Like every state in the nation, New York requires car insurance. Which is why responsible New York drivers typically have an insurance card on hand in their glove compartment along with their New York car registration and an up-to-date driver's license in their wallet.

But with car expenses such as registration fees, gas, and maintenance, you might find yourself looking for the cheapest car insurance in New York to help mitigate your motor vehicle costs. While finding that auto insurance isn't always fun, it doesn't have to be painstaking either.

Determining how much you need to budget for car insurance in New York will help you as you begin to navigate the insurance shopping process. Below, learn more about the requirements New York has for minimum car insurance coverage so you can approach acquiring auto insurance with an open, well-informed mind.

The Bare Minimum

To begin understanding New York car insurance costs, you’ve got to start with the insurance essentials for every driver. That starts with determining what kind of insurance is required by the state of New York before landing on what type of auto insurance you need.

According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, the state of New York requires the following for auto insurance coverage:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to one person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury to all persons

  • $10,000 for property damage in any one car accident

  • $50,000 mandatory no-fault coverage

  • $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury per car accident ($25,000 per person)

So what do all these numbers mean, and what kind of coverage will you get with the bare minimum?

Breaking Down New York State Minimums

Car insurance minimums are designed to help keep drivers safe should the worst happen. Each type of coverage offers a different kind of protection to help keep you safe from serious financial burden in the case of an accident.

Like most of the 50 states, New York mandates that car owners carry two auto liability coverage: bodily injury and property damage.

  • Bodily Injury Liability This covers costs associated with physical injuries or death.

  • Property Damage Liability This covers costs associated with vehicle damage or damage to another piece of property, say, a city sidewalk.

Using the numbers for bodily injury liability mandated by the NY state minimum, let's say you are in an accident and hit a sedan with 5 people inside the vehicle. If every person suffers injuries in the accident, your New York state minimum auto insurance will only cover $50,000 worth of hospital bills, which means you could be paying quite a hefty sum out of pocket.

Additional auto insurance coverage required by New York law includes uninsured motorist coverage and no-fault coverage:

  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage – If you find yourself in an accident with an uninsured driver, UMBI will help pay for any medical treatments you may need resulting from the accident. Because the other driver does not have insurance, you cannot file a claim with their insurance company and will need to rely on your policy to cover your bills. UMBI also covers you if you sustain injuries as a pedestrian after being hit by a car.

  • It's worth noting: According to an Insurance Information Institute 2015 study, New York has a comparatively low percentage of uninsured motorists, 6.1% compared to the nation's highest, 26.7% in Florida.

  • No-fault coverage/personal injury protection – New York is one of a dozen states (and Puerto Rico) with no-fault insurance laws. These laws require that every New York driver file a claim with their insurance company, no matter who is at fault after an accident. States with no-fault laws require that a driver also purchase personal injury protection as part of their policy. \ \ In theory, if all drivers are responsible for their costs after an accident, the likelihood of lawsuits will decrease.

According to a 2017 Insurance Information Institute data report, 78 percent of insured drivers purchase comprehensive coverage in addition to liability insurance, and 74 percent buy collision coverage.

Read on to learn about these coverage options, plus additional policies.

Additional Coverage

While New York's minimum requirements are more stringent than some states, there are additional types of auto insurance you may want to consider when shopping for policies:

  • Collision Coverage – This type of coverage will reimburse you for damage done to your car due to coming into contact with another vehicle or stationary object (i.e., a tree, a fence, or a lamp post).

  • Comprehensive Coverage – As the name implies, this kind of coverage protects you from a range of hazards, including natural disasters, fire, theft, and more.

  • Glass Coverage Most of us have experienced windshield damage in our lives—an errant rock flying into your vehicle on the interstate can cause considerable damage to your windshield. Glass coverage takes care of that, plus covers your side windows, rear windows, and glass sunroofs.

  • Gap Insurance The moment you drive your new car off the lot, the clock is ticking on its value. Consider adding gap insurance if you're a New York driver who put down a small deposit on a new car, with the loan exceeding the vehicle's value. In the case of an accident badly damaging your vehicle, gap insurance covers the difference between what a car is worth and what you owe. You may want to consider adding gap insurance to your policy if:

  • You made less than a 20 percent down payment on the vehicle.

  • You've financed the car for 60 months or longer.

  • You're leasing your car.

New York car insurance rates rank fifth most expensive in the nation. Monthly premiums and accident deductibles depend on various factors, from the company issuing the insurance policy to the location of the driver.

What Factors Determine New York Auto Insurance Rates?

The auto insurance cost in any given state depends on factors including but not limited to: the driver and their driving record, the vehicle that will be insured, and the regulations laid out by the state in which the driver resides.

But New York car insurance rates are not decided based solely on your proximity to the Big Apple. Below, learn more about what variables go into play when determining any given driver's monthly premium:

  • Age – Drivers 25 and younger will most likely pay more for insurance because simply put, they've had less driving experience. The more they pay for coverage, the less likely older drivers (i.e., their parents) will have to spend bailing them out of debt after an accident.

  • Location This one is especially important if you do happen to live in or around NYC. Insurance rates will go up in relation to higher vandalism rates, theft, and accidents—all common in more urban areas.

  • Vehicle type and use – If your car is a workhorse, you may end up paying more because you're on the road all the time. On the flip side, if you drive a high-end luxury vehicle that rarely gets mileage, you may still pay quite a bit depending on where you live and the auto theft rates there.

  • Credit score – If you have a mid to low rating, expect your insurance rates to go up accordingly.

  • Driving record Like your credit score, a poor driving record can also raise your monthly premium. Luckily, this is not an insurmountable challenge: anyone can take accident prevention and defensive driving courses to add points to their driving record, which the insurance company can consider when adjusting your rate.

While some factors are out of your control, you can plan now to save money down the road.

Easy Ways to Spend Less

In addition to taking New York DMV-approved driving courses, other ways to lower your New York car insurance rates include:

  • Be a safe driver – Don't text and drive, don't speed, and never drive under the influence.

  • Bundle insurance policies – You can bundle your homeowner or renter insurance with your car insurance or save money by ensuring all members of your household under the same auto insurance company.

  • Look into discounts – Insurance companies offer incentives to help drivers drive responsibly. You may qualify for discounts if:

  • You have anti-theft devices installed in your vehicle (convenient in high crime areas).

  • You opt to install a safe-driving monitoring device into your vehicle.

  • You are a high achieving student.

  • You are a member of the military.

  • If you have low mileage on your car.

    Call your insurance provider and ask which discounts you could qualify for. You never know—you may wind up saving hundreds on car insurance every year.

Hit the Road

Now that you understand New York's minimum auto insurance requirements, what additional coverage you may want to invest in, and how to help lower your rates, you're ready to start shopping for the best policy.

Easy-to-use databases like Online Auto Insurance let you compare rates from the country's top insurers, including Geico, Progressive, Allstate, AAA, and more.

Sources:

New York State Department of Financial Services. Auto Insurance Frequently Asked Questions. https://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/auto_insurance/auto_insurance_faqs

OAI. 9 Ways to Lower Car Insurance Rates https://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/articles/9-ways-to-lower-car-insurance-rates.html

Insurance Information Institute. Facts + Statistics: Auto Insurance. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-auto-insurance

Insurance Information Institute. Facts + Statistics: Auto Insurance. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists

Insurance Information Institute. What is gap insurance? https://www.iii.org/article/what-gap-insurance

The Hartford. Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage https://www.thehartford.com/aarp/car-insurance/uninsured-underinsured-motorist-coverage

Investopedia. How Expensive is New York City? https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/012315/how-expensive-new-york-city-really.asp