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12/18/2017
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New York Car Insurance Requirements
by Doug Cohen

What are the requirements for motor vehicle liability insurance in New York State?

A motor vehicle registered in the State of New York must have liability insurance. Insurance coverage must be a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, $50,000/100,000 for death, and $10,000 of liability coverage for property damage caused to property of others by any one accident. New York State is a no-fault state. The liability coverage must remain in effect while the registration is valid, even if the vehicle is not used (except motorcycles).

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  • The liability coverage must be New York State insurance coverage, issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in New York and licensed by the New York State Insurance Department. Out-of-state insurance coverage of any type is NEVER acceptable or valid. If your vehicle is registered in New York, the liability insurance coverage must be New York State insurance coverage.
  • Liability insurance coverage must be issued in the name of the registrant and must remain in the name of the registrant at all times. A change on the insurance to a name different from the registrant causes a lapse in insurance coverage, and the driver license of the registrant and the registration is suspended.
  • You must show a New York State Insurance Identification Card when you apply for a vehicle registration. Your insurance company, agent or broker must issue two original New York Insurance Identification Cards to you.  The Insurance Identification Cards must have the same name as the registration application and must have a barcode.
  • The insurance company must also file an electronic notice of insurance coverage with the DMV to verify the liability insurance coverage. (The agent or broker cannot file this notice.)  Your Insurance Identification Card and the electronic notice of insurance coverage together verify your insurance coverage. An Insurance Identification Card only does not prove liability coverage.
  • An Insurance Identification Card must be presented within 45 days of the effective date of the insurance coverage. Bring the cards to the DMV office when you apply for the registration.  The DMV office will keep one card.  Keep the other card with the vehicle. If a police officer requests your proof of insurance, you must show your Insurance Identification Card.
  • The DMV does not accept any out-of-state insurance documents.

Changing Your Address or Your Name

Change of Address - You must notify the DMV when you move to a new address.

  • You have a maximum of 10 days after you move to notify the DMV.
  • You must report the change of address at a DMV office, by phone, or by mail. You cannot report a change of address by e-mail.
  • You cannot change your address when you complete a transaction on-line.

How to change your address on your DMV documents:

Write the new address on your documents. Write your new address in the available space on the back of your driver license, learner permit or non-driver photo ID card. On your registration document, carefully draw lines through the old address and write your new address. Do not change the address on your title certificate. If you write any change on your title certificate, the certificate is not valid. Your title certificate is valid with your old address.

How to report your new address to the DMV:

Note:  To change the address on your driver license and your vehicle registration at the same time, you must use form MV-232 or call the DMV Call Center.  If you provide a new address when you renew or replace your driver license, that transaction does not change the address on your vehicle registration or your title certificate.  If you provide a new address when you renew or replace your vehicle registration or your title certificate, that transaction does not change the address on your driver license.

By mail:

  • You can use form MV-232 (Change of Address) to change the address on the DMV records for your driver license, learner permit or non-driver photo ID card and your vehicle registration.
  • To order a new driver license, learner permit or non-driver photo ID card that displays your new address, mark the correct box on form MV-232, and pay the correct fee listed on the form. Your new document arrives by mail in four to six weeks. If you do not check the box and pay the fee, the DMV changes the address on your records only. You do not receive a new document.
  • You cannot use form MV-232 to order a new registration document that displays your new address. Read the instructions below learn how to order a registration document by phone.

By telephone:

The Department of Motor Vehicles maintains several telephone call centers for customer service. If you have a question about your dealings with the New York State DMV, contact a DMV Call Center, and a DMV Associate will help you. You may save time during your next visit to a DMV office. The call can even help you to Skip a Trip!  Here are some helpful phone numbers to assist you.
General Assistance: Specialized Assistance:
In the New York City metropolitan area:
From area codes 212, 347, 646, 718, 917:

1-212-645-5550
    - or -
1-718-966-6155

Weekdays except state holidays:
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Custom Plates and Registration Renewal:
1-518-402-4838

Weekdays except state holidays:
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Questions about Emissions Inspections:
1-877-486-6438

Weekdays except state holidays:
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
From area codes 516, 631, 845, 914:
1-800-DIAL-DMV (800-342-5368)

Weekdays except state holidays:
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Schedule a Road Test:
1-518-402-2100

24 hours, 7 days a week

From all other area codes in New York State:
1-800-CALL-DMV (800-225-5368)

Weekdays except state holidays:
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Title Services Bureau:
(518) 486-4714

Weekdays, except Wednesdays and state holidays:
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Insurance Services Bureau:
(518)474-0700

Weekdays except state holidays:
8:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
From locations outside the State of New York:
(518)473-5595


Weekdays except state holidays:
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD):
1-800-368-1186


Weekdays except state holidays:
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

  • When you call, you must prove your identity to the DMV representative. You must have your valid photo document available. A corporation, company or organization cannot process a change of address for their vehicle registrations by phone. Use form MV-232 (Change of Address).
  • You can change the address on the records for your driver license, learner permit or non-driver photo ID card and your vehicle registrations. There is no fee to report the change of address if you do not order new documents.
  • You can order a new photo document and new registration documents that display your new address. Your new documents arrive by mail in approximately four weeks. You can pay by credit card. There is an additional service charge of $5 to order each new document by phone. The document fees added to the service charge for each document are:
  • $15 - to order a new driver license or learner permit ($20 total fee).
  • $8 - to order a four-year or eight-year non-driver photo ID card ($13 total fee).
  • $6.50 - to order a 10-year non-driver photo ID card ($11.50 total fee).
  • No fee, other than the $5 service charge, to replace a 10-year Non-Driver Photo ID Card If you are both 62 or older and you receive SSI.
  • $ 3 - to order each registration document ($8 total fee).

