The new year is a good time for many to reflect on the past year and what’s to come for the year ahead. But in all of the planning for the new year, it’s important to remember to assess your current auto insurance policy.
Why evaluate your auto insurance policy each year? Simple. Your auto insurance policy is designed to protect you and your family in the event of a serious car crash, and without certain coverage in place, you may not have the protections you need.
In 2024, here are the top insurance policies and coverages recommended for New Yorkers to protect against personal injury:
Minimum Required Auto Insurance:
In order to register a vehicle in New York State, you are required to maintain auto liability insurance coverage. This includes:
- $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; and
- $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident
As a first line of defense, if you own a car that you plan to register, be sure that you have a valid insurance policy in place that meets the state’s requirements.
Supplementary, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (SUM):
SUM motorist coverage will help to protect you in the event that you are hit by a driver who has either no insurance or not enough insurance to cover the damages for which he or she is responsible. In the event that you sustained an injury as a result of an accident, SUM coverage will help to cover medical expenses once your no-fault and the at-fault driver’s insurance limits have been exhausted.
In New York, insurance carriers are required to offer this coverage. It is important that you elect SUM coverage and not opt out of it. Any serious accident can result in substantial medical bills, well over the other driver’s policy limits. Regularly reviewing and increasing your SUM coverage limits can help to prevent you from paying out of pocket in the event you’re involved in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
If you opt out of SUM coverage, then you are required to obtain a mandatory $25,000/50,000 Uninsured Motorist (UM coverage). Unfortunately, this coverage will only protect you in the event the other vehicle has no insurance and (unlike SUM coverage) it will not protect you in the event that they have insufficient coverage.
Supplemental Spousal Liability Insurance Coverage
Effective August 2023, supplemental spousal liability coverage is now added to all auto insurance policies in New York, regardless of your marital status. This coverage, which was previously optional, allows for a married person to recover compensation in the event that he or she is injured during an accident their spouse caused.
This coverage is available at the same limits as your bodily injury policy, and is extremely inexpensive coverage – often times lower than $100 per year. For married couples, this coverage is just another layer of protection in the event bodily injury is sustained from an accident in which your spouse is found to be at fault.
For those who are not married, you will see this coverage added to your policy in 2024. Although you have the option to opt out of the coverage, if it is possible you may get married, you might consider keeping this coverage given its additional protection and affordability.
Medical Payments (Med Pay) Coverage:
Medical payments, or Med Pay, coverage is an optional auto insurance coverage that typically pays $5,000 to $10,000 per person for any medical or dental expenses for both the driver and passengers of a car involved in an accident, regardless of who is found at fault for the accident. Med Pay also covers medical expenses for pedestrians or cyclists hit by a car and passengers on public transport.
In New York, this coverage is often forgotten since all New York drivers are required to carry no-fault coverage up to $50,000. However, Med Pay coverage can work to supplement any existing coverage that you may already have, and it is typically a very cost effective additional layer of protection. Talk to your insurance agent about what amount of Med Pay coverage your carrier may offer.
Rental coverage helps to cover the cost of transportation while your own vehicle is being repaired after an accident, which can take several weeks depending on the severity of your accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident where your vehicle has sustained a fair amount of damage, the daily cost of a rental vehicle can add up.
It’s important to note that you may be required to carry comprehensive insurance in order to also opt in for rental car coverage, but opting into this coverage is typically a minimal investment.
Car Crash? Call Cellino Law
Ensuring that you have adequate insurance coverage is the first step in making sure that you are protected in the event of a car accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies (yes, even your own) can offer lowball settlements to car accident victims in an attempt to avoid a high payout.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, working with a trusted personal injury attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected and you receive fair compensation for your injuries. At Cellino Law, our attorneys are with our clients every step of the way. From determining which coverages apply or appealing claim denials, to negotiating a fair offer with the insurance companies, our attorneys work diligently to ensure our clients receive the best possible outcome.
Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.
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