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Do Drivers Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in NY?

car accident, vehicle getting towed after an accident

The Truth About Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Drivers in New York are required to purchase uninsured motorist coverage in order to register their vehicles and get license plates. This requirement only applies to accidents involving bodily injury and not auto body damages or other property damages.

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

Let’s say your vehicle got rear-ended by a driver who didn’t have car insurance. Surely, this driver is at-fault for the accident and should pay for the damage. New York requires all drivers to have liability insurance, after all. But if the driver who rear-ended your car doesn’t have liability insurance, they can’t pay for the damage. That’s where uninsured motorist (UM) coverage comes into play.

UM coverage protects drivers who get into an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t have liability insurance. In other words, UM coverage intends to protect you from others, providing an extra layer of security to your existing car insurance policy. Uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

In New York, drivers must have the same amount of uninsured motorist coverage as they do for the minimum bodily injury limits required under their liability insurance. If an uninsured driver hits your car and injures you or your passengers, you should file a claim with your car insurer

How Does Underinsured Motorist Coverage Work?

Similar to uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage also pays for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, the difference between the two is underinsured motorist coverage (UIM coverage) kicks in when an at-fault driver DOES have liability insurance, but their limits aren’t high enough to cover your damages. This contrasts with UM coverage, which applies when an at-fault driver DOES NOT have liability insurance.

As such, the at-fault driver’s insurance will usually cover all the damages permitted under their policy limits. Any remaining expenses will be covered by your underinsured motorist coverage policy.

If you have any questions about New York laws regarding uninsured motorist coverage, reach out to us online or at (212) 235-1525!

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