Automatic spousal insurance coverage enrollment could be narrowed

By Published On: April 11th, 2024Categories: Capitol Notes

State policymakers are taking steps to revise a controversial car insurance requirement dealing with spousal liability that took effect in 2023.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, Senate Insurance Committee Chair Neil Breslin, and Assembly Insurance Committee Chair David Weprin have crafted separate legislation amending state law to ensure that only New Yorkers who insurance companies believe are married would be automatically enrolled in supplemental spousal liability insurance. These drivers would be required to proactively decline the coverage if they didn’t want the additional insurance protection.

Under current state law, all New Yorkers with car insurance have to opt out of the supplemental coverage, which increases their monthly premiums.

The governor included language in her budget proposal, but it is not expected to be part of a final deal. A version from Weprin, which the industry has concerns about, made it through the Assembly in March. Earlier this week, Breslin introduced his own legislation, which is similar to the governor’s proposal.

The proposed bills would also create a pathway for New Yorkers to purchase spousal liability insurance coverage if they’re not automatically enrolled in the future.