New York State Passes Important Insurance Update

New York State Passes Important Insurance Update

July 15, 2022

After more than a decade of legislative effort, New York State is one signature away from enacting an important new protection for individuals injured or killed in a car accident in which their spouse was at fault.

Last month the New York State Senate passed Bill S9367. The bill will now head to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk for her signature. If signed into law, S9367 would mandate that all insurance companies include supplemental spousal liability coverage in every liability policy.

Under current law, such coverage is not mandated, leaving millions of New Yorkers potentially vulnerable in the event they are in an accident in which their spouse is found to be liable. The new bill requires that insurance companies provide supplemental spousal liability coverage equal to bodily injury liability coverage, unless the insured motorist specifically declines the coverage in writing.

Under a typical auto insurance policy, no coverage is often provided for a spouse who is injured or killed in an accident caused by his or her spouse. In cases where one spouse is left unable to work, or even killed, this can put an undue burden on the surviving spouse and have long-standing negative effects.

Many drivers simply assume that when they buy a policy, it covers everyone riding in their car. It is only when there is an accident injuring or killing the spouse of the driver at fault, that people discover this glaring gap in coverage. At that point, it is too late. Assuming Gov. Hochul signs S9367 into law (which she is expected to do) it will be a huge step to protecting drivers in New York.

Once it is signed by the Governor, the law will go into effect January 1, 2023 and cover all policies issued, renewed, or modified on or after January 1, 2023.

Sarah Rera is a litigation attorney with Gross Shuman P.C. who focuses her practice in the areas of personal injury and business litigation. She has served as trial counsel in multiple complex business disputes and personal injury claims in New York State Supreme Court, receiving numerous successful verdicts for her clients. She is also an experienced appellate practitioner and has appeared before the Appellate Division and the New York Court of Appeals, the highest Court in New York. She can be reached at 716-854-4300 ext. 289 or [email protected]