Understanding Supplemental Spousal Liability Coverage in New York

Supplemental Spousal Liability Coverage is not a new additional option to your auto insurance, but effective August 1st, 2023, New York passed a new law that will have significant implications for drivers in New York.

This law requires an insurer to issue or deliver a policy that automatically provides supplemental spousal liability insurance unless the named insured elects, in writing, to decline and refund such insurance coverage on the insured’s policy.

What is Supplemental Spousal Liability?

Supplemental spousal liability insurance coverage is a type of insurance protection designed to provide financial security for you or your spouse in the event of a car accident where you or your spouse are at fault.

In simpler terms, it means that if your spouse is a passenger in an accident that was your fault (as the driver) and is injured, then they would be able to sue and collect pain and suffering compensation from your own auto insurance policy.

Supplemental spousal liability coverage pays for your legal defense along with any damages you may owe as the responsible party, up to the limit on the policy. The coverage limit matches the coverage limit of your regular bodily injury liability coverage.

How much does supplemental spousal liability cost?

Like most insurance coverages and auto insurance policies, there are many factors that determine  the “cost” of coverages.

This coverage varies from one insurance company to another and also depends on your specific policy and the number of vehicles you have on your policy.

We have seen the cost of this coverage range from $15 up to around $80 a year.

We have also seen insurance companies including this coverage automatically as part of a base package of coverages. This will result in no additional premium added to your policy.

When does the new New York State Law take effect?

Supplemental spousal liability coverage will automatically be added to your auto insurance policy after August 1st, 2023, and a charge may be added to your policy when it renews or after you make a change or endorsement to your policy.

An example of a policy change is adding or removing a vehicle from your policy.

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Why is it added to my policy if I am not married?

Supplemental spousal liability coverage is being added to all New York Auto Insurance policies regardless of your specific marital status. If you are not married, the law, as currently written, does not make an exception for unmarried individuals.

If you are a business and have a business auto policy, the law still requires your policy to include this coverage. Employees or individuals driving a business-owned vehicle may also use it for personal reasons where a spouse is riding in the vehicle with them.

How do I opt out of spousal liability insurance coverage?

The law states that the insurance company needs to include this coverage unless the named insured opts out in writing.

This is relatively easy to do, and it involves a simple one-page opt-out form that needs to be signed by a named insured.

Make sure you reach out to your independent insurance agent, who can help facilitate this and provide you with a copy of the form to be signed and submitted to the insurance company on your behalf.

This form only needs to be signed once, and the coverage will remain off as long as you are with the same insurance company or agent

If you do not use an independent insurance agent or do not get responses from your current agent, the team at Crowley Insurance will gladly help. Click on the button below to reach out to us.


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