How Do NY’s Minimum Insurance Requirements Affect My Claim?

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    When you file an insurance claim with your insurance company after a car accident, you could be affected by New York’s minimum insurance requirements.  Knowing how these minimums will affect what you can receive in your claim and what you will need to claim above and beyond your own insurance coverage will be important when it comes time to file insurance claims and lawsuits after an accident.

    If you only have the minimum required insurance coverage, then you might not be able to cover your accident in full.  In New York, you file with your own insurance for injuries, so having the bare minimum insurance might not be enough, and it might be better to pay more for higher insurance coverage.  Some cases will entitle you to a claim against the other driver’s insurance – but when you file such a claim, you could be limited again if they only have minimum insurance.

    For a free review of your case after a car accident, contact The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083 to speak with our NY car accident attorneys.

    What Are the Insurance Minimums for Car Insurance in New York?

    In New York, every driver is required to carry insurance.  This insurance has to meet various minimums for personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which will cover you after your crash, as well as liability insurance to cover injuries and damage you cause to others.

    The PIP requirement is $50,000 worth of coverage.  Again, this coverage protects you and the occupants of your vehicle, as well as any pedestrians or cyclists you hit.  Our Rochester car accident lawyers recommend that drivers consider paying for higher coverage, as everything you get paid out when you file a claim will go to you and your passengers.  This is part of what we call a “no-fault” system, as this insurance pays you regardless of whose fault the accident is.

    Liability insurance requires you to have coverage for $25,000 per person for injury and $50,000 per accident for injury, as well as $10,000 for property damage.  Property damage does not work on a no-fault basis, so if you damaged someone else’s property, they will file with your liability insurance, and you will file with their insurance if they hit your car.  With injury coverage, you can only file against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance if you meet certain threshold conditions known as the “serious injury threshold.”

    In addition to PIP and liability insurance, all drivers must also have uninsured motorist insurance.  This protects you in the case that you need to file against another driver who fled the scene and cannot be found or who did not have insurance as required by law.

    How Do Insurance Minimums Guarantee Damages After a Crash in NY?

    Since you are required to have PIP insurance, this minimum insurance rule guarantees that there will always be insurance to cover you in the event of a crash.  This no-fault insurance pays damages to you no matter who caused the accident, allowing you to get damages quickly from your own insurance company without needing to gather evidence and prove fault first.

    This can help skip the need for a lawsuit in some situations, but it has limitations.  For example, your PIP insurance has a limit, and if you have only the minimum insurance, you will have a somewhat low cap on payments.  This coverage also pays only for certain percentages of medical bills and only certain amounts for lost wages with a minimum policy.

    If you do go above and beyond the minimum requirements, then you will be able to get more coverage in the event of a crash.  If you run up against your cap and still need additional coverage, you will have to sue the other driver.

    The fact that there is a minimum insurance requirement for liability insurance means that they will always have money to cover you as well – and if they don’t for some reason, then your uninsured motorist coverage will kick in.

    At the end of the day, even with minimum insurance, a crash involving two drivers will see the victim get a potential of $75,000 in coverage for injuries and lost wages between their own PIP insurance and the at-fault driver’s liability coverage or their own uninsured motorist coverage.

    What Does Minimum Insurance Not Cover in NY Car Accident Cases?

    You may have noticed that the only damages discussed so far were for property damage, lost wages, and medical expenses.  That is because New York’s minimum PIP insurance has no coverage at all for pain and suffering or other “non-economic” damages.  If you are not able to reach beyond your PIP insurance and sue the other driver, then you cannot get access to pain and suffering damages.  If your case does meet the “serious injury threshold,” then you can get coverage for pain and suffering from their liability insurance or a lawsuit.

    To meet this threshold, your injuries must qualify as “serious,” which usually means that they are permanent or will last for 90 out of the next 180 days.  Broken bones also qualify for a lawsuit and pain and suffering damages.

    Can You Get Damages Above the Minimum Insurance Limit in NY?

    If you have additional coverage beyond the minimum, you can get more damages covered by your own insurance.  This can help, especially since medical care often costs more than $50,000 for serious injuries.  However, if your damages are higher than what your insurance can cover, you might need to sue the other driver.

    When you sue, their insurance will cover them – but only up to their limit.  If they have only the minimum required insurance coverage of $10,000 for property damage and $25,000 for injuries, you will not be able to recover more than this from their insurance.  However, you might be able to achieve a jury award for higher than this amount, and it will be up to the defendant to pay out of pocket for the rest of the damages.  If the defendant is a company, such as a trucking company, then they might have plenty of assets and other insurance to cover your high-dollar damages.

    Call Our New York Car Accident Attorneys Today

    Call (718) 841-0083 for a free case evaluation with The Carrion Law Firm’s Albany car accident attorneys.