws you are not aware of, you will be expected to obey them.
Actually Be a Better Driver
Most people want to drive safely even if they don’t have the temperament or the habits to show it. After all, no one wants to crash and get hurt. So why are we having all these accidents? It’s because people lack focus and skill. A good DDE class will help you develop both so that you can become more than just a well-meaning driver, but a truly skilled driver.
Get Better Auto Insurance Rates
While getting better insurance rates directly is not the main benefit of this strategy, when you choose a driving school like MyImprov, you can get a 10% auto insurance discount with certain cooperating insurance providers. So, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you are working with an insurer that collaborates with myImprov.
Aside from that, there is no guarantee that your auto insurance company will reduce your rates as a direct result of driver education, but it can definitely give you extra negotiating points before you sign up for a coverage package.
While these methods can’t compete with our top five, they can be a valuable part of your overall safe-driving/cheaper-insurance strategy.
Raise your deductibles
In most cases, you can lower your premium by agreeing to pay higher deductibles. You pay premiums every month, but deductibles are only paid when you file a claim.
Lower coverage for older vehicles
Older vehicles with a lot of miles on them are worth less than newer ones. Therefore it makes sense to pay less for them. Reduce the coverage on them accordingly, or just pay liability.
We talked about ways to save money on auto insurance if you drive less. One way to make that practical is to use public transport, ride bikes, walk, and ride-share. It might not be glamorous, but it’s a sure way to save money. Compare this to traditional travel for price, and the choice is clear.
New York Auto Insurance Providers at a Glance
- Average rate for a full coverage policy in New York is around $1,600 per year
- Coverage options include liability, collision, comprehensive, and more
- Discounts for safe driving, good students, and safety features in your car
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
- Average rate for a full coverage policy in New York is around $1,800 per year
- Coverage options include liability, collision, comprehensive, rental car coverage, and emergency roadside assistance
- Discounts for good driving habits, completing a defensive driving course, and bundling your policies
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
- Average rate for a full coverage policy in New York is around $2,000 per year
- Coverage options include liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection, and more
- Discounts for safe driving, multiple policies, and being a good student
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
- Average rate for a full coverage policy in New York is around $1,900 per year
- Coverage options include liability, collision, comprehensive, and custom parts and equipment coverage
- Discounts for safe driving, bundling policies, and safety features in your car
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
- Average rate for a full coverage policy in New York is around $2,100 per year
- Coverage options include liability, collision, comprehensive, new car replacement, and accident forgiveness
- Discounts for safe driving, completing a driver training course, and having multiple policies with them
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
If you’re looking for the best insurance companies in New York, you can’t go wrong with GEICO, State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, and Travelers. While each company offers slightly different rates and coverage options, they all have a solid reputation and offer discounts that can help you save money on your premiums. Remember to compare quotes from multiple companies to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your specific situation.
Types of NY Traffic Violations
Every state has laws in common and penalties that lead to increases in the amount you’ll pay for auto insurance premiums if you are convicted. The amount each type of violation will cost you depends on the severity of the violation, and you can be sure that the state of New York has got all of the potential violations and their attending penalties all figured out. Compare these to your expectations and see if you’ve been tempting fate.
Exceeding the speed limit is against the law everywhere, including in New York. The severity of the offense depends on how much over the speed limit you were going when you were clocked by an officer. It also depends on where you were speeding, whether or not pedestrians were nearby, and what kinds of other behaviors you may have been exhibiting at the time.
For example, if you were speeding near a school while also swerving, that could be child endangerment, reckless driving, and speeding all bundled into one ticket. Speeding will add points to your driving record and affect your auto insurance quotes and premiums.
Overdue parking meter
We all know that finding a good parking spot in New York is tough, especially in the city. In an effort to keep the parking situation fair, we have parking meters which are meant to limit the amount of time you can occupy a metered spot. Of course, these measures wouldn’t be much good if people could not be penalized for exceeding the time paid for at the meter. For this reason, exceeding your time at the meter will cost you money, and add to the points on your license.
Failing to use a turn signal
The first and most important penalty for not signaling a turn is being an inconsiderate driver. If there is anyone around who could be affected by your maneuvers, it is best to use those turn signals well in advance of the turn. Of course, the best way to handle turn signaling is to do it whether or not you see anyone because there may always be someone around you who didn’t notice. Of course, if a cop sees your unsignaled turn, he may ticket you whether or not anyone else was around. This will also add points to your record, and raise your rates.
Parking in a handicapped zone without authorization
Handicapped parking spots are for the people who need them. If you have been caught parking in a handicapped space and are not authorized to do so, you will be cited, get points on your license, and see your auto insurance quotes and rates go up. What’s more, frankly, anyone who does this deserves whatever they get.
