CONSUMER
FOCUS ON
Auto
Insurance
Compliments of

Assemblyman
William
Scarborough



Want more information about auto insurance?

New York State
Insurance Department

One Commerce Plaza
Albany, NY 12257

1-800-342-3736

www.ins.state.ny.us




Assemblyman
William Scarborough

Dear Friend,

Trying to find the best car insurance company to meet your needs can be a difficult task. That task can be even more daunting when you consider there are more than 100 companies that write automobile insurance policies in the state.

The good news is that with so many insurers, competition is healthy. Rates can vary by up to 70% in some areas, so shopping around can save you hundreds, and possibly thousands, of dollars a year.

This flyer outlines the state requirements for car insurance and some of the car insurance options available to you.

As always, feel free to contact my office if you have any other questions or comments.

Sincerely,
Assemblyman
William Scarborough

Room 602 LOB, Albany, New York 12248
(518) 455-4451

114-52A Merrick Boulevard, St. Albans, New York 11434
(718) 657-5312

scarbow@assembly.state.ny.us

 



The Facts About Car Insurance
Knowing What Type of Insurance You Need

In order to register your car and obtain license plates in New York State, you must purchase minimum levels of three types of car insurance:

• no-fault coverage (personal injury protection) to pay medical expenses and lost earnings for a driver or passenger injured in, or pedestrian injured by, your car;

• minimum liability protection against the harm your car might do to other people and their property; and

• uninsured motorist protection against the injuries you, your family or your passengers might suffer in a hit-and-run accident or in an accident with an uninsured vehicle.

No-Fault

This coverage pays for up to $50,000 in medical expenses, lost earnings and other reasonable expenses related to injuries, regardless of who was at fault or whether there was negligence.

Liability Coverage

With this coverage, you are protected if a claim is made against you by another person alleging negligence or that you were at fault. Minimum levels you must carry are:

• $25,000 for bodily injuries not resulting in death or $50,000 for any injury resulting in death;

• $50,000 for bodily injury (not resulting in death) for two or more persons in an accident; or $100,000 for any injuries resulting in death for two or more persons in an accident; and

• $10,000 per accident for damage to another personís car or property.

Uninsured Motorists

For accidents occurring in New York State, the amount of uninsured motorist protection you need is the same minimum bodily injury limits as required for liability insurance. If anyone in your car is injured by the driver of an uninsured vehicle or a hit-and-run motorist, a claim should be filed with your auto insurance company under the uninsured motorists coverage.

Rental Car

You do not need to buy a collision damage waiver on rental vehicles if you are a NYS auto insurance policyholder. This protection extends to rentals in the U.S., its territories and Canada.

Source: NYS Insurance Department Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance



Getting The Most Insurance For Your Money
Car Insurance Options

  • Purchase Additional Coverage
    You should consider purchasing more than the minimum amount of car insurance required by law, particularly if you have assets (e.g. house). Insurance companies offer expanded bodily injury protection, property damage liability protection and no-fault coverage at fairly modest additional costs.

    You can also purchase supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorists (SUM) coverage for up to $250,000 per person per accident and $500,000 per accident, depending on your policy's bodily injury liability limits.

  • Medical Payments Coverage
    This insurance pays, without regard to fault, medical expenses and funeral expenses for you and persons riding with you, if an accident occurs involving your car.

  • Other Options
    Other optional coverages include: accidental death and dismemberment and additional payments for certain serious injuries or death caused by an accident while in your car; collision, for damage to your car without regard to fault; comprehensive, paid to you without regard to fault for damage to your car from all causes (flood, fire, vandalism, etc.) or if it is stolen; or gap coverage which pays for the difference between the car value and how much you may owe on a loan or lease.

How to Save Money on Your Policy Premium

Auto insurance is a product and consumers should shop around for the best deal. A chart on the back of this flyer gives you some idea of the huge differences in the cost of policies. You should also be aware of the companyís service record ó how promptly policies are paid and the reliability of the coverage of the insurer.

Some insurers offer discounts for: senior citizens, car pools, having more than one car insured by the same company and low annual mileage. Discounts are also available to persons who have completed a Department of Motor Vehicle-approved accident prevention course (usually 10% off the premium).

Discounts may also be offered if your car is equipped with automatic seat belts or air bags, factory-installed anti-lock braking system, anti-theft devices, daytime running lamps and for vehicles participating in a combat auto theft program.

Many insurers will provide a "careful driver" discount for drivers without any accidents or convictions. You can also reduce your premium by raising your deductible.




Cost Comparisons

The following chart shows the wide range of car insurance policy premiums. The figures below are rates available for a 35-year-old male, who is not in the assigned risk plan, with the minimum required coverage and paying a $200 deductible for collision and comprehensive.


Region Highest Policy Price Lowest Policy Price
Manhattan $3,300 $1,900
Hempstead $2,400 $1,570
Albany $1,100 $800
Syracuse $3,000 $1,600
Elmira $1,250 $760
Buffalo $2,100 $1,000



Policy Cancellations

An insurance company cannot arbitrarily cancel your policy while it is in effect. However, if your license is suspended or revoked, your insurer can cancel your policy.

An insurer must renew your policy at the end of each one-year period unless it gives you at least 45 to 60 days notice. Insurers cannot refuse to renew a policy nor require completion of a medical questionnaire just because the insured turned 60.


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