The state of New York has mandatory auto insurance, and the Department of Motor Vehicles establishes certain mandatory minimum benefits which auto insurance policies must supply. Mandatory auto insurance means that it is illegal to drive a vehicle on a public road unless it is properly insured.
First, New York is a no-fault auto insurance state. No-fault insurance laws mean that a person’s insurance policy covers their medical and other costs in the event of an accident, regardless of blame. This eliminates the need for the insurance company to investigate and determine official responsibility for a collision involving multiple vehicles, and also, in virtually all cases, eliminates expensive and time-consuming litigation over accidents.
In addition, New York law sets mandatory minimum liability obligations for auto insurance policies. These are minimum limits only. This means that auto insurance suppliers cannot sell insurance policies which fail to meet the standards. It does not mean they cannot sell more substantial and comprehensive coverage (for higher premiums, of course). These minimum limits are $25,000 for injury coverage (and a minimum of $50,000 per incident), $50,000 compensation for death in an auto accident (and $100,000 in death benefits per incident), and $10,000 for property damage per accident.
To qualify to sell auto insurance in the state of New York, an insurance company or insurance provider must be officially registered with the New York Insurance Department. Eligible providers and brokers must then issue New York insurance cards to people who are purchasing auto insurance policies. This proof of insurance must always be in the vehicle and shown to police officers as evidence that the car is legally insured.
Note that New York law requires that all automobiles registered in New York be insured by New York-registered insurance suppliers. This means that if you have a New York-registered car, you cannot purchase out-of-state insurance and continue to operate the car in New York. People who move to New York have one month to re-register their car with the New York DMV and to purchase in-state insurance. People who are already residents and purchase a car elsewhere must fill out new registration paperwork after they return to the state. In all cases, auto insurance and auto registration must be filled out in the same name (or names, in the case of joint ownership). The DMV officially does not issue temporary registration certificates, but it will issue what is known as an “in transit” certificate to move a newly acquired vehicle from one place to another, after which it must be registered.