UPDATED: Feb 9, 2020
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Uninsured Motorists 6.1
When New York State comes to mind, we tend to think of its biggest city, which is the largest in the U.S., at 8.6 million people.
But, there’s more to the Empire State. Beyond the traffic jams, the city lights, and the skyscrapers, there’s lots to love, such as the beauty of Niagara Falls near the Canadian border, hiking in the northern Adirondacks, and the country roads and farm festivals of Central New York.
You’ll find plenty of options to suit your needs and budget — just like car insurance. With so many options, you can feel a little confused and wonder where to turn. Who has the best rates? Which company offers the most coverage?
We made this guide to answer those and many other auto insurance-related questions. Among the information it offers is New York car insurance rates, companies, the factors that set prices, laws, and traffic statistics.
If you’re ready to dive in, let’s get started. If you want to start exploring rates, enter your zip code in the tool above.
New York Insurance Coverage & Rates
Figuring out the car insurance you need can be frustrating. You may look at several prices, coverage options, and company reviews and still feel like you’re starting at square one.
Never fear! This comprehensive car insurance guide is here to help you determine the best coverage for your budget, what affects rates, and interesting statistics about some of the problems insurance is supposed to protect you from.
Are you ready to learn more? Let’s get scrolling.
New York’s Car Culture
Like car owners elsewhere, New Yorkers tend to drive cars that are more practical than stylish. Across Central New York, these cars include the Toyota Camry and the Honda Civic, and lots of pickups and SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Silverado, the Toyota RAV4, and the Nissan Rogue.
Though New York City itself revered the car in a 1951 Museum of Modern Art exhibit that showcased its art and design elements, with the vast transportation system, city residents don’t always own cars.
Car racing is a popular Empire State pastime, with the home of the Watkins Glen International race track in upstate New York and several more racing ovals and road courses statewide.
New York Minimum Coverage
New York is a no-fault insurance state. That means that if another driver causes an accident that harms you, you must file a claim with your own insurance company to pay your medical bills and damages.
As such, the state requires drivers to have minimum liability insurance to pay for accident claims. Per New York law, your insurance coverage must meet these requirements:
- $25,000 of liability coverage for bodily injury per person when you cause a car accident
- $50,000 of total liability bodily injury coverage per accident you cause regardless of how many people are injured
- $10,000 of liability coverage for property damage (per accident you cause)
- $50,000 in no-fault (personal injury protection) coverage
- Uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury you sustain, limit to match bodily injury coverage
NOLO states that New York’s no-fault car insurance system applies to personal injuries from car accidents, not vehicle damage. You can, however, file a claim for vehicle damage (or a total loss) against the driver responsible, without limitations.
One way to avoid filing a potential lawsuit is to buy more coverage than the minimum required to pay for all your injuries or vehicle damage. Otherwise, you may have to pay or file a case for compensation.
Forms of Financial Responsibility
New York law requires drivers to carry proof of insurance or financial responsibility. Drivers who can’t provide proof will have their licenses suspended.
Acceptable forms of proof of insurance are:
- A paper or electronic insurance ID card
- A copy of your current car’s insurance policy
- A valid insurance binder (a temporary form of car insurance)
- Surety bond
- Register as a self-insurer (if you own 25 vehicles or more)
- Cash/security deposit of $150,000 or more with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Premiums as a Percentage of Income
In 2014, the average New Yorker’s disposable — after-tax — income was $47,446. Compare that to the average cost of an annual full coverage premium, $1,327.82. Nearly 3 percent of residents’ annual income goes to car insurance.
Americans themselves pay an average of $981.77 yearly for full coverage. New York’s premiums cost nearly $400 more.
Compared to neighboring Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, only residents in the last three states paid less than New Yorkers. Massachusetts and Connecticut residents paid about $200.00 less for premiums than those of New York, while Vermonters paid average annual premiums of $746.79, a savings of over $600.00.
Auto insurance premiums rose slightly everywhere, usually by $50 – $100, from 2012 – 2014.
How much of your income goes to car insurance? Try our free calculator below and see.
New York Core Coverage
The below data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shows the price ranges from liability to full coverage. Expect the cost of premiums to continue to rise in 2019 and beyond.
|Core Car Insurance Coverage in New York|
The premiums tend to cost more than the national average, which isn’t too surprising given that the Empire State ranks as the fourth-most-expensive for full coverage insurance.
As we mentioned earlier, New York has minimum insurance coverage requirements.
If possible, the insurance experts suggest buying more than the minimum amount required. If you want more information about additional coverage, you’ll find it in the next two sections.
|Additional Liability Coverage in New York||Loss Ratio - 2012||Loss Ratio - 2013||Loss Ratio - 2014|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||66.08%||68.92%||66.66%|
|Medical Payments (Med Pay)||49.41%||53.61%||64.49%|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage||53.69%||53.84%||47.49%|
A loss ratio measures how much a company pays in claims to how much it earns in premiums.
