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New York car insurance premiums likely to increase under newly implemented law

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Insurance companies are now required to provide spousal liability coverage, though drivers can opt out of the coverage.

Drivers in New York may have noticed an uptick in their car insurance premiums as a result of a newly implemented state law.

On August 1, legislation went into effect requiring insurance companies to, by default, cover all drivers with supplemental spousal liability insurance.

Most insurance companies had already offered the coverage as an option. It covers injuries in the event you get into an accident caused by your spouse.

The change is automatic, meaning drivers are covered for it, even if they aren’t married, unless they contact their insurance company and opt out. The new coverage can increase premiums up to $20 per month. Insurance providers are required to notify drivers of the change.

Insurance industry groups like the New York Insurance Association oppose the change, mostly arguing that opting in all insured drivers is unnecessary.

“The New York Insurance Association (NYIA) believes that opt-out mechanisms are not consumer friendly and are bound to lead to greater confusion,” Ellen Melchionni, president of the organization, wrote in a statement. “It is important for consumers to be aware of the range of different types of coverage available in an auto insurance policy. NYIA encourages policyholders to talk with their company representative or agent to ensure their policy is best suited to their specific needs.”

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.