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Updated: September 5, 2023 @ 1:02 pm
SYRACUSE (TNS) — Drivers across New York are getting enrolled automatically in expanded, more expensive car insurance thanks to a state law that took effect Aug. 1.
The new law auto-enrolls drivers across the state in supplemental spousal liability coverage, according to WKBW in Buffalo. Depending on when your auto policy renews in the coming year, your insurance company will either notify you of the change or just add the coverage, an expert told the station.
The added coverage will cost $20 to $84 annually, according to The Buffalo News.
The new coverage pays out in some specific situations.
If spouses are involved in an accident and one is driving and at fault and the other is injured, the injured spouse generally can’t sue the other to recover money from that spouse’s insurance policy, according to the News.
Supplemental spousal liability coverage changes that. If that supplement is in effect, the injured spouse can sue and seek payment from the driving spouse’s insurance company for damages, including pain and suffering, the News said.
But the new state law requires insurance companies to add all drivers in the state to supplemental spousal coverage, even if they’re not married, according to WHEC in Rochester.
About half of New York’s driving population won’t benefit from the extra coverage since they’re not married, according to the News. Insurance companies warned Gov. Kathy Hochul about that fact last year, but Hochul signed the bill into law in December without insisting on changes to narrow the coverage requirement, the News said.
New Yorkers can opt out of the coverage. You’ll need to contact your insurance company and fill out a form, according to the News.
The chairman of the state Senate Insurance Committee, Sen. Neil Breslin, sponsored the law requiring the coverage. He told the News he’s open to changes and doesn’t want people paying for coverage that won’t give them any benefits.
State Assemblyman Steve Hawley of Batavia, a realtor and insurance agent, told WKBW the law wasn’t thought out very well.
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