Looking at the percentages, if a company has a loss ratio of over 100 percent, it pays more in claims than it earns. However, if the loss ratio is too low, at 40 percent, the company pays fewer claims. Companies with ratios that aren’t too high or too low have a balance of profits versus losses.
As shown above, the loss ratios from 2012 – 2014 are low, which could mean insurance companies don’t pay all the claims they receive. PIP coverage requirements could affect these numbers, as insurance companies may pay those claims first.
New York ranks 50th in the U.S. for uninsured drivers — 6.10% of Empire State drivers are uninsured. Though the number is fairly low compared to other states (because New York requires it), you don’t want to be one of them. The state requires this coverage as part of its “no-fault” insurance system, and it helps pay for damages uninsured or underinsured motorists may cause.
Add-Ons, Endorsements, Riders
Below is more coverage you can add to a basic car insurance plan.
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Pay-as-You Drive or Usage-Based Insurance
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage
- Classic Car Insurance
Among Pay-As-You-Go or Usage-Based insurers, Allstate’s Drivewise program operates in New York. Drivers who qualify may receive discounts of up to 30 percent. The program tracks users’ driving habits through a telematics device installed in the vehicle’s diagnostic port.
If you avoid speeds of 80 miles per hour or above and drive less than 30 miles daily outside of 10 p.m. – 4 a.m. without hard braking, you may get the maximum discount. Users must operate their vehicles at least 90 days over six months to qualify for the discount.
Male vs. Female Rates in New York
We’ve partnered with Quadrant to bring you the data below. It’s based on coverage the state population has purchased, and it includes rates for high-risk drivers and those who choose to buy more than the state minimum. That covers other types of insurance the state doesn’t require.
|Company||Married 35-year old female||Married 35-year old male||Married 60-year old female||Married 60-year old male||Single 17-year old female||Single 17-year old male||Single 25-year old female||Single 25-year old male|
Males in New York generally pay more than females for car insurance, but married men, who are less of a risk to insure, pay almost the same as married women.
Agewise, insurers tend to charge drivers 25 and younger, often with less experience than older drivers, more for premiums.
Rates in New York’s 10 Largest Cities
Below are prices in the 10 most and least-expensive Empire State cities.
|Ten Most Expensive Cities||Ten Least Expensive Cities|
|City||Zip Code||Average Rate||City||Zip Code||Average Rates|
|South Ozone Park||11420||$8,881.66||Elmira||14904||$2,788.48|
|Springfield Gardens||11413||$8,874.63||Painted Post||14870||$2,761.36|
|South Richmond Hill||11419||$8,831.46||Big Flats||14814||$2,757.47|
From the most expensive city — or borough — Brooklyn, to the least expensive, Corning, the price difference is $8,000.
Cheapest Rates by Zip Code
As we touched upon above, your location can affect your rates. Cities and towns with higher populations and accident rates are riskier to insure, so rates there may cost more. Here are the most and least expensive rates by zip code.
|25 Most Expensive Zip Codes in New York||City||Average by Zip Code||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|11225||BROOKLYN||$10,427.03||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$11,586.05||GEICO||$5,780.57||USAA||$7,853.79|
|11216||BROOKLYN||$10,399.95||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$11,586.05||GEICO||$5,780.57||Progressive||$7,438.55|
|11221||BROOKLYN||$10,399.36||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$11,617.80||GEICO||$5,780.57||Progressive||$7,402.08|
|11208||BROOKLYN||$10,105.99||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$11,613.31||GEICO||$5,780.57||Progressive||$7,844.91|
|11206||BROOKLYN||$9,964.09||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$11,642.66||GEICO||$5,780.57||Progressive||$6,585.30|
|11226||BROOKLYN||$9,920.06||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$11,144.66||GEICO||$5,300.14||Progressive||$8,159.70|
|11237||BROOKLYN||$9,602.92||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$11,621.22||GEICO||$4,510.55||Progressive||$7,437.15|
|11238||BROOKLYN||$9,569.83||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$11,586.05||GEICO||$4,187.43||Progressive||$7,438.55|
