ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — You may want to keep an eye on your car insurance costs if you’re renewing your plan. As of August 1, state law will automatically enroll New Yorkers in additional coverage that they may not need.
“Everybody is now going to be automatically enrolled with the supplemental spousal liability coverage whether they’re married or not so it is causing some confusion and some concern with a lot of the insured,” explained David Kirst, senior insurance specialist with AAA. Kirst told Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige, right now, if someone were to get in an accident with their spouse at fault they’d only have access to the personal injury protection. “Which will cover medical payments up to $50,000 if they just have the basic personal injury protection, but they are not gonna have access to any of the bodily injury liability limits.”
This includes access to pain and suffering which allows the injured person to sue their spouse. “So if your spouse caused the accident, and you’re injured – now you’re in a wheelchair or you’re paralyzed or you’re missing time from work – with the supplemental spousal liability, you can now sue your spouse to get access to that,” said Kirst.
The price tag for that fee depends on your provider, at max it would be $50 per year, per policy. And some providers may not charge anything. While enrollment is automatic, Kirst said you can opt out, “But they have to do it in writing. You are going to have a declination form that you will have to sign saying ‘I do not want this coverage’ otherwise it’s just being added to the policy.” That declination form can be found at dfs.ny.gov or you can get it directly through your provider.
In speaking with Senator Neil Breslin who sponsored the bill, he said while he wants people to have appropriate coverage, in a statement he also said: “I certainly don’t want people paying for coverage that would provide them zero benefit. While this new law is scheduled to sunset in a few years, I am of course open to discussing improvements to it.”