Your new documents arrive by mail in approximately four weeks.

Changing Your Name

You must visit a local Department of Motor Vehicles office to change your name on all DMV records and documents.

  • Bring your NYSDMV photo document or other proof of identity that displays your previous name and has a value of at least six points.
  • Bring a US marriage certificate, US divorce documents, or other court papers issued in the US that prove your new name. Or, you can bring proof of identity that displays your new name and has a value of at least six points.
  • To change your name on a registration document and a title certificate, you must bring the registration document and the title certificate that display your previous name.

Use form MV-44 to change your name on your driver license, learner permit or non-driver photo ID card. There is a fee of $15 to get a new photo driver license or learner permit document that displays your new name, or $8 to get a new non-driver photo ID card.  Your new document arrives by mail in approximately four weeks.

Use form MV-82 to change your name on your registration documents and title certificate. There is no fee to change your name on your registration documents and title certificate. The DMV office gives you new registration documents that display your new name. A title certificate that displays your new name is mailed to you.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

See the DMV brochure, You and the Drinking Driving Laws, for more information about DWI.

What is DWI?

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a crime. In New York State, the penalties include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term.

Your judgment, coordination and ability to drive an automobile change when you consume any amount of alcohol. The level of impairment depends on five conditions:

  1. the amount of alcohol you drink,
  2. the amount of food you eat before or while you drink alcohol,
  3. the length of time you drink alcohol,
  4. your body weight, and
  5. your gender.

There is no quick method to become sober. The best method is to wait until your body absorbs the alcohol. The average rate that your body processes alcohol is approximately one drink per hour.

What are the alcohol and drug-related violations in New York State?

BAC = blood alcohol concentration

  • DWI:  Driving While Intoxicated; .08 BAC or higher or other evidence of intoxication.
  • Aggravated DWI: Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated: .18 BAC or higher.
  • DWAI/Alcohol:  Driving While Ability Impaired (by alcohol); .05 BAC to .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment.
  • DWAI/Drug:  Driving While Ability Impaired by a single Drug other than alcohol.
  • DWAI/Combination:  Driving While Ability Impaired by a the Combined Influence or Drugs or Alcohol.
  • Chemical Test Refusal:  A driver who refuses to take a chemical test (normally a test of breath, blood or urine) can receive a driver license revocation of at least one year (18 months for a commercial driver) and must pay a $500 civil penalty ($550 for a driver of commercial vehicles) to apply for a new driver license. A driver who refuses a chemical test during the five years after a DWI-related charge or previous refusal will have their driver license revoked for at least 18 months (permanent for a commercial driver) and must pay a $750 civil penalty to apply for a new driver license. If the driver is under age 21, and refuses a chemical test during the five years after a DWI-related charge or previous refusal, they will have their driver license revoked for at least one year or until age 21, whichever is longer and must pay a $750 civil penalty to apply for a new driver license.
  • Zero Tolerance Law: A driver who is less than 21 years of age and who drives with a .02 BAC to .07 BAC violates the Zero Tolerance Law.

What are the penalties for Alcohol-related or Drug-related Violations?

Penalties for Alcohol-related and Drug-related Violations
Violation (1) Mandatory Fine (2) Maximum
Jail Term
Mandatory Driver License Action (3)
Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (A-DWI) $1,000 - $2,500 1 year Revoked for at least one year
Second A-DWI in 10 years (E felony)(1) $1,000 - $5,000 4 years Revoked for at least 18-months (5)
Third A-DWI in 10 years (D felony)(1) $2,000 - $10,000 7 years Revoked for at least 18-months (4,5)
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Impaired by a Drug (DWAI-Drug) $500 - $1,000 1 year DWI-Revoked for at least six months
DWAI-Drugs - Suspended for at least six months
Second DWI/DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (E felony)(1) $1,000 - $5,000 4 years Revoked for at least one year
Third DWI/DWAI-Drug violation in 10 years (D felony)(1) $2,000 - $10,000 7 years Revoked for at least one year (4)
Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combination of Alcohol/Drugs (DWAI-Combination) $500 - $1,000 1 year Revoked for at least six months
Second DWAI/Combination in 10 years (E felony)(1) $1,000 - $5,000 4 years Revoked for at least one year/18 months (5)
Third DWAI/Combination in 10 years (D felony)(1) $2,000 - $10,000 7 years Revoked for at least one year/18 months (4,5)
Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI) $300 - $500 15 days Suspended for 90 days
Second DWAI violation in 5 years $500 - $750 30 days Revoked for at least six months
Zero Tolerance Law $125 civil penalty and $100 fee to terminate suspension None Suspended for six months
Second Zero Tolerance Law $125 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee None Revoked for one year or until age 21
Chemical Test Refusal $500 civil penalty ($550 for commercial drivers) None Revoked for at least one year, 18 months for commercial drivers.
Chemical Test Refusal within five years of a previous DWI-related charge/Chemical Test Refusal $750 civil penalty None Revoked for at least 18 months, one-year or until age 21 for drivers under age 21, permanent CDL revocation for commercial drivers.
Chemical Test Refusal -
Zero Tolerance Law
$300 civil penalty and $50 re-application fee None Revoked for at least one year.
Chemical Test Refusal -
Second or subsequent Zero Tolerance Law
$750 civil penalty and $50 re-application fee None Revoked for at least one year.
Driving Under the Influence - (Out-of-State) N/A N/A Suspended for 6 months. If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year.
Driving Under the Influence - (Out-of State) with any previous alcohol-drug violation N/A N/A Suspended for 6 months. If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year or until age 21 (longest term).
  1. Greater penalties can also apply for multiple alcohol or drug violations within a 10-year period.
  2. Surcharges are added to misdemeanors ($160) and felonies ($270).
  3. The driver license penalties for drivers under the age of 21, and for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and other professional drivers, are different.
  4. Three or more alcohol or drug-related convictions or refusals within 10 years can result in permanent revocation, with a waiver request permitted after at least 5 years.
  5. A driver with an Aggravated DWI violation conviction within the prior 10 years will receive a minimum 18-month revocation if convicted of DWI, DWAI/Drugs or DWAI/Combination. Also a driver with a prior DWI, Aggravated DWI, DWAI/Drugs or DWAI/Combination with the prior 10 years will receive a minimum 18-month revocation.