|11241||BROOKLYN||$9,410.20||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$10,797.26||GEICO||$3,457.75||Progressive||$7,489.08|
|11243||BROOKLYN||$9,410.20||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$10,797.26||GEICO||$3,457.75||Progressive||$7,489.08|
|11205||BROOKLYN||$9,370.09||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$11,180.76||GEICO||$4,510.55||Progressive||$6,126.60|
|11242||BROOKLYN||$9,364.53||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$10,797.26||GEICO||$3,457.75||Progressive||$7,489.08|
|25 Least Expensive Zip Codes in New York||City||Average by Zip Codes||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|14814||BIG FLATS||$2,757.47||Liberty Mutual||$3,932.34||Allstate||$3,194.85||GEICO||$1,756.70||Progressive||$2,084.94|
|14870||PAINTED POST||$2,761.36||Liberty Mutual||$3,958.87||Allstate||$3,194.85||GEICO||$1,814.79||Progressive||$2,367.49|
|14871||PINE CITY||$2,789.24||Liberty Mutual||$3,958.87||Allstate||$3,194.85||GEICO||$1,756.70||Progressive||$2,297.44|
|14816||BREESPORT||$2,873.78||Liberty Mutual||$3,932.34||State Farm||$3,505.38||GEICO||$1,756.70||Nationwide||$2,385.41|
|13612||BLACK RIVER||$2,881.46||Liberty Mutual||$4,420.81||Allstate||$3,496.52||GEICO||$1,921.00||USAA||$2,165.68|
|13606||ADAMS CENTER||$2,884.39||Liberty Mutual||$4,420.81||Allstate||$3,496.52||GEICO||$1,921.00||USAA||$2,165.68|
|13685||SACKETS HARBOR||$2,886.18||Liberty Mutual||$4,420.81||Allstate||$3,496.52||GEICO||$1,921.00||USAA||$2,165.68|
|13656||LA FARGEVILLE||$2,887.98||Liberty Mutual||$4,420.81||Allstate||$3,496.52||GEICO||$1,921.00||USAA||$2,165.68|
|13640||WELLESLEY ISLAND||$2,888.38||Liberty Mutual||$4,420.81||Allstate||$3,496.52||GEICO||$1,921.00||USAA||$2,165.68|
|13607||ALEXANDRIA BAY||$2,888.77||Liberty Mutual||$4,420.81||Allstate||$3,496.52||GEICO||$1,921.00||USAA||$2,165.68|
Cheapest Rates by City
This is the same data by the city name. Where does your city rank?
|10 Most Expensive Cities in New York||Average by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|Brooklyn||$9,347.06||Liberty Mutual||$17,558.88||State Farm||$10,797.26||GEICO||$3,940.28||Progressive||$6,859.27|
|Saint Albans||$9,000.94||Liberty Mutual||$12,883.56||Travelers||$10,495.31||GEICO||$5,686.55||USAA||$7,089.23|
|Rosedale||$8,885.68||Liberty Mutual||$12,883.56||State Farm||$9,995.10||GEICO||$5,287.14||USAA||$7,089.23|
|South Ozone Park||$8,881.66||Liberty Mutual||$12,883.56||Travelers||$10,607.53||GEICO||$5,686.55||USAA||$7,089.23|
|Springfield Gardens||$8,874.63||Liberty Mutual||$12,883.56||State Farm||$9,906.69||GEICO||$5,287.14||USAA||$7,089.23|
|South Richmond Hill||$8,831.46||Liberty Mutual||$12,883.56||Travelers||$10,607.53||GEICO||$5,287.14||USAA||$7,089.23|
|Arverne||$8,802.18||Liberty Mutual||$12,883.56||State Farm||$9,799.24||GEICO||$5,287.14||USAA||$7,089.23|
|Howard Beach||$8,739.15||Liberty Mutual||$12,883.56||Travelers||$9,817.66||GEICO||$5,287.14||USAA||$7,089.23|
Many of the most expensive boroughs and cities are in and around Brooklyn.
|10 Least Expensive Cities in New York||Average by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|Big Flats||$2,757.50||Liberty Mutual||$3,932.34||Allstate||$3,194.85||GEICO||$1,756.70||Progressive||$2,070.62|
|Coopers Plains||$2,761.36||Liberty Mutual||$3,958.87||Allstate||$3,194.85||GEICO||$1,814.79||Progressive||$2,367.49|
|Pine City||$2,789.24||Liberty Mutual||$3,958.87||Allstate||$3,194.85||GEICO||$1,756.70||Progressive||$2,297.44|
|Breesport||$2,873.77||Liberty Mutual||$3,932.34||State Farm||$3,505.38||GEICO||$1,756.70||Nationwide||$2,385.41|
Best New York Car Insurance Companies
With so many car insurers out there, it can be hard to determine which one offers the right coverage. Price may affect your decision, but there are other factors to consider, such as coverage levels.
This section will help you evaluate insurance companies based on their financial ratings, reviews, and complaints.
So, read on to find out more.
The Largest Companies’ Financial Rating
A.M. Best ranks companies based on their financial strength. And, as we discussed above, the loss ratio is part of that. These are their ratings for some of the top companies.
State Farm and USAA are among the companies to receive the highest rating of “A++,” which shows that they remain profitable despite paying several claims regularly.
Companies with Best Ratings
J.D. Power’s U.S. Auto Insurance Study measures car insurance customers’ overall satisfaction.
New York Central Mutual was the only company to receive five Power Circles, which means that it’s “among the best.”
