What is the penalty for driving without insurance in New York?

Driving uninsured in NY is punishable by up to $1,500 in fines, 15 days of imprisonment, and suspension of your license and registration. Penalties are harsher for repeat offenders.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • New Yorkers are required to carry mandatory insurance if they own a vehicle registered in the state
  • Drivers must have a minimum of $25,000/$50,000/$10,000 in third-party liability and also $50,000 of no-fault coverage
  • If your policy is canceled or non-renewed for any reason and you still have valid tags,you’re an uninsured motorist
  • Some penalties for driving without insurance in New York are fines, reinstatement fees,and registration suspensions
  • You can be fined up to $1500 by the traffic court and another assessed another $750 civil fee to reinstate your license

Only about 46 percent of residents in New York City own their own cars. While that’s less than half of the population in the booming Big Apple, the car ownership rates for residents in suburbs around the city are much higher.

Since the rate of car ownership in New York are on the rise, it only makes sense for the rate of uninsured motorists in the state to rise as well.

Carrying auto insurance is mandatory in New York. As long as your car is registered at a local DMV office, you have to comply with the terms written into New York legislation. Any time that you don’t have insurance, you’ll be penalized by the state.

Compare car insurance quotes to find the best rate for the coverage you need. Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool above.

The only way to avoid being penalized by the DMV in NYC is to comply with the law by maintaining your insurance. Here’s what could happen if you don’t:

Penalties for Driving without Car Insurance in New York

Not only is the culture in New York diverse, but the auto insurance laws are as well. It is actually one of the few states where vehicle owners have to carry not just liability insurance, but also no-fault insurance.

It’s not common for both to be required, but since New York has a modified no-fault system in place, you have to protect yourself from all angles by law.

You typically don’t have to worry about being fined or criminally penalized for failing to carry life, disability, or even home insurance.

The rules differ with auto insurance in New York and all other states because you’re putting others at risk when you make the choice to let your insurance lapse. Without coverage, there’s no telling how much you’ll be able to pay towards someone else’s medical bills.

Here are some of the penalties for driving uninsured in New York:

First Offense

No insurance tickets are nothing be joked about. They are more than just traffic infractions, they are misdemeanors in the state of New York that could result in imprisonment depending on your history.

You can be fined for both driving with no insurance and for knowingly let someone drive your car when it’s not insured. Some of the major penalties for driving without insurance, even if it’s only your first offense, include:

  • A fine of between $150 and $1500 will be assessed by the traffic court
  • Imprisonment of up to 15 days (May be imprisoned and fined)
  • Suspension of your driver’s license when you’ve been uninsured for 90 days or more
  • Suspension of your registration for the number of days that you were without insurance
  • Assessment of a fine for eight dollars per day for every day that you’re uninsured if the period is under 30 days, 10 dollars per day if the period is over 30 days, and 12 dollars per day if the period is 60 days
  • Assessment of a $750 civil penalty by the DMV to reinstate your registration when it’s suspended

Second Offense

If you’re caught driving without insurance more than once, the penalties will only get stiffer. While the actual penalties don’t change based on how often you offend the code, the fines could get steeper when you’re a habitual offender.

That means that the traffic court will more than likely fine you on the higher end of the $1500 scale if you’ve already been convicted in the past.

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How can you prove you have car insurance?

You have to be able to prove that you have auto insurance at all times when you’re driving in New York. You can be cited not just for not having insurance, but also for not having proof of insurance.

It’s almost as if you don’t have insurance if you don’t have the right auto insurance ID card that shows you’re covered.

The traditional way to demonstrate proof of insurance is to carry an ID card issued by a New York insurer that shows the VIN, the owner name, the policy number, and the policy effective date.

As of recent changes made by the Commissioner of the DMV, you can now show digital proof of insurance to officers and it will satisfy the proof of insurance requirements.

How to Get Car Insurance in New York

The state dictates how much insurance you’re required to carry at a minimum. By law, you have to carry no less than $25,000 up to $50,000 in Bodily Injury and $10,000 per accident in Property Damage.

You also must have $50,000 in Personal Injury Protection to pay for your own lost wages and medical bills. Anything more than that is considered additional coverage.

If your current policy is about to expire or you’re going to buy a new vehicle, now is the time to quote the cost of auto insurance. You can’t drive for even a single day without coverage in New York and expect not to be fined. 

The average cost for coverage in the Big Apple is $1205 per year, which is much higher than the national average. While the average costs are high in NY, you can still find a good deal by using our online comparison tool to get online quotes. Enter your zip code below to begin!

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