Making obscene gestures and over-aggressive driving
Road rage is real and it is dangerous, especially in the cramped streets of New York City. Even if someone has cut you off, is going slow in front of you, or is otherwise being a pain in the butt, that is no (legal) excuse for rude and aggressive behavior behind the wheel. This can include excessive honking, giving people the finger, and driving in a way that is meant to make a point.
The law in New York recognizes the danger of high tensions on our roadways and has taken measures to discourage feeding into flared tempers out there on the road. Failure to appreciate this is likely to lead to tickets, fines, fees, points on your license, and higher auto insurance rates.
Improper stopping at a stop sign
Alright, we get it. Stop signs are there whether or not anyone else is. But if we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times, if you get into the habit of not coming to a full and complete stop each and every time you come up to a red octagon you are going to get cited. It only takes one indecent like this to get pegged as a stop sign flouncer by your auto insurance company for years.
Look, it’s in the auto insurance company’s interest to raise your rates, and zooting through stop signs is just the excuse they need. You will get caught, you will get points on your license, and the president of the auto insurance company will build a new deck on his summer home.
Improper yielding to a yellow light
This is a lot like not coming to a full stop at a stop sign. Yes, it is true, that if the light is still yellow you are technically allowed to cross into and pass through the intersection. What you are not allowed to do is speed up dramatically and zam through the intersection like you were trying to hit a ramp and jump barrels.
This is another case where if you get into the habit of yamming through the light you will get cited, and your car insurance company is rubbing its hands just waiting for you you to get pinched in the act. Worst still is the possibility that someone on the cross-street is doing the same thing and somebody gets t-boned.
In that instance, the best case scenario is higher auto insurance rates that you live to pay.
Cutting off another vehicle
Getting cut off is the main thing people complain about on the road. Everyone has done it. Sometimes it’s an accident. But if you do it too much, make a habit out of it, and especially if you do it intentionally and push your luck, you’re risking an accident.
If you get caught doing it by a cop, you will probably get cited. If that happens, not only will you get points and have your premiums raised, but the driver you cut off will get to have a laugh. Honestly, nobody wants that.
In a kinder, perhaps more just world, all the punishment we would need for the traffic violations discussed above would be the elevation of our car insurance quotes and rates. But, of course, there’s more. Every point you get on your license will raise your premiums by a given amount, depending on your driving history and the company you buy your auto insurance from. If you get up to 11 points on your license or if you have three speeding convictions in 18 months, you may have your license revoked.
The good news is, if you get your license revoked, you can cancel your car insurance.
Here’s how the penalties break down:
|1 to 10 mph||3|
|11 to 20 mph/td>||4|
|21 to 30 mph||6|
|31 to 40 mph||8|
|Over 40 mph||11|
Point penalties for other moving violations
|Failure to stop for a school bus||5|
|Passing, changing lanes, driving left of center, in the wrong direction||3|
|Failing to obey a traffic signal, stop sign, or yield sign||3|
|Violating a railroad crossing||3|
|Failing to yield the right-of-way||3|
|Passenger safety violations, seat belt, child safety violations||3|
|Hit and run||3|
|Other moving violations||2|
*These tables were compiled by the New York traffic law attorney, Arthur Pressman. He and other lawyers working in this specialty make a killing, especially in the city, because it is almost impossible to drive in New York and not run into trouble once in a while.
It would be pretty tough to come up with an exact breakdown of how many points you can get for any possible situation. Let it be sufficient to say that the more wrong things you do and the harder you do them in a given incident, the higher your score, and like golf, the higher your score the worse it is. Score an 11 and you win the game, on opposite day.
Compare Violations to Find Out How They Affect New York Auto Insurance Rates
Most people hope to never have to file a car insurance claim. Even if you manage to get all of your damage paid for, the trauma and lost time can be tough to recover from. That is just part of the reason why it is so important to understand how points on your license will affect your car insurance premiums.
When you sign up for an auto insurance policy, your carrier will examine your driving history and attempt to gauge the level of risk that you represent to their company. One way of looking at it is by considering the average auto insurance cost of two points on your license.
On average, two points will increase your premium by 10% of your total rate. Whatever the base cost of the insurance package you choose, every two points will increase it by 10%. It does not always work out exactly like that, of course. It depends on the risk factors described in the next section as well as a number of potentially subjective factors which may or may not be figured into the equation.
To put it simply, if your monthly auto insurance premium is $200 a month, then one point will raise it by 5% to $210. This is a conservative estimate. It could be more or it could be less. But if you had just four points, that’s a 20% increase of around $40 a month.
If you had the maximum amount of points and managed not to have your license revoked, you would be paying $255 a month. That is probably the absolute minimum since your car insurance company would be saying two things. The first thing they would be saying is that your driving record is going to pot and it probably isn’t going to improve. The other thing they might be saying is that you are about to have your driving privilege suspended, in which case you might not be a customer soon and they may decide to try to milk you for all you are worth before you cancel your policy.