Companies with the Most Complaints in New York
Every company gets complaints, but a true measure of customer service lies in how it handles them. The data below shows complaints about the top New York insurers in 2017.
|Company Name||National Median|
|Allstate Insurance Group||1||.5||163|
|State Farm Group||1||.44||1482|
|Liberty Mutual Group||1||5.95||222|
|NYCM Insurance Group||1||0||2|
|Nationwide Corp Group||1||.28||25|
|Amtrust NGH Group||1||0||2|
At 44 percent, State Farm had the highest complaints and complaint ratio, but these numbers are fairly low compared to the number of customers they serve.
Cheapest Companies in New York
Below are the rates for the top insurers compared to the state average prices.
Geico comes out on top as the cheapest company, at almost 77 percent less than the state average.
Commute Rates by Company
With some insurers, the longer your commute, the more you’ll pay.
|Company||10 Mile Commute||25 Mile Commute|
Nationwide, Progressive, and Travelers don’t factor distance into their premiums. Of the insurers who do, USAA had a price difference of less than $100 for 10- versus 25-mile commutes. Many of the rest charged as much as $150 or more from the shorter to the longer distance.
Coverage Level Rates by Company
Let’s see how rates vary among the top insurers for high, medium, and low coverage.
|Company||Low Coverage||Medium Coverage||High Coverage|
USAA had among the lowest price difference, at roughly $25 from the lowest to the highest coverage, while Allstate had among the highest difference (about $800).
Credit History Rates by Company
Your credit score also affects your rates. Generally, consumers with excellent credit pay less than those who have poor credit.
Geico had the lowest rates for consumers with poor credit.
According to Experian, in 2018, New York’s average credit score was 688, which is lower than the national score of 704. New Yorkers own an average of 3.34 credit cards and have over $6,000 of credit card debt.
Driving Record Rates by Company
Your driving record is one of the most crucial factors affecting your insurance rates.
|Company||Clean Record||With 1 Accident||With 1 DUI||With 1 Speeding Violation|
Nationwide has lower rates for drivers who have been in one accident compared to other insurers. Even if you have one speeding ticket, you may end up paying as much as $1,000 more for car insurance.
Largest Car Insurance Companies in New York
This is how the top insurers compare by loss ratio, market share, and direct premiums written.
|Company||Direct Premiums Written||Market Share|
|Allstate Insurance Group||$1,843,730||13.90%|
|State Farm Group||$1,758,370||13.26%|
|Liberty Mutual Group||$731,396||5.52%|
|NYCM Insurance Group||$327,366||2.47%|
|Nationwide Corp Group||$302,854||2.28%|
|Amtrust NGH Group||$291,750||2.20%|
As with other data we’ve already looked at, Geico comes out on top. It has the largest market share and has written the most premiums.
Number of Insurers by State
Domestic insurers were formed in New York law, while foreign insurers were founded out of state. Out of a total of 882 insurers who operate in the Empire State, 173 are domestic and 709 are foreign.
New York Laws
The Empire State has enacted lots of laws. It can be hard to keep track of them all, whether they cover car insurance, vehicle licensing, safety, or driving. We’ve simplified the complex aspects of the laws and will cover the ones that you need to pay attention to most.
So read on to learn more about the laws you should obey as a responsible citizen.
Car Insurance Laws
In this section, we’ll go over what sets New York car insurance rates and the laws governing windshield replacement, high-risk drivers, and fraud.
How New York Car Insurance Rates are Determined
The State of New York and the Department of Financial Services sets insurance rates based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners‘ standards.
Insurance companies must get prior approval from the state insurance department before filing rates and forms in New York. For prices, the department requires prior approval only if they are a certain percentage above or sometimes below the rates the company has filed before.
New York lets you replace a windshield with aftermarket parts if they are “equal or exceed the comparable OEM crash part in terms of fit, form, finish quality, and performance.” If you use them, the information must appear on the estimate.
Insurers may also offer zero-deductible policies for windshield glass replacement. Comprehensive coverage, which covers damage from “acts of God” such as vandalism, theft, fire, and natural disasters, may also cover windshield replacement.
If you’ve been convicted of several driving offenses, such as driving without insurance or a DUI, insurance companies may consider you a high risk to insure. That may make it harder to get insured through the open marketplace.
But, “high-risk” drivers have an alternative.
The New York Automobile Insurance Plan (NYAIP) will cover motorists who have tried and failed to get automobile insurance within the past 60 days at rates not above those applicable under the plan. The coverage, however, isn’t cheap. The average NYAIP premium in 2012 was $2,283.
Though New York has a program to help high-risk drivers, it doesn’t have one for low-income drivers.
California, Hawaii, and New Jersey are the only states with government-funded programs to help low-income drivers pay for their car insurance.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in New York
Misrepresenting facts on insurance claims, submitting false claims, and faking accidents are among the most common forms of car insurance fraud.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), insurance applicants, policyholders, third-party claimants, and insurance professionals are among those who commit fraud.
- Fifth degree: Committing any fraudulent act to get insurance payments improperly, which is a Class A misdemeanor (176.10).
