You’ve just moved to New York and you have absolutely no idea what “No-Fault” auto insurance. First, you need to know that New York is one of a dozen states in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, that follow what is known as a no-fault system which, in essence, means that a driver who has suffered injuries in an automobile accident turns to their own insurance company for payment of medical expenses, without regard of who is at fault in the accident.
However, should you wish to step outside the no-fault system in New York, you would have to qualify under the “serious injury” requirements used by the state. In the event you’re involved in an accident in New York, your initial step is to get in contact with your own auto insurance company to start receiving payment for medical expenses from the injuries you’ve sustained. If your injuries are deemed “serious” in accordance to the definition, by law, you may pursue a claim against the at-fault driver responsible for the collision.
Per the state of New York, the “serious injury” threshold has been met, if you incur any of the following injuries in an auto accident.
• Substantial disfigurement
• Bone fracture
• Permanent limited use of body organ or member
• Significant limited use of body function or system
• Substantial full disability for 90 days
Another important fact to note is that the no-fault regulations only apply to personal injuries suffered in an accident. If you have property damage as a result as well, you’re free to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver to recover those costs.
Furthermore, knowing what New York’s minimum auto insurance requirements are may also prove important. Being new to the state doesn’t mean you have to be uninformed, therefore, be aware that New York requires any operator of a motor vehicle on its roads, streets, and highways to carry specific amounts of liability insurance on their vehicle as stated below:
• $25,000 per person personal injury protection (PIP)
• $50,000 per person for wrongful death protection
• $50,000 total per accident personal injury protection
• $100,000 total per accident wrongful death protection
• $10,000 per occurrence property damage protection
Clearly, these are only the minimum coverage amounts mandated by law in New York, and you can carry much higher limits on your policy if you’d like, which is generally recommended. You may want to consider this – if you’re found at-fault and liable for an accident you caused, where the damages force the case beyond the no-fault system and exceed your policy limits, you could be on the financial hook of having to satisfy a large monetary settlement from your own assets.
A final bit of information – New York also requires that all auto insurance policies include uninsured motorist coverage in the amounts of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident. The good news is – underinsured motorist coverage is optional. An example of when uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage would be good to have would be if you’re injured by a driver with no insurance or an underinsured one who doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your medical expenses and any other damages related to the accident. Should this be the case, your own insurance company would then pay for your medical costs up to the limits of you uninsured/underinsured coverage.
As with any kind of insurance system, there are good and bad points to the no-fault insurance system. But, once you get it figured out, you’re more likely to have it grow on you.