What are the requirements for motor vehicle liability insurance in NYS?

A motor vehicle registered in NYS must have liability insurance. Insurance coverage must be a minimum of $25,000/50,000 for injury, $50,000/100,000 for death, and $10,000 for property damage caused by any one accident. New York State is a no-fault state. The liability coverage must remain in effect while the registration is valid, even if the vehicle is not used (except motorcycles).
  • The liability coverage must be NYS insurance coverage, issued by a company authorized to do business in NYS and licensed by the NYS Insurance Department. Out-of-state insurance coverage of any type is NEVER acceptable or valid. If your vehicle is registered in NYS, the liability insurance coverage must be NYS insurance coverage.
  • Liability coverage must be issued in the name of the registrant and must remain in the name of the registrant at all times. A change on the insurance to a name different from the registrant causes a lapse in insurance coverage, and the driver license of the registrant and the registration is suspended.
  • You must show a NYS Insurance Identification Card when you apply for a vehicle registration. Your insurance company, agent or broker must issue two original NYS Insurance Identification Cards to you.  The Insurance Identification Cards must have the same name as the registration application and must have a barcode.
  • The insurance company must also file an electronic notice of insurance coverage with the DMV to verify the liability coverage. (The agent or broker cannot file this notice.)  Your Insurance Identification Card and the electronic notice of insurance coverage together verify your insurance coverage. An Insurance Identification Card only does not prove liability coverage.
  • An Insurance Identification Card must be presented within 45 days of the effective date of the insurance coverage. Bring the cards to the DMV office when you apply for the registration.  The DMV office will keep one card.  Keep the other card with the vehicle. If a police officer requests your proof of insurance, you must show your Insurance Identification Card.
  • The DMV does not accept any out-of-state insurance documents.

I moved to another state, but my vehicle is registered in NYS. Do I need to change to out-of-state insurance?

No. All vehicles registered in NYS must have NYS liability coverage. There are no exceptions. If you replace your NYS insurance coverage with out-of-state insurance, a lapse in valid insurance coverage occurs. The NYSDMV suspends your registration, and the NYSDMV can suspend your driver license. The NYSDMV must take actions against your NYS registration and driver license even if you move outside of NYS. This action can affect your ability to hold a valid driver license in your new state. If you register your vehicle in another state, immediately surrender your NYS vehicle plates to the NYSDMV by mail.

What can occur if I cancel my liability insurance?

The insurance company must notify the DMV if you cancel your liability insurance. Your insurance company is also required to notify DMV if your insurance coverage is reinstated or you get new insurance coverage. If the insurance company does not file an electronic notice about your new or reinstated liability insurance, the DMV sends you a letter about your insurance. Read the insert mailed with the letter, and follow the instructions in the letter. You are given 10 days from the date of the DMV letter to prove that you have insurance coverage, prove that you sold the vehicle, or show other proof that insurance coverage was not required in NYS. If you do have insurance coverage, also ask your insurance company (do not ask your agent or broker) to file an electronic notice of insurance coverage with the DMV. If you do not have liability insurance, you must surrender your vehicle plates to the NYSDMV immediately. Make sure you get a receipt. You must respond to the letter you receive from the DMV or surrender your license plates to prevent the suspension of your registration and driver license. If your liability insurance is about to lapse and you do not plan to replace it with other insurance, surrender your vehicle plates to the DMV before your insurance coverage lapses.

What are some of the conditions that can create a lapse in insurance coverage?

Any amount of time that your vehicle is registered but not insured can cause a lapse in your insurance coverage and the suspension or revocation of your registration. A lapse in insurance coverage can occur:
  • between the date your insurance is cancelled and the effective date of your new insurance;
  • between the date your insurance is cancelled and the date you surrender your license plates or the date your registration expires;
  • between the date your insurance is cancelled and the effective date of "other proof" (for example, a vehicle registered in another state, or a vehicle repossessed or impounded);
  • between the date you register your vehicle and the effective date of your new insurance coverage;
  • between the date the insurance is cancelled and the date the same insurance company reinstates your insurance coverage.

If the lapse in the insurance coverage exceeds 90 days, your driver license is also suspended

You can also qualify for additional insurance reduction by taking a NYS DMV approved defensive driving course. DMV now allows the completion of the defensive driving courses over the Internet.