Can I get a conditional license if I was convicted of DWI or DWAI?

If you receive your first conviction for DWI or DWAI and you participate in the Drinking Driver Program (DDP), you can receive a conditional license. The DMV determines if you are eligible for the DDP. A judge can stop your enrollment in the DDP. To get complete information read the DMV brochure, The Drinking Driver Program.

The law mandates participation in the DDP, even if the driver is not eligible for a conditional license, for convictions of specific alcohol or drug-related violations, or in specific plea-bargaining situations.

What is the Driver Responsibility Program? What is a driver responsibility assessment?

To get information about driver responsibility assessments and the Driver Responsibility Program, read the FAQs on the NY State Department of Motor Vehicles website.

If You Have an Accident

What must I do at the accident scene?

If you are in an accident, you are required by the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to stop and exchange information with the involved drivers. If the accident caused property damage only, then exchange information about your driver license, car insurance, and registration with the involved drivers. If a parked car or other property is damaged, or if a domestic animal is injured, you must locate the owner or contact the police.

  • If the property damage of any person is $1,001 or more, all the involved drivers are required by the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to file form MV-104 (Report of Motor Vehicle Accident). File form MV-104 with the DMV no more than 10 days after the accident. The DMV can suspend your driver license if you fail to report an accident.
  • If a person is injured or killed, you are required by the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to immediately notify the police. All the involved drivers and the police must file an accident report with the DMV. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident that causes personal injury or death.
  • The accident appears on the records of all the involved drivers. An accident listed on your driver record does not indicate that you were at fault. The DMV does not try to determine fault in an accident.

How do I get a copy of my accident report?

  • Call or visit the local police agency or precinct where the accident occurred.  Ask the agency if your report is available and what the fee is.
    - or -
  • To get a copy from the DMV, use form MV-198C (Request for Copy of Accident Report).

Safety Restraints

Are child safety seats and child restraint systems required in New York State?

New York State law requires all children under the age of four to ride in safety seats. The law requires that all children age four, five or six ride in child restraint systems. Safety seats and child restraint systems must be certified according to Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standard 213. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the seat or system, and make sure you install and use the seat or system correctly.

Note: The effective date of the requirement to use a child restraint system for a child age four, five, or six is March 27, 2005.

How do I select the correct child safety seat or child restraint system?

To select the correct protection for your child, carefully read the recommendations of child safety seat or child restraint system manufacturers.  The recommendations tell you what age weight and height a child can be to use the seat or system.  The recommendations are normally printed on the outside of the package.

These examples can help you to select the correct child safety seat:

  • Infant seats are normally for infants that weigh approximately 22 pounds or less, are 25 inches or less in length, or are less than one year old. Face the infant seat toward the back of the vehicle. Never put an infant in the front seat of a vehicle that has a passenger-side air bag.
  • Convertible child safety seats are normally for infants or toddlers that weigh approximately 40 pounds or less. For infants, face these seats toward the back of the vehicle. For toddlers more than one year old, you can change these seats to face the front of the vehicle.  Follow the manufacturer's instructions to adjust the seat as the child increases in size.
  • Booster seats are normally for children who have outgrown toddler seats. Booster seats are for children who are four to eight years old, who weigh 40 to 80 pounds, and who are less than four feet, nine inches in height.  You can use a booster seat until an adult seat belt correctly fits the child without use of the booster seat. · Built-in child seats are available with some vehicle models.  Built-in child seats fold away from the standard car seats. Do not use these seats for infants.

Always read the instructions and the information provided in the vehicle owner manual about the use of child safety seats or child restraint systems. Make sure you install and use the seat or system correctly at all times.  Never use an infant seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has a passenger-side air bag. Make sure that other passengers use their seat belts. Read more tips on the correct use of safety seats and child restaint systems.

Can I use a child safety seat in a car with air bags?

It is not illegal under NYS law for a child passenger to ride in the front seat of a vehicle that has a passenger air bag, but it is dangerous. Recent studies show that air bags can cause serious or fatal injuries to infants, children or small adults that sit in the passenger-side front seat. It is also normally safer for a child of any age to ride in the back seat of any vehicle.