- Fourth degree: Committing insurance fraud and wrongfully receiving assets of more than $1,000 is insurance fraud, which is a Class E felony (176.15)
- Third degree: Carrying out insurance fraud and unfairly gaining $3,000 or more in assets is insurance fraud, which is a Class D felony (176.20).
- Second degree: Committing insurance fraud and getting $50,000 or more of assets is insurance fraud, which is a Class C felony (176.25).
- First degree: Committing insurance fraud and obtaining $1 million or more in assets is insurance fraud, which is a Class B felony. (176.30).
- Aggravated insurance fraud: Committing another act of insurance fraud within five years of a prior conviction, which is a Class D felony (176.35).
If you’ve been a victim of insurance fraud, you may file a complaint online with the New York Attorney General’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the time you have left to file a legal claim. In New York state, drivers have three years to file a personal injury or a property damage insurance claim or lawsuit.
Evidence can degrade and witnesses can be hard to keep track of over time, so it’s best to file sooner rather than later.
Vehicle Licensing Laws
Here we’ll cover the laws that control getting and maintaining a license to drive in the Empire State. This includes the recent Real ID law, penalties, and driver licensing requirements.
Starting October 1, 2020, to comply with the federal REAL ID Act, you’ll need a REAL ID driver’s license, permit, or identification card to board domestic flights or enter federal buildings.
A valid U.S. Passport is already REAL ID-compliant; you can use it to board a flight.
To apply for a REAL ID, you can visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Below are the original or certified documents the DMV suggests you bring:
- Proof of identity, such as a valid license, birth certificate, or passport, with your full first, middle (if applicable), and last name. Your name, as it appears on your proof of identity, will be displayed on your card as required by federal law. If the name on your application doesn’t match the one on your identity, lawful status, and social security proofs, you must bring court- or government-issued proof. This includes a marriage license, divorce decree, adoption, or court order.
- Proof of Social Security Number or Social Security Number ineligibility. If you have a valid NY license, permit or ID card, you must bring your original social security card or W-2 with full SSN. If you do not have a New York State driver license or identification card, you must bring your Social Security Card or a letter from the Social Security Administration proving your ineligibility to have a social security number.
- Proof of your date of birth.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residency, or temporary lawful status in the U.S.
- Two different proofs of New York State residence such as a utility bill, bank statement, or mortgage statement (P.O. Box not acceptable). This address will be displayed on your card.
The New York DMV video below goes into more detail about REAL ID:
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
Whenever law enforcement pulls you over, you must show your license, registration, and insurance.
- A fine of up to $1500 if you’re involved in an accident and a $750 civil penalty
- License and registration suspension for up to one year if you’re without insurance after 90 days and can’t pay the below fees
If you let your insurance lapse, the DMV will charge you per day at the following rates:
- For 1 – 30 days: $8 per day.
- For 31 – 60 days: $10 per day.
- For 61 – 90 days: $12 per day.
A lapse in insurance and a conviction for driving without insurance can cost you up to $2,400.
Teen Driver Laws
In New York, you must be at least 16 years and six months old to drive without adult supervision. Below are the requirements for getting a learner’s license, per New York’s graduated licensing law.
|Requirements for |
Getting a Learners
|Mandatory Holding Period||6 months|
|Minimum Supervised Driving Time||50 hours, 15 of which must be at night|
Young drivers with a learner’s permit must follow these rules:
|New York Learners |
|Nighttime restrictions||9 p.m.-5 a.m. except for NYC (unsupervised driving prohibited at all times) and Long Island (limited daytime unsupervised driving)|
|Passenger restrictions (family members excepted unless noted otherwise)||no more than 1 passenger younger than 21|
These are the requirements to follow to receive a full license:
|Minimum age |
may be lifted:
|Nighttime restrictions||until age 17 with driver education; until age 18 without (min. age: 17)|
|Passenger restrictions||until age 17 with driver education; until age 18 without (min. age: 17)|
Older Driver License Renewal Procedures
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these are the requirements for older drivers to renew their licenses:
- Older drivers can renew their licenses every eight years
- They must show proof of adequate vision at every renewal
- The DMV allows renewal by mail or online at every renewal, without restrictions.
If you’ve moved from out of state, you must apply for a New York driver’s license at a DMV office within 30 days after you establish your residency.
Your out-of-state license must meet the following requirements:
- have a picture
- be valid or expired for less than 24 months
- have been issued at least six months before your New York license application
You can’t exchange your license if it is or has been:
- suspended or revoked
- lost or stolen
- a hardship or “employment only” license
- non-renewable or non-transferable
Your license is valid for five years from the day it was issued.
The news report below details a new Empire State law that allows undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses:
License Renewal Procedures
The IIHS reports that drivers with New York licenses must renew them every eight years and provide proof of adequate vision at every renewal. They may renew online or through the mail.
Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)
NOLO states that in New York, reckless driving involves driving in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of a public highway, or unreasonably endangers other drivers.
