Photo © by Jeff Dean

You know those commercials for the Snuggie?  The “blanket with sleeves” that covers you no matter what you’re doing? No-fault insurance may seem like a Snuggie – but you should know it doesn’t always have you covered.

New York no-fault insurance provides a maximum of $50,000 to compensate people for medical expenses and lost wages arising from accidents involving the use or operation of motor vehicles.

The insurance company pays for:

  • Basic economic losses such as lost earnings
  • Necessary medical expenses
  • Other expenses ($25 per day) caused by the injury

This coverage provides people with immediate relief for injuries received in accidents. At the same time, no-fault insurance avoids forcing every injured party into litigation in order to receive compensation for damages.

Every motor vehicle in New York State is required to carry no-fault insurance. And every person in the car – or person struck by the car – a pedestrian or bicyclist for example, – may recover their losses from that car’s no-fault insurance.

If that specific car is not insured, an injured occupant may collect on their own no-fault policy – or a policy belonging to any insured relative who lives in the occupant’s household.

So, it must be difficult to find a situation no-fault doesn’t cover, right? Not quite.

The motorcycle exception

Motorcycles are not covered by no-fault insurance – at least not in the same way motor vehicles are.

Even though a motorcyclist must carry no-fault insurance coverage, it benefits people injured by the motorcycle – not the motorcyclist or passenger. (A motorcycle passenger may, however, bring a liability claim against the motorcyclist  if he or she was negligent in causing the accident.)


You can void your own no-fault coverage if you are:

  • Injured by your own intentional act.
  • Operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
  • Hurt while committing a felony or fleeing law enforcement.
  • Racing or conducting speed tests.
  • In a car known to be stolen.
  • In an accident in your own car and you don’t have no-fault coverage.
  • Are repairing, servicing or maintaining a vehicle and get injured while doing so.

The law of no-fault insurance is extremely complex, and involves many exceptions (many more than I have mentioned here) and supplements.  Don’t take this article as the last word on the subject.

If you have been involved in an auto accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney quickly – to make sure that your rights are protected and you receive just compensation.

Thanks for reading, Jim
James B. Reed, Esq.
New York and Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866  Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529