For the best child passenger protection in your vehicle:

  • Never put a child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle and face it toward the rear of a vehicle if that vehicle has a passenger-side air bag.
  • Do not put small children in the front seat of vehicle that has an air bag. Put a child that does not use a safety seat and who is less than five ft. in height in the back seat.
  • If a child must ride in the front seat, make sure the car seat is installed as far back as possible. Fasten the child securely in the child safety seat or seat belt. An air bag that opens suddenly can cause a serious injury to your infant or young child.
  • Air bags, used with seat belts, provide the best protection for older children and adults during an accident.
  • Remember that the back seat is the safest location for children to ride. Read more tips on the correct use of safety seats and child restraint systems.

What is the seat belt law in New York State?

New York State law requires all front seat passengers to wear seat belts. Children under the age of 16 must wear seat belts when they are in the front seat or the back seat. Children under the age of four must ride in safety seats. Children age four, five or six must ride in child restraint systems. The penalty for a seat belt or car seat violation is a fine of up $50. If a conviction includes a person under the age of 16, the driver receives a maximum fine of $100 and 3 points on the driver license record.

Traffic Tickets

What must I do if I receive a traffic ticket in NYS?

The back of your traffic ticket contains information on how to answer the ticket. You must respond to the ticket to prevent a suspension of your driver license or driving privileges. It is a crime to drive with a suspended or revoked license.

Note: You can answer most DMV Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) traffic tickets on-line. Even if the ticket does not include information about on-line pleas, you can attempt to enter a plea on-line as explained below.

Local courts handle traffic tickets for moving violations in most parts of New York State. The DMV Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) only handles non-criminal moving violations that occur in:

  • the five boroughs of New York City,
  • the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, and
  • portions of the towns of Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip, Riverhead and Smithtown in Suffolk County.

The local criminal courts in these areas handle criminal traffic violations, like DWI or reckless driving. For information about criminal traffic violations, contact the local criminal court.

You can pay fines and surcharges that are payable to a TVB with a Visa card, MasterCard, American Express card or Discover Card.

DMV Traffic Violations Bureaus:

See the DMV brochure, Traffic Violature Bureau, for complete information about the TVB.

For most TVB traffic tickets, you can plead to the TVB ticket on-line. You can then either schedule a hearing for the traffic ticket, or you can pay with your credit card for the fines, and the fees, and the surcharges for the ticket. See the information about how to plead on-line to TVB traffic tickets.  You cannot plead on-line to traffic tickets that must be answered in a local court.

If you must respond to the ticket at a TVB office, follow the instructions on the ticket.

You can also contact a TVB office listed on the Department of Motor Vehicles Offices page or one of the following offices:
To pay by mail:

Plea Unit
P.O. Box 2950 - ESP
Albany, NY 12220-0950
You can also contact:

Albany Traffic Violations Division
Rm. 313
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228
(518) 474-0941
(If you visit, go to the Customer Service Counter in Room 136.)
New York City area:

Traffic Violations Bureau
Call Center
1-718-488-5710

Bring proof of identity (for example, your driver license) when you visit a TVB office.

Note: The DMV does not handle parking violations, or regulate parking. The DMV cannot respond to questions about parking tickets. Contact the locality if you have parking tickets or questions about local regulations. Your failure to respond to parking tickets can prevent the renewal of your vehicle registration or cause your registration to be suspended.

What if I do not respond to a traffic ticket, pay a fine, or pay a mandatory surcharge?

The traffic court or Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) notifies the DMV. The DMV suspends your driver license until you respond to the ticket pay the fine, or pay the mandatory surcharge.

A suspension for the failure to respond to a ticket does not indicate that you are guilty of the charge. The suspension only indicates that you failed to respond to the ticket.

To remove the suspension, you must respond to the ticket, pay the fine, or pay the mandatory surcharge. You also must pay the suspension termination fee of $35 to the traffic court or the TVB. Contact the traffic court or TVB to remove these suspensions.

If you continue to ignore the ticket after you received a suspension from a TVB for failure to respond to the ticket, you will receive a default conviction. The default conviction is equivalent to a guilty finding. The DMV then suspends your driver license for your failure to pay the fine. To remove a default conviction from a TVB, you must pay the suspension termination fees, which total $70.

The suspension termination fees are separate charges from the fines and the surcharges for a conviction. You must pay the suspension termination fees, the fines and the surcharges to remove the suspension.

Some convictions can cause the suspension or the revocation of your driver license. To get information about suspensions and revocations, read the DMV brochure, Suppose Your License Were Taken Away.

If I get a ticket for a moving violation in another state, do I receive points on my New York State driver license?

The NYSDMV does not record out-of-state violations committed by NYS drivers in other jurisdictions. The exceptions are alcohol-related violations, drug-related violations, and moving violations committed in Quebec or Ontario. Under special agreements, traffic convictions in Quebec or Ontario are recorded on NYS driver license records and carry points. Except for violations in Ontario and Quebec, points are not added to your NYS record for out-of-state violations.

If you do not respond to a ticket or fail to pay a fine for a moving violation that you committed in any state except Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon or Wisconsin, the Department of Motor Vehicles suspends your NYS driver license until you respond to the ticket or pay the fine. If a driver from a state except these six states fails to respond to a traffic ticket issued in NYS, their driver license will be suspended until the driver responds to the traffic ticket in NYS.

