Recently, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a new piece of legislation that requires auto insurance providers to provide protection known as supplemental spousal liability insurance to all applicable automobile insurance plans starting August 1, 2023.
So what exactly is this coverage, and how could it be of benefit to you?
Supplemental spousal liability insurance provides bodily injury liability coverage in the event that your spouse is responsible for an accident and you, as a passenger, are injured as a result. In other words, if one spouse causes an accident due to his or her negligence while driving, the other spouse is able to collect compensation from his or her own insurance company due to the driving spouse’s responsibility for the car crash.
Until recently, the insurance company could deny coverage to a spouse even if the insured caused an injury that would generally be covered by bodily injury liability insurance coverage. Prior to the passage of the newest insurance law signed by Gov. Hochul, claims brought by one spouse against the other spouse were not covered unless the insured opted into supplemental spousal liability insurance.
The short answer is: Yes, you can. However, you still need to prove that your spouse was at fault for the accident. Although there may be some hesitancy to file a claim for bodily injury against your own spouse, the fact is that if you were injured through the negligence or fault of your spouse, you should be compensated for your injuries by your and damages from your insurance company just like anyone else.
Since January 1, 2003, auto insurance providers have been required to give notice of the availability of supplemental spousal liability insurance coverage. As the policyholder, you had the option to opt into the additional coverage.
As of August 1, 2023, New York Insurance Law requires auto insurance providers to include supplemental spousal liability insurance into the policy, even for those who are unmarried or single, unless the coverage is explicitly declined by the policyholder in writing. This applies for all new and renewing auto insurance policies.
What Happens If Your Spouse Causes An Accident And You Do Not Have Supplemental Spousal Liability Insurance?
If you declined supplemental spousal liability coverage (which must be submitted in writing to your insurance company), then you will not be able to collect damages in the event that your spouse causes an accident.
However, your no-fault insurance will still cover your medical expenses and lost bills up to $50,000, even if your spouse is either fully or partially at-fault for your injuries.
Changes to insurance laws can be confusing, but the attorneys at Cellino Law are dedicated to understanding new pieces of legislation and the implications they may have on our clients. We have been following this updated law, as it may have a significant impact if a spouse is severely injured or killed in a car crash caused by their partner. If you have been injured in a car crash where you believe your spouse may have been at fault and have questions about how supplemental spousal liability insurance can help you, call us at 800-555-5555.
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