Supplemental Spousal Liability Insurance Now Automatic in New York State

Supplemental Spousal Liability Insurance Now Automatic in New York State

August 23, 2023

A significant update to New York’s insurance laws took effect earlier this month, and it is a step to protect married consumers.

Effective August 1, 2023, Insurance Law § 3420(g) requires insurance companies to provide supplemental spousal liability insurance, unless the insured party elects in writing to decline the coverage. Previously, coverage was available, but insured parties had to opt in.

Supplemental Spousal Liability insurance provides coverage if a spouse suffered serious injuries or death in an accident where the other spouse was at fault. It also provides coverage where the other spouse was not at fault, but the motorist who was responsible for the accident had inadequate coverage. In the past, had the driver not specifically added the coverage to their policy, the injured spouse was unable to sue for compensation under his or her spouse’s policy.

Under the law, supplemental spousal coverage is required to be equal to, or greater than, bodily injury liability coverage.

We advise all our clients to review their insurance policies annually, and upon any major life change like a marriage or divorce, to make sure they are sufficiently covered in the event of an accident. It is all too common for a motorist to attempt to file a claim, only to find out they do not have coverage, or do not have sufficient coverage to fully compensate them for their damages.

Additionally, though the cost is not expected to be significant, unmarried drivers, who do not need this coverage, may complete a declination form and submit it to their insurance company to opt out.

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]