The very simple answer to whether you need New York car registration for car insurance is no, but both registering your vehicle and signing up for car insurance are necessary in order to legally drive in New York.

While car registration is required by the state of New York, insurance companies aren’t the entities that enforce this. In fact, it would be quite inconvenient if they did, because you need proof of insurance to register your car in New York. \ \ Simply put, in the state of New York, car insurance comes before car registration.

New York State Insurance Requirements

Like most states, in New York, you’re required to have a minimum amount of liability insurance. You must have proof of this before you can even register your car in the Empire State.

The minimum amount of liability insurance coverage is:

  • $10,000 for property damage for a single accident

  • $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident

  • $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident

Liability insurance is meant for the liable party to pay for any property damage or bodily injury done to another person involved in an accident.

Along with these requirements, the New York law requires that your liability insurance:

  • Remains in effect while registered, even if the car is unused

  • Is issued in New York State

  • Always remains under the name of the registrant

So, no, you don’t need New York car registration to get New York car insurance because you need New York car insurance in order to register your car.

Failure to uphold any of the requirements above could result in the suspension of your registration and driver’s license.

Being caught driving without valid New York insurance could also result in a $1,500 fine.

If You’re Just Visiting

The exception to all of this is if you are not a New York resident, and you don’t plan to be one. As a non-resident, your registration is valid in New York and so is your insurance. Most car insurance policies should cover you while you are traveling within the United States.

Several states define residency differently, but in the state of New York you are a resident if:

  • You intend to make New York your permanent place of residence OR

  • You have lived in New York for 90 days

Let’s say you’ve just made a permanent move to New York and successfully insured your car in the state. How do you go about registering your car?

How to Register Your Car in New York

First of all, if you are a resident or intend to be one, you must register your car within 30 days of moving to New York in order to legally drive. If you’ve already been living in New York but just got your car insured, you have 180 days from the effective date of your insurance to get your car registered.

That said, you shouldn’t drive your car while it’s either uninsured or unregistered. When you buy a car from a dealership, they can register and title your car.) and issue plates (for a fee).

For those who did not get their car from a dealership, New York state car registration is done through the DMV. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Insure Your Car

As mentioned previously, you won’t get anywhere without this integral step. The state of New York requires proof of car insurance.

Step 2: Determine Which Documents You Need for Registration

The kind of documents you need will depend on the vehicle. You can use The New York State DMV Document Guide.) to determine which documents you will need.

Step 3: Provide the Right Information

Next, you must provide the following information:

  • Name

  • Contact information

  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Step 4: Submit Required Documents

Be prepared to submit the following documents:

  • Completed vehicle registration application

  • A copy of your insurance card

  • A copy of your driver’s license or other proof of identity

  • The New York State original title or New York State transferable registration

  • A lien release (if applicable)

  • The bill of sale

  • Proof of payment of sales tax (a copy)

  • Payment for registration

Note: Your registration fee will depend on the weight of your vehicle.

After You’ve Completed Steps 1-4: What You Will Receive from the DMV

After all of this, the DMV will issue you license plates (unless you are requesting to transfer plates), as well as a registration window sticker, and a receipt. If you did not get your car from a New York State auto dealer, you will also receive a 10 day inspection sticker.

Don’t Forget to Get Your Vehicle Inspected

The state of New York requires every registered vehicle to be inspected by a DMV-licensed inspection station. You are required to do this once every year or whenever ownership of a vehicle is transferred.

Out-Of-State Registration

If you’ve registered your car out of state and need to register it in New York, don’t despair—the process is generally the same, but here are some concerns you may have:

  • The out-of-state title is not in your name

  • There is a lien on your out-of-state title certificate

  • The out-of-state title is held by your lien holder

None of these situations should prevent you from registering your car. They just require some extra documents to prove ownership or certifications from your lienholder.

Getting Car Insurance After Moving to New York

If you’ve just gone through the monumental task of moving, your head is spinning with all the services you’ve had to begin and cancel, the amount of mail you’ve had to redirect, and the various arrangements you’ve made so that everyone knows where you’ll be. Does your car insurance know where you’ll be?