Reckless driving is generally considered a misdemeanor in New York. These are the potential penalties:
- First offense: up to 30 days in jail and/or $100 – $300 in fines
- Second offense (within 18 months): up to 90 days in prison and/or $100 – $525 in fines
- Third offense (in 18 months): up to 180 days in jail and/or $100 – $1,125 in fines
One reckless driving conviction can add five points on your driving record and increase your insurance premiums.
Rules of the Road
Below are some more driving laws. These laws regulate seat-belt and car-seat use, when you should keep right and move over, speed limits, ridesharing, and automation.
Fault vs. No-Fault
As a “no-fault” state, drivers must file claims with their own insurance company, even when they’re not responsible for an accident. The Empire State follows a doctrine of comparative fault for personal injury cases.
This means that a judge or a jury assigns a percentage of fault or responsibility to each party involved in an accident. For example, if a plaintiff who ran a red light was 60 percent at fault, and the other driver, who was speeding, was 40 percent responsible, the judge would reduce the plaintiff’s award by 60 percent.
This law firm video goes over the basics of the comparative negligence law:
Seat Belt & Car Seat Laws
Below are the seat-belt and car-seat laws in the Empire State.
|Seat Belt Laws in New York||Details|
|Effective Since||December 1, 1984|
|Primary Enforcement||yes; effective 12/01/84|
|Age/Seats Applicable||16+ years in front seat|
|1st Offense Max Fine||$50|
Follow these car-seat laws to keep your child safe.
|New York Car Seat Requirements||Details|
|Type of Car Seat Required||Age|
|Child Booster Seat||younger than 2 years or until a child outgrows the manufacturer's top height or weight recommendations in a rear-facing child restraint; younger than 4 years unless they weigh more than 40 pounds and are seated where there is no available lap/shoulder belt; 4 through 7 years unless they are seated where there is no available lap/shoulder belt(effective|
|Adult Belt Permissible||8 through 15 years; children who weigh more than 40 pounds or children 4 through 7 years in a seating position where there is no available lap/shoulder belt|
|Preference for Rear Seat||law states no preference for rear seat|
|Maximum Base Fine 1st Offense||$100|
Regarding riding in the cargo areas of pickup trucks, it’s illegal in New York except in the following situations:
- If the trip is five miles or less.
- If the trip is five miles or more and if one-third or fewer of the passengers are standing, if suitable seats are securely attached, or there are side rails and a tailgate.
- If the trip is five miles or more and if fewer than five people aged 17 or younger are in the cargo area or if at least one person 18 or older is there.
Keep Right & Move Over Laws
If you drive slower than the average speed of traffic in New York, you must keep right.
However, according to AAA, when an emergency vehicle, tow truck, or a maintenance vehicle with flashing lights is traveling in the same direction, you must use care, reduce speed, and move to a nearby lane.
These are the speed limits on New York roads.
|Type of Roadway||Speed Limit|
|Rural Interstates||65 mph|
|Urban Interstates||65 mph|
|Other Limited Access Roads||65 mph|
|Other Roads||55 mph|
If you want to drive for rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft, you must have a license from the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Automation on the Road
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), New York is among the states that are currently testing automated or driverless vehicles. The tests require operators to be licensed and inside the car. They must also have liability insurance of $5,000,000.
The news report below explains more about driverless cars in the Empire State:
New York State has several safety laws that control Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and marijuana-impaired and distracted driving. Let’s explore the penalties involved.
Driving while under the influence (DUI) is a crime in New York. Below are some facts about the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit and the different levels of offenses:
|DUI Laws in New York||Details|
|Name for Offense||Driving While Intoxicated (DWI); High BAC Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (ADWI)|
|BAC Limit||0.05 - DWAI, 0.08 - DUI|
|High BAC Limit||0.18|
|Criminal Status||DWAI:1st traffic violation, 2nd+ misdemeanors; DWI: 1st misdemeanor, 2nd in 10 years class E felony, 3rd+ in 10 years class D felony|
|Look Back Period||10 years for 2nd offense, 15 years for 3rd+|
The table below reveals more details about DUI penalties and fines:
|DUI Penalities||ALS or Revocation||Imprisonment||Fine|
|1st Offense||revoked for at least 6 months; ADWI: 1 year min||no minimum, but up to 1 year; ADWI: up to 1 year||$500-$1000; ADWI: $1000-$2500|
|2nd Offense||2nd in 10 years: 1 year min; ADWI: 18 months min||5 days minimum. 2nd in 10 years: up to 4 years; ADWI: up to 4 years||2nd in 10 years: $1000-$5000; ADWI: $1000-$5000|
|3rd Offense||3rd in 10 years: 1 year min; ADWI: 18 months min||10 days minimum. 3rd in 10 years: up to 7 years; ADWI: up to 7 years||3rd in 10 years: $2000-$10000; ADWI: $2000-$10000|
These laws are strict for a reason and act as a deterrent. The safest thing to do to prevent severe injuries and death is to not drink and drive.
