This article is a continuation of our series of articles to help our clients understand New York car insurance. At Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn, we want our clients to be informed and protected. If you have any questions for our team of Long Island Personal Injury attorneys please call us at 516-858-1266. An attorney is available to help you 24- hours a day seven days a week.
PROPERTY DAMAGE COVERAGE
Property damage covers you from any damage caused to another’s property. For example, if you negligently strike another motor vehicle causing property damage to that car, your property damage coverage will protect you from the value of the damage you cause. Under current New York State law, the minimum property damage coverage is $10,000.
As long Island personal injury attorneys, we have many cases where our clients are involved in car accidents. Rarely is the damage to the cars involved less than $10,000. In fact, many minor impacts, where the damage is barely visible, have repair costs close to $10,000. Most cars on the road (especially in the Long Island area) are valued in excess of $10,000, and if you “total” another car in an accident it is almost certain the value will exceed $10,000. Most people have the mistaken belief that the insurance company will write-off anything in excess of the insurance policy; this is no longer the case. We have observed a recent trend where the insurance companies are now starting to sue the negligent party if the property damage coverage is inadequate. Pursuant to the standard automobile policy sold in New York, if you are sued, your carrier will provide you with an attorney to defend you for such suit but they are only obligated to cover you up to the amount of your policy limit. Many people feel if the other car is worth more than $10,000, then it is likely that car has collision and their insurance company will pay for the damages. This logic is now flawed. Since the gap in the minimum coverage for property damage coverage and the average vehicle value on Long Island is so high, insurance companies now more frequently exercise their right to subrogate* against the party that caused the damage. If you do not have the adequate coverage you might have to pay the insurance company the difference. This scenario is avoidable. The cost for property damage coverage is relatively cheap to the potential cost.
As Long Island Personal Injury attorneys, we want to make sure our clients are always protected. As such, we recommend property damage coverage no less than $50,000. If you have any questions an attorney is available 24-hours a day seven days a week.
*Subrogation is the right for an insurer to pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured. This is done as a means of recovering the amount of the claim paid to the insured for the loss.