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Driving without Insurance in New York

Police writing a ticket

Auto insurance is required in the state of New York and driving without first acquiring it is a crime. Under New York law, people are required to purchase a car insurance policy with the following minimums:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage per accident

While most drivers comply with this requirement, there are still some who fail to do so. If you are pulled over for a traffic violation, the officer may ask to see a copy of your insurance. If you do not have your insurance card, you may be fined up to $1,500, suspend your driving privileges, fine you another $750 paid to the DMV to restore your license if revoked, and you could even face time in jail. 

After you secure an auto insurance policy in New York, your insurance company will send you an electronic file while you await a hard copy of your insurance card to keep while driving. In fact, you should always be sure to have your insurance card, driver’s license, and vehicle registration with you whenever you drive. While your license shouldn’t be kept in the vehicle, you can leave the other two inside at all times. It’s usually a good idea to keep them in your glove compartment. 

What if You Let Someone Else Drive Your Uninsured Vehicle?

If you allow someone else to drive your vehicle and you haven’t purchased auto insurance for it, you can also face penalties including a fine, impounding of your vehicle, revocation of your driver’s license and registration, and imprisonment for up to 15 days. 

As mentioned, you can pay $750 to the DMV to have your driving privileges reinstated, but if you have allowed more than 91 days to pass since your insurance lapsed or if you already paid a civil penalty over the last three years, you will be obligated to serve the suspension rather than being able to reinstate your license right away. 

If your insurance has lapsed beyond 91 days, you may find it more difficult to find insurers willing to cover you and you may be forced to find one who will work with a higher-risk driver. If your insurance policy has lapsed, your insurer will notify the DMV, which will suspend your license and registration and charge you a fine each day until your coverage is reinstated. 

Fines for a Lapsed Insurance Policy

The fines for a lapse in your insurance coverage are dependent upon the amount of time since the policy has lapsed:

  • 1–30 days: $8 per day; up to $240
  • 31–60 days: $10 per day; up to $300
  • 61–90 days: $12 per day; up to $360
  • 90 days: $900

Those who are unable to pay the above fine owed may surrender their vehicle registration and plates for the duration of their suspension. If you neither pay the fee nor surrender your registration and plates, the DMV will also suspend your driver’s license and registration and you will be forced to pay a fee to the DMV in order to reinstate your license. Put simply, you could end up paying up to $2,400 if your insurance lapses and you are convicted of driving without insurance in New York.

What if You’re in an Accident While Uninsured?

If you are involved in a car accident while you are uninsured, the New York DMV will take your driver’s license and vehicle registration for at least one year – regardless of whether or not you or someone else was driving your uninsured vehicle. Aside from the fines for your lapse in insurance and civil penalty for restoring your license, you will also be responsible to cover damages or injuries that resulted from the accident. The insurance commissioner may excuse you from paying some of these penalties if you unknowingly drove an uninsured vehicle. 

AutoTrafficTickets.com Helps Those in New York Who Have Been Issued a Traffic Ticket

If you have been charged with driving without insurance but do, in fact, have a valid policy, you can appeal the fines. It is best to contact an experienced New York traffic ticket attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable and experienced traffic ticket attorney understands the relevant laws and can help you to avoid paying unnecessary fines.  

AutoTrafficTickets.com can help you to receive the best outcome. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Traffic Tickets