We recently shared that as of August 1st, 2023 there was an important change to spousal liability coverage for all policies in New York State. This coverage is designed to protect you if you are 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 receives injuries.
Before August 1st, you had to specifically ask for this coverage to be added to your policy, otherwise most policies wouldn’t automatically have it. As of August 1st, every policy upon renewal or any new policy in New York 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. Now that this change will affect all drivers in the state, it’s important for you to understand why the coverage matters to you and how it could help if you ever need it.
A time when it would be beneficial to have this coverage
The best way to understand why supplemental spousal liability coverage matters to you is to think of a scenario where having the coverage would help and make a difference. Let’s say you are in the passenger seat of a vehicle and your spouse is driving and as you are going down the road traffic stops unexpectedly, and your spouse can’t stop in time hitting the car in front of you in the rear. At this time, the airbag is deployed, you put your hands out and your wrist gets snapped. The injury was so severe that your wrist is now broken, and you need to have surgery as a result of the impact.
Before August 1, 2023, if you did not have the supplemental spousal liability coverage, you would be entitled to no fault coverage for your medical bills through your car policy, but you would not be able to put in any claim against your policy against your spouse for your pain and suffering as a result of the injury. This means that there would be no settlement for your injuries. If you did have the coverage your medical bills would still be covered through your no fault, and you could put in a bodily injury claim against your own policy due to your spouse’s negligence, meaning you could get a settlement through the supplemental spousal liability coverage for your pain and suffering.
Coverage that makes a difference when you need it most
As a personal injury attorney with over 30 years of experience representing clients on Long Island, Mark T. Freeley has seen scenarios like this one play out dozens of times. In fact, using the supplemental spousal liability coverage he has recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for Long Islanders. If you are married, it’s super important to keep this coverage, as one day you might be very grateful that you have it.
It is a good idea to take out your car insurance policy periodically and review it to make sure that you understand and are comfortable with your current coverage. Reviewing that with a trusted attorney like the North Shore Injury Lawyer is a great way to ensure you understand your options as best as possible. If you have any questions about your car insurance policy, give him a call at 631-495-9435 he will happily guide you through the choices, for free.
Spousal Liability Coverage update described by Mark