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
New York doesn’t have any specific laws about marijuana-impaired driving. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get caught for impaired driving or driving under the influence.
Recreational marijuana use is illegal in New York, but the state legislature has considered legalizing it.
Distracted Driving Laws
With the rise of the smartphone, distracted driving has become more of a road hazard. Below are the New York laws controlling cell-phone use while driving.
|Hand-held ban||Young drivers all cellphone ban||Texting ban||Enforcement|
|All Drivers||Not a law||All Drivers||Primary|
AAA states that “no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while the vehicle is in motion unless that person is using a hands-free device. Text messaging while driving is prohibited for all drivers.”
These laws are primary enforcement, which means that a police offer can pull you over for using your cell phone.
As shown in this video, the SafeNY campaign seeks to curtail distracted driving:
Driving in New York
Sometimes it’s hard to handle driving hazards, especially in high-traffic areas like New York City, which is a reason why some people take public transportation.
The driving and safety laws we’ve covered are meant to protect you and others, yet the statistics make the dangers seem even more real. Now, we’ll look at statistics regarding vehicle theft, traffic fatalities, and EMS response times.
So, let’s find out about some of the biggest risks on the road.
Vehicle Theft in New York
Some vehicles are more popular to steal than others. These are the top 10 most-stolen vehicles in the Empire State.
|Type of Vehicle||Model Year||Number Stolen|
|Ford Econoline E350||2011||339|
|Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee||2015||263|
As we mentioned earlier, many New Yorkers drive practical cars, such as the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, which top the list.
Vehicle Theft by City
These 2017 FBI crime statistics reveal which cities in New York have the most vehicle thefts. How does your city rank?
|Addison Town and Village||0|
|Alexandria Bay Village||0|
|Amity Town and Belmont Village||0|
|Ballston Spa Village||1|
|Blooming Grove Town||8|
|Briarcliff Manor Village||0|
|Camillus Town and Village||8|
|Cape Vincent Village||0|
|Cayuga Heights Village||0|
|Central Square Village||0|
|Centre Island Village||1|
|Dobbs Ferry Village||1|
|East Aurora-Aurora Town||2|
|East Fishkill Town||10|
|East Greenbush Town||7|
|East Hampton Town||4|
|East Hampton Village||2|
|East Rochester Village||2|
|Elmira Heights Village||0|
|Floral Park Village||4|
|Fort Edward Village||0|
|Fort Plain Village||1|
|Garden City Village||6|
|Glen Park Village||0|
|Great Neck Estates Village||0|
|Green Island Village||4|
|Greenwood Lake Village||5|
|Hoosick Falls Village||1|
|Hudson Falls Village||2|
|Huntington Bay Village||0|
|Hyde Park Town||1|
|Johnson City Village||22|
|Kings Point Village||2|
|Lake Placid Village||4|
|Lake Success Village||0|
|Le Roy Village||0|
|Lewiston Town and Village||12|
|Lloyd Harbor Village||1|
|Macedon Town and Village||3|
|Mount Hope Town||2|
|Mount Morris Village||3|
|Mount Pleasant Town||0|
|New Berlin Town||0|
|New Castle Town||1|
|New Hartford Town and Village||5|
|New Paltz Town and Village||1|
|New Windsor Town||7|
|New York Mills Village||1|
|North Castle Town||2|
|North Greenbush Town||9|
|North Syracuse Village||3|
|Nunda Town and Village||0|
|Ocean Beach Village||2|
|Old Brookville Village||2|
|Old Westbury Village||1|
|Orchard Park Town||5|
|Oyster Bay Cove Village||1|
|Pelham Manor Village||13|
|Penn Yan Village||0|
|Pine Plains Town||0|
|Port Byron Village||0|
|Port Chester Village||18|
|Port Dickinson Village||2|
|Pound Ridge Town||1|
|Red Hook Village||0|
|Rockville Centre Village||8|
|Rouses Point Village||0|
|Rye Brook Village4||5|
|Sackets Harbor Village||0|
|Sag Harbor Village||0|
|Sands Point Village||0|
|Saranac Lake Village||1|
|Seneca Falls Town||5|
|Shelter Island Town||0|
|Sleepy Hollow Village||1|
|Sodus Point Village||0|
|South Glens Falls Village||4|
|South Nyack Village||0|
|Spring Valley Village||13|
|St. Johnsville Village||1|
|Stony Point Town||5|
|Tupper Lake Village||3|
|Wappingers Falls Village||0|
|Waterford Town and Village4||3|
|Watkins Glen Village||0|
|Webster Town and Village||12|
|West Carthage Village||1|
|Westhampton Beach Village||0|
|West Seneca Town||15|
Road Fatalities in New York
Here we’ll examine the fatal crashes on the road and potential contributing factors, including weather and light conditions, speeding, and alcohol impairment. This data comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
But first, let’s see which Empire State highway is the most deadly.
