Arranging for Auto Insurance

The owner of a motor vehicle registered in New York State (NYS) must purchase auto insurance coverage for the motor vehicle before you can drive the vehicle. You must also register the vehicle with NYS DMV before you can drive the vehicle.

This law applies to both US citizens, and citizens of other countries. When you purchase a motor vehicle, the previous owner of the vehicle cannot transfer their auto insurance policy to you. You need to purchase auto insurance for the vehicle yourself.

The level of auto insurance coverage you purchase must include at least liability insurance. All motor vehicles regardless of type (motorcycle, car, truck, van) must be insured. Liability insurance is used for accident-related payments to someone other than yourself. Auto insurance can be costly. All drivers of the motor vehicle must be listed on the auto insurance policy, even if the driver is not a frequent driver of that vehicle.

Documents You Need to Purchase Auto Insurance:

In order to purchase an auto insurance policy, insurance companies require that you present the following:

  • Driver's license . The company will request driver's license numbers for everyone listed on your car insurance policy as a driver of the motor vehicle. In general, car insurance companies require you to present a valid US driver's license.Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). A car's vehicle identification number is the identifying 17-digit code for your SPECIFIC automobile. You can find the VIN on your vehicle registration card and on current car insurance documents. Sometimes you can find the VIN on the driver's side windshield or dashboard inside the car.
    • Some auto insurance companies charge a higher fee (premium) if you use an international driving permit and your home country driver's license. It is better to obtain a US driver's license for the purpose of saving on your auto insurance rates (known as "premiums").
  • Title of Ownership
  • Payment for Auto Insurance
  • Social Security Card: Requirements for Social Security Number vary from company to company.
    • A Social Security number is required by some credit-based companies in order to verify the information you provide on your auto insurance policy application
    • If you do not qualify for a Social Security Card, receive a "letter of ineligibility" from the Social Security Administration, and send it to the insurance company if it asks for it.  

Information About Insurance Companies
The chart below gives examples of the documents and other information required by different auto insurance companies. You will find the same insurance coverage will cost different amounts of money at different companies. Do your research - be sure to check on the company's reputation for service after an auto accident. Inclusion in this chart is not a recommendation from the ISSS of any of these companies. The purpose of this chart is simply to give you information. It is your choice to make. You will also find the contact information of several independent insurance agents listed in the Yellow Pages of the Broome County Phone Book.

21st Century
  • VIN # from the motor vehicle
  • SSN may be required
  • US driver's license
  • Either SSN OR New York state ID are required
  • International driver's license may be accepted (proof of driving record required)
  • SSN is preferred, but this requirement may be waived
  • VIN# or car registration
  • US Driver's license
  • No SSN is needed
  • Geico does not insure vehicles in the states of Massachusetts, and New Jersey
  • US Driver's license
  • No SSN is needed
  • US Driver's license
  • Vehicle title or registration
  • SSN is required

What Type of Auto Insurance Coverage Do I Have To Buy?
REQUIRED Auto Insurance Coverage - NYS DMV Regulations (Law)

this is the auto insurance coverage you must purchase:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: NYS law requires minimum coverage of $25,000 per person, $50,000 for bodily injury to all persons
  • Property Liability: NYS law requires minimum coverage of: $10,000 per accident
  • Personal Injury Protection (called No-Fault): refers to medical insurance for yourself and passengers in your own car. Coverage also includes coverage for loss of wages and services. The minimum protection is $50,000 per person

OPTIONAL Insurance Coverage: You can choose to have this level of coverage for your protection but NYS law does not require this level of coverage:

  • Collision - any accident that occurs involving your auto
  • Comprehensive - any loss other than collision (fire, theft, vandalism, etc

NYS DMV will suspend (cancel) your registration if you have a lapse of insurance. NYS DMV may also suspend (cancel) your driver's license. Be very careful when you change insurance coverage.

For more information on insurance-related regulations, visit this weblink. 

When you are driving your vehicle, you are required to have information with you on your current auto insurance policy. It is highly recommended that you keep the auto insurance information cards provided by your current auto insurance company in the glove compartment of your motor vehicle.


You can find additional insurance information here.



Last Updated: 4/12/16