Drivers from other states must contact  the DMV in their home state to get information about the effect of a traffic violation conviction that occurs in NYS.

If you receive a conviction for an alcohol-related or drug-related driving violation in any state, your NYS driver license is revoked for at least six months.

What must I do if I receive a parking ticket?

The DMV does not handle parking violations or regulate parking. If you receive a parking ticket or have questions about local parking rules, contact your city, town or village. Do not contact the DMV. You must respond to the tickets in the locality where they were issued.

If you fail to answer parking tickets, the locality can notify the DMV. The DMV can prevent the renewal of your vehicle registration, or suspend your vehicle registration. You can renew your registration after you respond to the tickets and pay the fines.

What is the driver violation point system?

See the information about the driver violation point system.

What is the Driver Responsibility Program? What is a driver responsibility assessment?

To get information about driver responsibility assessments and the Driver Responsibility Program, read the FAQs.

New York Auto Insurance

What are the requirements for motor vehicle liability insurance in NYS?

A motor vehicle registered in NYS must have liability insurance. Insurance coverage must be a minimum of $25,000/50,000 for injury, $50,000/100,000 for death, and $10,000 for property damage caused by any one accident. New York State is a no-fault state. The liability coverage must remain in effect while the registration is valid, even if the vehicle is not used (except motorcycles).

  • The liability coverage must be NYS insurance coverage, issued by a company authorized to do business in NYS and licensed by the NYS Insurance Department. Out-of-state insurance coverage of any type is NEVER acceptable or valid. If your vehicle is registered in NYS, the liability insurance coverage must be NYS insurance coverage.
  • Liability coverage must be issued in the name of the registrant and must remain in the name of the registrant at all times. A change on the insurance to a name different from the registrant causes a lapse in insurance coverage, and the driver license of the registrant and the registration is suspended.
  • You must show a NYS Insurance Identification Card when you apply for a vehicle registration. Your insurance company, agent or broker must issue two original NYS Insurance Identification Cards to you.  The Insurance Identification Cards must have the same name as the registration application and must have a barcode.
  • The insurance company must also file an electronic notice of insurance coverage with the DMV to verify the liability coverage. (The agent or broker cannot file this notice.)  Your Insurance Identification Card and the electronic notice of insurance coverage together verify your insurance coverage. An Insurance Identification Card only does not prove liability coverage.
  • An Insurance Identification Card must be presented within 45 days of the effective date of the insurance coverage. Bring the cards to the DMV office when you apply for the registration.  The DMV office will keep one card.  Keep the other card with the vehicle. If a police officer requests your proof of insurance, you must show your Insurance Identification Card.
  • The DMV does not accept any out-of-state insurance documents.

I moved to another state, but my vehicle is registered in NYS. Do I need to change to out-of-state insurance?

No. All vehicles registered in NYS must have NYS liability coverage. There are no exceptions. If you replace your NYS insurance coverage with out-of-state insurance, a lapse in valid insurance coverage occurs. The NYSDMV suspends your registration, and the NYSDMV can suspend your driver license. The NYSDMV must take actions against your NYS registration and driver license even if you move outside of NYS. This action can affect your ability to hold a valid driver license in your new state. If you register your vehicle in another state, immediately surrender your New York State vehicle plates to the NYS DMV by mail.

What can occur if I cancel my liability insurance?

The insurance company must notify the DMV if you cancel your liability insurance. Your insurance company is also required to notify DMV if your insurance coverage is reinstated or you get new insurance coverage. If the insurance company does not file an electronic notice about your new or reinstated liability insurance, the DMV sends you a letter about your insurance. Read the insert mailed with the letter, and follow the instructions in the letter. You are given 10 days from the date of the DMV letter to prove that you have insurance coverage, prove that you sold the vehicle, or show other proof that insurance coverage was not required in NYS. If you do have insurance coverage, also ask your insurance company (do not ask your agent or broker) to file an electronic notice of insurance coverage with the DMV.

If you do not have liability insurance, you must surrender your vehicle plates to the NYSDMV immediately. Make sure you get a receipt. You must respond to the letter you receive from the DMV or surrender your license plates to prevent the suspension of your registration and driver license. If your liability insurance is about to lapse and you do not plan to replace it with other insurance, surrender your vehicle plates to the DMV before your insurance coverage lapses.

What are some of the conditions that can create a lapse in insurance coverage?

Any amount of time that your vehicle is registered but not insured can cause a lapse in your insurance coverage and the suspension or revocation of your registration. A lapse in insurance coverage can occur:

  • between the date your insurance is cancelled and the effective date of your new insurance;
  • between the date your insurance is cancelled and the date you surrender your license plates or the date your registration expires;
  • between the date your insurance is cancelled and the effective date of "other proof" (for example, a vehicle registered in another state, or a vehicle repossessed or impounded);
  • between the date you register your vehicle and the effective date of your new insurance coverage;
  • between the date the insurance is cancelled and the date the same insurance company reinstates your insurance coverage.

If the lapse in the insurance coverage exceeds 90 days, your driver license is also suspended.

What can I do if the vehicle is repossessed, stolen, impounded or sold?

The DMV Customer Service Knowledge Base has answers about a lapse in liability insurance on a vehicle that is reposessed, stolen, impounded or sold.

What action does the DMV take if I do not have insurance and I do not surrender my vehicle plates immediately?

