An Important Update About Spousal Liability Coverage in New York State

In order to register a vehicle in New York State you must have automobile liability insurance coverage. This is so important that if you do not maintain the coverage, the DMV can suspend your vehicle registration and your driver’s license. While everyone on the road must have insurance, not everyone understands the ins and outs of their policies or the important coverages they contain (or should contain). 

One important coverage to be aware of if you are married is spousal liability coverage and as of August 1, 2023, the state of New York changed the law regarding this coverage. To learn more about this important coverage and what changed on August 1st in the state of New York keep reading. 

What exactly is Spousal Liability Coverage?

Spousal liability coverage provides coverage if you’re a passenger in a vehicle being operated by a spouse who gets into an accident and is all at fault (or partially at fault) and the passenger spouse sustains injuries. The spousal liability coverage comes into play because without it, even if you break all the bones in your body or need to have surgery, there’s no insurance coverage to compensate you for your pain and suffering if your spouse is at fault. While you would still obtain no fault benefits (which are part of every policy that pays the medical bills), that is all you would be entitled to if you don’t have spousal liability coverage. 

Contrary to popular belief, it turns out that spouses are not perfect, and we do all make mistakes from time to time. So, if a spouse makes a mistake behind the wheel of a car and causes you an injury, spousal liability coverage will kick in and provide this important coverage.

What changed on August 1?

In New York State before August 1st you had to specifically ask for spousal liability coverage to be added to your policy, otherwise most policies wouldn’t automatically have it. Since no one really knew to ask for it, and brokers / agents didn’t often recommend this coverage regardless of if they knew someone was married and likely to be the passenger with their spouse, most policies did not have it.

As of August 1, 2023, every policy upon renewal or any new policy will automatically include the spousal liability coverage as part of the liability policy, and you will have to fill out a form to say if you don’t want the coverage and affirmatively reject it. 

Why having the policy matters

If you are married, Mark T. Freeley recommends that you do not waive the coverage, and make sure you keep it. There are a few scenarios where you may want to save a few dollars and fill out the form to deny the coverage for instance if you aren’t married, or if there’s a car in the family that the spouses are never in at the same time. If you don’t fall into any of these categories, it’s important you keep the coverage and Mark knows first-hand because he has been able to help many spouses collect compensation for their pain and suffering through it over the years. 

Mark wants to make sure that you have all the coverage you need and is happy to offer completely free reviews of your car insurance policy. To take advantage of this free help, all you have to do is email a copy of your policy to  or text a picture of it to Mark at 631-495-9435 and he is happy to go over it with you on the phone and make recommendations so you know if something happens you’ll be in the right position and have the right coverage.