Most Fatal Highway in New York
According to Geotab, over the past decade, 156 crashes that led to deaths have occurred along Interstate 87 (I-87) from New York City to Montreal, Quebec in Canada.
Fatal Crashes by Weather & Light Conditions
The table below shows how many fatal accidents happened in different weather and light conditions in New York.
|Weather Condition||Daylight||Dark, but Lighted||Dark||Dawn or Dusk||Other / Unknown|
Despite the dangers of rain, snow, sleet, and darkness, most of the fatalities occurred in normal daylight conditions.
Fatalities (All Crashes) by County
Let’s see how many fatal crashes took place in each Empire State county.
As you might expect, many of the fatalities occurred in more populated counties, such as Suffolk.
These numbers reveal how many traffic deaths happened in rural versus urban areas of New York.
Despite the remoteness of rural areas, the number of crash deaths between rural and urban areas was almost even from 2008 – 2017.
Fatalities by Person Type
These are the fatalities by type of vehicle and transportation used in New York.
|Light Truck - Pickup||59||49||49||70||47|
|Light Truck - Utility||93||90||113||91||119|
|Light Truck - Van||41||26||41||33||33|
|Light Truck - Other||0||0||1||0||1|
|Bicyclist and Other Cyclist||40||46||36||39||46|
Passenger cars were involved in the most accidents, while pedestrian deaths weren’t far behind.
Fatalities by Crash Type
This is more information about the types of vehicles and the accidents that led to fatalities from 2013 – 2017.
|Involving a Large Truck||118||98||126||106||121|
|Involving a Rollover||160||144||160||144||127|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||580||509||513||471||450|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)||467||377||419||385||373|
During that five-year timeframe, most of the crashes involved single vehicles and roadway departures.
Five-Year Trend for the Top 10 Counties
These are the numbers of fatalities in the most populated New York counties from 2013 – 2017.
|New York County||45||39||28||48||38|
Generally, these statistics show that the higher the population, the more traffic fatalities tend to occur in a given county.
Fatalities Involving Speed by County
Speed is among the many factors involved in crash deaths.
Fortunately, few speeding-related deaths have happened throughout New York counties.
Fatalities In Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver
Another major contributor to crashes in New York is alcohol consumption.
Suffolk and Queens Counties were among those with the highest alcohol-related fatalities.
Teen Drinking & Driving
Let’s look at the trends in underage drinking in New York.
|DUI Arrest (Under 18 years old)||DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million People||Rank|
Fortunately, New York is among the states with the lowest number of alcohol-impaired fatalities for those under age 21, ranking 46th out of 50 states. Nationally, according to The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, the average is 1.2 deaths per 100,000.
EMS Response Time
These are the EMS response times for crashes in rural and urban areas.
|Details||Time of Crash to EMS|
|EMS Notification to|
|EMS Arrival at Scene|
to Hospital Arrival
|Time of Crash to Hospital|
|Total Fatal Crashes|
|Rural||3 minutes||11 minutes||40 minutes||50 minutes||427|
|Urban||2 minutes||5 minutes||28 minutes||33 minutes||506|
Response times in rural parts of New York were, unfortunately, three times higher than those in cities and suburbs. This may be due to difficulties getting to more remote areas.
The below information from Data USA reveals how many cars New Yorkers own on average, the forms of transportation they take in their commutes, and the average length of those commutes.
The gray bars represent the U.S. and the orange bars show New York.
Just how many cars do New Yorkers own compared to the country as a whole?
30 percent of New Yorkers own two cars, which is more than 10 percent less than the nationwide average.
Here’s how New Yorkers’ commute times compare to the entire U.S.
New York drivers face a longer commute time (32.2 minutes longer) than the average U.S. driver (25.5 minutes). Nearly 6 percent of New Yorkers have a “super commute” of 90 minutes or more, which is almost double the national average.
Now, let’s see which forms of transportation New Yorkers prefer for their commutes.
Most New Yorkers drive alone; however, especially in major metropolitan areas, like New York City, nearly 30 percent use public transportation.
Traffic Congestion in New York
Now, let’s explore which major New York cities Inrix‘s Traffic Scorecard ranks as the most congested.
|City||2018 World Rank||Hours Lost in Congestion||Cost of Congestion (Per Driver)|
|New York City, NY||40||133||$1,859|
New York City — big surprise — is the 40th-most traffic-congested city in the world. Buffalo comes in at a distant second. Congestion in both cities costs commuters over $1,000 yearly in transportation-related costs, such as gas.
By contrast, the TomTom Traffic Index rates NYC at 42nd worldwide for the worst traffic congestion. The congestion level on highways and non-highways is 36 percent. That percentage increases during peak commute times — 55 percent in the morning and 69 percent in the evening.
In morning traffic, commuters spend an extra 17 minutes in their cars. That time increases in the evening to 21 minutes.
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