No one can blame you if switching your car insurance has been slipping your mind, but it's best to give it some thought before your move.

While you can depend on your insurance to cover you as you temporarily travel to another state, as soon as you intend to become a resident, you should plan to make insurance changes. As a resident, the state of New York does not allow you to have your car insured or registered in a different state. If you make a move and your insurer finds out, your coverage could be cancelled.

Also, remember to get a New York driver’s license within 30 days of moving.

Choosing Your Coverage

You may want more coverage than the minimum liability coverage required by New York. These are the standard options:

  • Medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) – This coverage pays for the medical expenses of you and your passengers if you are injured in an accident. This may also cover funeral costs.

  • Collision coverage – Collision coverage pays for damage to your car from collision with another car or object, even if you’re at fault.

  • Comprehensive coverage – Think of comprehensive coverage like bad luck insurance. For incidents you may never see coming, including fire, falling objects, and damage done by animals, you're stuck with the bill if you don’t have comprehensive coverage.

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – This coverage reimburses you or a designated driver if you are struck by someone with insufficient insurance to pay for the damages. This can also cover you as a pedestrian or victim of a hit-and-run.

Can You Keep the Same Insurance Company?

When moving to New York, you may be able to keep ties with your current insurer if it operates in multiple states. Make a call to your agent to find out if your coverage has to change to match New York state requirements.

If you can’t keep the same insurance company, don’t cancel too soon. You want to make sure you have a new insurance plan set up. After that, call your current insurer immediately to cancel.

Any gap between your old insurance and your new one is considered an insurance lapse. An insurance lapse could result in fines and the suspension of your license and registration.

Do You Need New York Car Insurance While Studying in New York?

If you are a student in New York, you aren’t considered a resident unless you’ve indicated to your school that your permanent address is in New York. So, your parent’s insurance from your home state should cover you while you study in New York.

However, you may be required to purchase New York student insurance if you:

  • Have your name on the title of the car

  • Stay in New York all year during school breaks

New York Car Registration Renewal

Once you have insured and registered your car, be sure to keep both your insurance and registration up to date.

New York registration renewal is fairly simple and requires basic information about you and your car. You will know when and how to renew car registration in New York once you receive a renewal notice from the DMV.

This process can be done online, by mail, or in person. Whichever method you choose, have a form of payment ready to be used immediately.

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Sources:

New York State DMV. New York State Insurance Requirements. https://dmv.ny.gov/insurance/insurance-requirements

New York State DMV. Register an Out-Of-State Vehicle. https://dmv.ny.gov/registration/register-out-state-vehicle

New York State DMV. Driving in New York State. https://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/drive-new-york-state

New York State DMV. How to Register a Vehicle. https://dmv.ny.gov/registration/how-register-vehicle

New York State DMV. Request to Register a Vehicle. https://nysdmv.custhelp.com/app/vo/reg-original/Incident.CustomFields.c.ny_county/?_ga=2.147595767.1309758750.1605950934-2112704233.1605753273

New York State DMV. Passenger Vehicle Registration Fees, Use Taxes, and Supplemental Fees. https://dmv.ny.gov/registration/registration-fees-use-taxes-and-supplemental-fees-passenger-vehicles

New York State DMV. About New York State Inspections. https://dmv.ny.gov/inspection/inspection-requirements

New York State DMV. Moving to NY. https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/moving-new-york

Insurance Information Institute. What is Covered by a Basic Auto Insurance Policy? https://www.iii.org/article/what-covered-basic-auto-insurance-policy

New York State DMV. Insurance Lapses. https://dmv.ny.gov/insurance/insurance-lapses

Training Wheels Driving School. What to Know About Car Insurance During College. https://www.twdrivingschool.com/what-to-know-about-car-insurance-during-college/

New York State DMV. Vehicle Registration Renewal. https://dmv.ny.gov/vehicle-registration-renewal