By Jacob Keiffert

Service Award Specialist with Hometown Firefighter & EMS Services

Auto Coverage Specialist with Hometown Insurance Agency of Long Island, Inc.

 

We’re all aware that when you are involved in an auto accident with another party and they are deemed to be at fault, the other party is liable to pay the damages incurred to you due to their negligence. If the other party has an auto insurance policy, those damages are paid out of their liability coverage.

As of August 1, 2023, legislation went into effect that requires insurers to automatically include supplemental spousal liability coverage on all auto insurance policies in the state of New York.  So what exactly does this mean?

Supplemental spousal liability insurance is a special endorsement that provides bodily injury liability coverage in the event that your spouse is responsible for an accident and you, as a passenger, are injured as a result.

Put simply, if one spouse causes an accident due to their negligent driving, the other spouse is able to collect compensation from his or her own insurance company due to the driving spouse’s responsibility for the accident.  Yes, you can sue your spouse.  And although that may seem counterintuitive, the fact is that you are entitled to compensation for your injuries just like anyone else involved in a car accident.

Many carriers like Travelers, Progressive, and Hartford already include this coverage in their policies at no additional cost.  If you are insured by one of these carriers your premiums will not be affected by this law.  Other carriers such as Plymouth Rock and Utica National had previously included this coverage as an optional endorsement only. So if you are insured by one of those carriers, you should expect to see a slight increase in your premium when you renew as a result of the added coverage requirement.

Note that supplemental spousal liability coverage will be included on all auto policies, whether you are married or not.  If you wish to opt out, you must decline the coverage explicitly in writing (ask your agent for a waiver).  If you do decide to opt out of this coverage because you do not have a spouse or for any other reason, you could see an annual savings of between $20-$80.

This is probably a good time to review your auto policy to be sure it has everything you need to protect you and nothing you don’t.  Call Hometown at 631-589-2929 and let us take a look.  It will cost you nothing to call and the review could even save you money.