Am I required to car insurance on my vehicle in New York?

Yes, every vehicle registered in New York must have liability insurance when it is driven on a public road.  In your car’s glove compartment, you must always have your license, your registration and your insurance policy or identification card.

How does auto insurance work?

Each time you insure your vehicle, the insurance company gives the Department of Motor Vehicles notice of the insurance on your car.  When you renew the registration of your car, you must have proof that you have paid for liability insurance on your car.  When the insurance coverage expires or when it lapses, the insurance company will also notify the DMV.  If you change insurance companies, the change in insurance policy will also be reported to the DMV. If your insurance has lapsed because of failure to pay insurance premiums and it was reinstated, the insurance company will also notify the DMV. Because of these notifications from your insurance company, when you are pulled over, the police can access your driving record from the DMV database and see whether your insurance has expired.

Penalties for driving without insurance

If you are caught in a traffic accident and you were driving without insurance or with insurance that has lapsed or expired, your vehicle registration will be revoked for one year. You can also be made to pay a fine of up to $1,500 for driving without insurance.  And then, once the period of revocation has elapsed, when you re-apply for your vehicle’s registration and for a new driver’s license, you will also pay a civil penalty of $750.


It is a traffic violation to drive a car without insurance or with suspended coverage.  If you know that your insurance coverage is about to expire, then you must surrender your license plates to the DMV.  If the insurance suspension or lapse of coverage is only for less than 90 days, you can opt to pay a civil penalty instead.

Do not drive your car without proper insurance registered with the DMV. Do not drive your car unless you have a copy of the insurance policy or the insurance ID card in your vehicle. Do not let another person drive your car if that person has no liability insurance.

What happens when I do not turn in my vehicle’s registration plates?

If you have no insurance and you continue driving your vehicle and do not surrender your license plates to the DMV, or pay the civil penalty, not only will you be arrested or given a ticket, your vehicle may also be impounded.  Your vehicle registration will also be suspended and if the suspension of your registration is for more than 90 days, your driver’s license will also be suspended.

You will have to pay an impound fee to get your vehicle back from impound. Apart from the usual cost of vehicle registration and the reissuance of your driver’s license, you will also have to pay the suspension termination fee.


If you have been issued a traffic ticket because of lapsed insurance coverage on your car, you must speak to a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney.  Maxwell Law Firm handles traffic ticket, speeding, red light, reckless driving, seatbelt, stop sign violations. If you have received a speeding ticket in New York, Brooklyn/Kings, Queens, and Nassau Counties, you may contact  Maxwell Law Firm, PLLC by submitting a request for a quote on our traffic intake form or by calling 718-701-0095.