If you do not have insurance coverage and you do not surrender your vehicle plates to the DMV, your registration and driver license are suspended indefinitely.

If you had a lapse in your insurance coverage and did not surrender your vehicle plates immediately, your registration is suspended for the same number of days that you did not have insurance coverage, but did hold the vehicle plates. If the time is more than 90 days, your driver license is also suspended for the same number of days as the registration. To reinstate your driver license, you must pay a termination fee of $25 when the suspension ends.

How do I prevent a suspension if my liability insurance lapses?

You can prevent the suspension of your registration and driver license if you surrender your vehicle plates to the DMV before your liability insurance lapses.

You are not required to surrender your vehicle plates for a suspension of 90 days or shorter if you pay a civil penalty. You cannot use the civil penalty option if the lapse is longer than 90 days or you used this option in the past 3 years.

The civil penalty amounts shown below are the amounts for suspensions that take effect on or after October 1, 2005. The civil penalty amount is:

  • $8 per day for each day of the lapse from day 1 through day 30, and
  • $10 per day for each day of the lapse from day 31 through day 60, and
  • $12 per day for each day of the lapse from day 61 through day 90.

For example, if you had a lapse of insurance for 85 days, your civil penalty is calculated as follows:

  • $8 x 30 days ($240) for days 1 through 30 of the lapse, plus
  • $10 x 30 days ($300) for days 31 through 60 of the lapse, plus
  • $12 x 25 days ($300) for days 61 through 85 of the lapse
  • for a total civil penalty of $840.

Note: Motorcycles are exempt from the requirement to surrender the vehicle plate when the liability insurance lapses, but liability coverage is required when the motorcycle is operated.

See the DMV brochure on liability insurance for additional information.

Learn how you can reduce your insurance premium with the Point Insurance Reduction Program. Discount car insurance is more affordable car insurance.

Go to the New York State Department website to read more information about auto insurance and see a list of insurance company codes.

Vehicle and Traffic Law

How can I get a copy of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law?

The Vehicle and Traffic Law is available as a book from the DMV for $3.50 per copy.  Complete form MV-15 (Request for Driver and/or Vehicle Record Information), and check the box for Vehicle and Traffic Law books in Step 2, Part A. Pay the fee with a check or money order payable to "Commissioner of Motor Vehicles". Send the form and fee to the address on the form.

The New York State Assembly and New York State Senate web sites have some sections of the Vehicle and Traffic Law on-line.

Driver License or Registration Fraud

If you have evidence that:

  • another person got a driver license, registration document or title certificate in your name, or
  • another person used your identity and DMV Client ID number for fraudulent purposes,

request form FI-17 (Report of Unauthorized Use). Contact a Department of Motor Vehicles Call Center or Office to request form FI-17.

You must have evidence of fraud to file form FI-17.

Reserved Parking For People With Disabilities

To get complete information about reserved parking for people with disabilities, read the DMV brochure, Parking for People With Disabilities.

Who is eligible for vehicle plates for disabled persons or a parking permit for disabled persons?

The NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law defines the permanent disabilities that qualify.  If you have a permanent disability that qualifies, you can get vehicle plates for reserved parking from the DMV or a parking permit from your local government. It is illegal to park in a parking space reserved for persons with disabilities if you do not have the correct vehicle plates or parking permit. You can use the vehicle plates or parking permit in New York State and in most other states.

How do I get a parking permit for disabled persons?

You and your healthcare provider can complete the application form MV-664.1. You also can have your healthcare provider (MD, DO, DPM, or NP) complete a statement on their letterhead. The statement must describe the disabling condition and verify that the disability qualifies according to the law. Bring the form or statement to the issuing agency in your locality (normally the office of your city clerk, town clerk or village clerk). There is no fee for a permit. Remember that the DMV does not issue the parking permits.

How do I get vehicle plates for the disabled?

  • Bring the proof of your disability (either form MV-664.1 or the statement from your healthcare provider) and current vehicle plates to any DMV office.
  • Bring your proof of identity.
  • Complete the application form, pay $18.00, and surrender your current vehicle plates.  Remove frames and fasteners before you surrender a vehicle plate or vehicle plates.  The DMV office will not accept a vehicle plate with a frame or any fasteners attached.
  • Vehicle plates for disabled persons are issued only for vehicles registered in the name of the disabled person.
  • Each disabled person can have one set of vehicle plates.

How much is the fine for someone who parks in a parking space or an access aisle reserved for disabled persons?

These fines are:

  • $50 to $75 for a first offense.
  • $75 to 150 for a second offense.

The locality can add to the amount of these fines. The law also allows police officers to tow and store illegally-parked vehicles.

How is the number of reserved parking spaces for disabled persons determined?

A locality can establish a local law or ordinance to reserve parking spaces on a street and install the signs. Municipalities do not have control over the assignment of parking spaces in private parking lots, but many facilities provide their own reserved parking. If you have a question about reserved parking for disabled persons on a specific street, determine if the street is part of county, city, town, village or state property. Then contact the correct officials for that locality. Shopping centers that include five or more retail stores are also required to provide and reserved parking spaces for disabled customers.

Is reserved parking for people with disabilities available in New York City?

New York City (NYC) issues parking permits and vehicle plates for disabled persons to its residents, but there are no reserved spaces in NYC. If you have questions about reserved parking for disabled persons in NYC, contact the NYC Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic.

