Automobile Driving Insurance Laws and Rules


Car insurance laws require all motorists in The United States to have adequate auto liability insurance. The minimum auto liability coverage in each State is unique as are the laws that have to do with fault, impaired driving and even distracted driving. If caught or charged we recommend the following top firms by State:

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Besides adhering to these requirements, liability insurance must be issued in the name of the person that registered a car. Moreover, liability insurance remains valid so long as the registration documents for the car are valid. Take note this is irrespective of whether the person who registered the car uses it or not. At the same time, car owners must purchase liability insurance from a company certified by the NYS DMV and licensed by the NYS Department of Financial Services. According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, most car owners carry auto liability insurance policies that exceed the mandatory minimum.

Proof of Insurance

After purchasing an auto coverage plan, your insurer will provide you with two original NYS Insurance ID cards or grant you access to your electronic NY Insurance ID card. At the same time, your insurer will send a digital notice of auto coverage to the DMV. With this in mind, motorists in New York State can prove that they own adequate auto insurance coverage either via traditional mail or via the Internet. The NY DMV is responsible for verifying auto insurance policies and does so by contacting the insurers stated by vehicle owners. Alternatively, you can check the status of your auto insurance coverage by visiting the NY Department of Motor Vehicles’ Check Insurance Status web page. However, you must have a DMV letter or order related to your auto insurance coverage. This letter/order must have your car plate number and a ten-digit document number. Unfortunately, you cannot check the status of your car insurance by mail, phone, or by visiting NY DMV offices.

Insurance Lapses

The term “Insurance lapse” refers to a period during which a vehicle registered in New York State does not have liability insurance. There are several reasons why your car insurance may lapse. To start with, insurance coverage may lapse due to differences between the date your current coverage expires and the date your new insurance policy begins. In addition, insurance lapse may occur due to differences between the time/date your insurer cancels an existing coverage and the time/date it is reinstated. Another major cause of insurance lapse is differences between the date a coverage is cancelled and the date your car registration expires.


Consequences of Driving a Car with Lapsed NYC Insurance

Although an insurance lapse may happen unintentionally, it could lead to the suspension of your driving license as well as car registration. If a vehicle registration suspension exceeds 90 days, the affected motorist must surrender his/her car plates and vehicle registration documents as well. It is worth noting that driving license and vehicle registration suspensions cover the same number of days. Other consequences include getting a ticket, being arrested and vehicle impoundment. To re-instate a suspended driving license, one must pay a $50 license suspension termination fee. Even if you do not have coverage seeking medical attention before calling a New York City car accident lawyer can mean a higher settlement.

Changing an Insurance Policy

If you want to change your current car insurance policy, you do not have to report the change to the NYS DMV. Nevertheless, you must inform your insurer of the coverage changes you intend to implement. In turn, your insurer will inform the DMV of the changes effected. In general, insurers inform the DMV when motorists purchase auto liability insurance, change insurers, transfer plates to another vehicle, insurance coverage ends, and coverage is re-instated. Without proper notification, the DMV would have no choice but to suspend the driving license and car registration of drivers deemed to have breached NYS auto coverage laws. Take note you have to inform your insurer if you intend to remove a driver from your auto coverage. The same is true if you want to add a driver to an auto insurance policy.

Vehicle Registration and Insurance Coverage

In New York State, you cannot register a vehicle without a valid insurance policy. Furthermore, the maximum number of people that can be listed per car registration is two. It is mandatory for the co-registrant to provide personal identification documents, birth certificate, and sign the Vehicle Registration/Title Application (MV-82) document. This is important because a person operating a vehicle must provide proof of insurance and the only way to do so is by registering a vehicle at the NYS DMV.

Rental Car Coverage

When driving a rental car in New York State, your auto liability insurance will cover property damage liability, no-fault, and bodily injury on an “excess” basis. This means your policy will kick in if financial expenses related to an accident exceed the rental car company’s coverage. The NYS Department of Financial Services recommends purchasing Non-Owned Automobile Liability Coverage if you regularly use vehicles that you do not own. If you do not have auto insurance, you can still drive a rental car because the companies that provide these services are required to maintain insurance coverage.


Motorists in New York State are required by law to have the minimum auto liability coverage. In addition, motorists must have proof of insurance and produce the same when required. To make changes to your auto insurance coverage, such as adding or removing the name of a driver, you must inform your insurer.