That sounds harsh, and it is. But the more violations you have, the more they can find excuses to raise your rates. Welcome to the real world, bucko.
So, the lesson here is, first, don’t get points on your license. Second, you need to take a close look at what an auto insurance company will charge for each point you gain. You may be signing up with a company that offers fantastic basic rates. But as soon as you get your first moving violation, they start raising your premiums at an alarming rate.
So, before you sign on the dotted line and buy that policy, make sure you know how much they will tack onto your monthly rate for each point you get. On top of this, keep in mind the fact that if they perceive a “trend” in your accumulation of driving points, they may decide that they need to raise your rates preemptively. There is no law that says they can’t.
Understand that like a money lender, an auto insurance company is in the business of taking on risk. Every driver they insure represents the possibility that they might have to pay out thousands of dollars. Their primary strategy is to avoid paying for the coverage for which you are buying the car insurance in the first place. Which, frankly, sounds pretty shady if you think about it. Therefore, their primary business process is to keep risk at a minimum and to charge for every bit of risk that they take on.
So, you want to be perceived as a good risk. Maintain and protect the perception that the auto insurance company is making a wise bet on your good driving habits. On top of that, know that never getting points as a driver in The Big Apple is more or less a fantasy. You are almost certain to get dinged at least once in your driving career. Therefore, it makes good sense to know exactly what your insurer will charge you for it when you do.
Other Hazards to Cheaper Car Insurance
Dangerous driving, poor driving, and illegal driving are all good ways to drive your auto insurance premiums up. Unfortunately, car insurance professionals, in particular the people who influence policy, are statisticians. This means something about you that may have little to do with your behavior on the road and can negatively affect what you pay each month for NY car insurance.
Bad or Poor Credit
This is one that gets a lot of drivers steamed. Many people have no credit histories at all because they have always saved money, lived within their means, and paid all at once. Reasonable people might assume this would curate a good credit history, but the opposite is true, unfortunately.
When it comes to getting loans, no credit is worse than poor credit, and it also affects your auto insurance rates. For car insurance companies, their experts argue that a person’s credit history shows how likely he or she may be to file a claim.
Basing auto insurance on credit scores is banned in some states, but in New York, it is still legal and common.
Automobile Make and Model
Most people know that if you choose a sports car, you are going to pay more for car insurance each month. But sports cars aren’t the only type of vehicle insurance companies sneer at. Trucks tend to come with higher insurance rates because people use them on job sites, haul things, drive them off road, and the like. Sometimes vans can get hit with similar rate hikes.
Depending on who you buy car insurance from, the color of your car and other accessories could also raise your rates if your insurer gets the feeling you might get competitive out there on the road.
Your Zip Code
This one can be particularly vexing, especially for those who haven’t exactly found their dream home yet. But the fact remains that zip codes do affect car insurance premiums. If, for example, you live in a microclimate that gets a lot of hail, that could drive up car insurance rates, eliminating cheap prices. And you thought acts of God didn’t count! Likewise, if there is a high level of crime and automobile bang-ups, that too will make insurance more expensive.
Age and Experience
Of course, everyone knows that young men pay higher rates than young women, and people under a certain age will also pay more. It might be sexist, but these things are based on statistics and not our feelings. The good news is that if you can make it through the cut-off age without any accidents or violations, you might get pretty good rates.
Car Insurance Package Choices
Finally, the type of coverage you choose will also have a big effect on your rates. A lot of people will choose the least expensive packages and get nothing more than liability insurance. The downside of this is that when you do need to make a claim, chances are high that the money you need will not be forthcoming. So in the end, cheap car insurance packages could cost you more in the long run.
Adding Inexperienced Drivers to Your Policy
It is not at all uncommon for people to put their children on their existing coverage plans. In fact, if you’re the parent of a teen driver, it can be absolutely necessary, unless she’s a teen Instagram influencer with a million followers and can pay for it herself. The fact is that teens are the most likely to lose their lives behind the wheel. Inexperience and the exuberance of youth make a dangerous combination behind the wheel. On average, adding a teen will raise your premiums by 160% or $2,300 on average.
Missing Specific Coverages
If you don’t have certain car insurance coverages like medical coverage, are hospitalized after an accident, and lose time off work, you may never financially recover. People forget the way medical bills and missing time off work can spell disaster for your bank account. Your savings will drain very rapidly. Medical coverage is the only way to offset this possibility. If you cannot get to work without your car, it gets totaled and you don’t have enough coverage to replace it, it’s basically the same desperate situation. You can optimize your car insurance policy by getting the right additional coverage types.
Other ways to get discounts in the event of an accident include:
- Accident Forgiveness
- Gap Insurance
- Rental Reimbursement Insurance
- Roadside Assistance Coverage