Organ and Tissue Donor Registry

Enroll in the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry:

  • Mark the box that indicates "Organ Donor" on your renewal application form for a driver license or non-driver Photo ID (MV-2).
    - or -
  • Mark the box that indicates "Organ Donor" on your application form for a new driver license or a new non-driver Photo ID (MV-44).

The DMV will forward your information to the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH), which keeps the records of the Registry. Contact one of the organ procurement organizations listed here to get more information.  You can get an application to enroll in the registry at the New York State DOH.

Cell Phone Law

What is the law on cell phone use while you operate a vehicle in NYS?

New York State has passed a law that does not allow you to use a hand-held mobile telephone while you drive. If you use a hand-held mobile telephone while you drive, except to call 911 or to contact medical, fire or police personnel about an emergency, you can receive a traffic ticket and pay a maximum fine of  $100 and mandatory surcharges of $50.

This violation is not a probationary license violation, and the DMV does not assign any driver violation points.

For complete information on this traffic safety issue and a copy of the law, see Car Cell Phones at the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee web site.

The Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

What is the FOIL?

FOIL is an acronym for "Freedom of Information Law".  The NYS Freedom of Information Law provides for access to state and local government records.

If a NYS Department of Motor Vehicle record is not available using form MV-15 as indicated below, contact the DMV FOIL office.  Follow the instructions provided below to request DMV records under the FOIL.

What DMV records can I request under the FOIL?

All DMV records are available under a FOIL request except for:

1. Records or parts of records that can be withheld under section 87(2) of the New York State Public Officers Law, and

2. Records available using form MV-15 (Request for Driver and/or Vehicle Information).  These records are available through the DMV Certified Document Center, rather than the FOIL Office.  The following are records ordered with form MV-15:

  • Driver License Records
  • Vehicle Registration Records
  • Vehicle Title Records
  • Complete 19A Roster
  • Driver License Applications
  • Conviction Certificates
  • Driver License Suspension or Revocation Order
  • Drinking Driver Program Completion Certificate
  • Traffic Ticket (Summonses)
  • Vehicle Registration / Title Application
  • Vehicle Registration Suspension Order
  • Vehicle & Traffic Law Books

All other DMV records are available through the FOIL Office.  Do not submit a FOIL request for DMV records listed on form MV-15.

How do I make a FOIL request?

Make your FOIL request in writing.  To make a request under the FOIL for records that are not listed on form MV-15, do one of the following:

  1. Complete and mail form MV-15F (Freedom of Information Law Request Form).
  2. Write a letter that describes the records you seek.  Make sure you include your mailing address so the FOIL Office can respond by mail.  Send the letter to the FOIL Office address.
  3. E-mail a FOIL request only if you are a requestor who is exempt from the payment of fees.  See the information below about FOIL requests by e-mail.

When and where can I inspect copies of DMV records?

You can inspect DMV records that you requested, and get copies, at the DMV Customer Service Counter in Room 136 of the Swan Street Building, 6 Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York, 12228, between 7:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. on any business day.

Records cannot normally be produced on the same day that they are requested.  Most DMV records are available within twenty (20) business days of the FOIL Office written acknowledgment of your request.

Is there a fee for records I request under the FOIL?

Yes, the law authorizes the DMV to charge a $10 search fee to determine if the records you request are available.  You must pay the search fee even if the records you request cannot be found.  The search fee cannot be refunded.

Your FOIL request must include the $10 search fee as indicated on form MV-15F, unless your organization is exempt from the fee.

If the records you request are available, you must pay a copy fee of $1.00 for each page.  A page is a single sheet of paper, whether one-sided or two-sided.

You can pay the fees by credit card, or by a check or money order made out to Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

Can I request records under the FOIL by e-mail?

Yes, but only organizations that are exempt from the search and copy fees can submit FOIL requests by e-mail.  Exempt organizations are government agencies; public officers, boards or bodies, volunteer fire companies and volunteer ambulance services.

Exempt organizations can get instructions to submit an e-mail FOIL request to the DMV Customer Knowledge Base.

How can I contact the NYS DMV FOIL Office?

The DMV Records Access Officer is the person responsible for providing access to NYS DMV records under the FOIL.

The mailing address for the NYS DMV FOIL Office is:
Records Access Officer
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
FOIL Office
6 Empire State Plaza, Room 435
Albany, NY 12228

This address is also listed on form MV-15F.

The phone number for the FOIL Office is 518-473-0967.  Your FOIL request must be made in writing.

How can I get more information about the FOIL in NYS?

Visit the web site of the New York State Committee on Open Government.

"Watch Your Car" - a Program to Prevent Vehicle Theft

"Watch Your Car" (WYC) is a program that prevents the theft of vehicles. Special decals or etching on the window of a vehicle identify program participants. The decals warn law enforcement officers that the vehicle normally does not operate between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., or operate near an international border. The etching cuts the vehicle identification number (VIN) into the windshield of the vehicle. A thief cannot change or remove the etched VIN because they can also damage the windshield.

The program receives funds from the Federal government, and any law enforcement agency in NYS can enroll in the program. The DMV, the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), and the NYS Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Board coordinate the program in NYS.

Description of the Program

Law Enforcement Agency Enrollment

A law enforcement agency can enroll in the program through the DCJS. To enroll or to learn more about the program, law enforcement agencies can get information at the DCJS web site.

When a law enforcement agency enrolls in the WYC program, the agency receives consent forms, decals for issue to vehicle owners, and equipment and materials to do VIN etching.

Vehicle Owner Participation

To participate in the WYC program, a vehicle owner must contact a law enforcement agency that participates in the WYC program.

Consent Form and Options. The vehicle owner completes and signs a consent form in the presence of a law enforcement officer. The vehicle owner must give consent to participate in the program and must agree to follow the program guidelines. The vehicle owner can participate in the decal program, the VIN etching program, or both programs. A vehicle owner does not pay a fee to participate in the program.

Decals. A vehicle owner who participates in the decal program can receive the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. decals, the international border decal, or both sets of decals. There are two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. decals. One decal is in the shape of a rectangle and is attached to the lower corner of the windshield on the passenger side of the vehicle. The other decal is round and is attached to the lower corner of the back window on the driver side of the vehicle. Both decals have blue borders and the "Watch Your Car" program logo. The decals are reflective and tamper-resistant.

If a vehicle that displays the decals operates between 1 AM and 5 AM, a law enforcement officer is authorized by law to stop the vehicle to determine the ownership of the vehicle and the identity of the driver.

The international border decal displays a US flag and an outline of the US. The decal is attached to the front windshield, next to the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. windshield decal. The international border decal can be put on a vehicle that normally does not operate near international borders or ports. A law enforcement officer can stop a vehicle that displays this decal if the vehicle goes near or goes across a US border to another country. A law enforcement officer can also stop the vehicle if the vehicle enters a US port.

VIN Etching. If a vehicle owner selects VIN etching, the law enforcement agency cuts the VIN into the windshield of the vehicle. VIN etching does not damage the glass or the vehicle. Any person who changes or removes the VIN will damage the glass. VIN etching can help to stop thieves who try to sell or remove parts from stolen vehicles.

WATCH YOUR CAR Program and Combat Auto Theft (CAT) Program

The WYC program is similar to the Combat Auto Theft (CAT) program that began in 1991. The WYC program is available throughout the US and the decals are standard from one jurisdiction to another jurisdiction. Some localities continue to administer a CAT program and issue CAT decals. Other localities will issue WYC decals instead of CAT decals. Some localities may issue both WYC and CAT decals.

"Clean Pass" Stickers for high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) Lanes on the Long Island Expressway (LIE)

What is the "Clean Pass" Vehicle (CPV) Program?

The CPV program is a pilot program that is designed to encourage the purchase and use of vehicles that are very fuel efficient and that significantly reduce vehicle exhaust emissions.  The program is a joint effort by the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT), the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  The DOT web site has more details about the program.

What vehicles qualify for the Clean Pass vehicle stickers?

Only three vehicle models currently qualify for the stickers:

  • A model year 2000 to 2004 Honda Insight (only these model years qualify, not any other model years), or
  • A model year 2001 to 2008 Toyota Prius, or,
  • A model year 2003 to 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid. Note that only the Hybrid version of the Honda Civic qualifies.  No other version of the Civic qualifies.

The vehicle must have a valid NYS non-commercial registration.

For information about the reasons why only three vehicle models qualify, see the DOT web site.

How do I apply for the Clean Pass vehicle stickers?

If you have a vehicle that qualifies and that has a valid NYS registration, call the DMV at 1-800-697-0558 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays that are not State holidays.  Have the NYS vehicle registration card issued by the DMV available to provide information to the DMV representative.  You cannot apply if you have only a temporary registration issued by an automobile dealer.

You cannot apply for the Clean Pass vehicle stickers on-line or at a DMV office.  You can only apply for the stickers by telephone at 1-800-697-0558.

There is no fee for the stickers. Your Clean Pass vehicle stickers will arrive by mail within 10 days.  If you do not receive your stickers within 10 days, call 1-800-697-0558 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays that are not State holidays.

Do not call 1-800-697-0558 for other DMV business.  For other DMV business, contact or visit the DMV online, through a DMV telephone Call Center or at the DMV office.

Do not call 1-800-697-0558 to request that your vehicle model be added to the list of qualified vehicle models or to ask questions about the operation of the CPV program.  For these questions, contact the NYS DOT at 518-457-6195 or visit the DOT web site.

What are the benefits of the Clean Pass vehicle stickers?

With the Clean Pass vehicle stickers on a qualified vehicle, you can drive the vehicle in a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane of the Long Island Expressway (LIE) at any time with the driver as the only vehicle occupant.  Law enforcement agencies have been informed about the stickers and the qualified vehicles.

How many stickers will I receive, and how do I place the stickers on my vehicle?

You will receive four Clean Pass stickers on a single sheet of paper with specific instructions about where to place the stickers on your vehicle.

You will receive two large stickers and two small stickers. To correctly use the stickers:

  • Place one large sticker on the driver side of the front bumper.
  • Place the other large sticker on the passenger side of the rear bumper.
  • Place one small sticker on the lower rear quarter panel on the driver side, behind the rear wheel well.
  • Place the other small sticker on the lower rear quarter panel on the passenger side, behind the rear wheel well.

With the four stickers displayed, a police officer can see at least one sticker from any side of the vehicle.  If you display the stickers on a vehicle that does not qualify or you do not correctly display the stickers, you can receive a traffic violation ticket.

What can I do if I do not receive my Clean Pass stickers in the mail or my stickers are damaged, lost or stolen?

Call 1-800-697-0558 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays that are not State holidays.
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