The empire state ends photo inspections for new car insurance policies


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New York drivers buying a new full-coverage car insurance policy may no longer face cancellation if they fail to submit photos of their vehicles to their insurance companies within 14 days. As of May 15, 2024, the new Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act will allow insurers to waive the photo-inspection requirement.

“Under the new law, inspections will be optional, so policyholders are not needlessly being required to have a photo inspection of their vehicle,” said Ellen Melchionni, president of the New York Insurance Association (NYIA). “Importantly, it will also help alleviate the tens of thousands of customers a year from needing to have their comprehensive and collision coverage reinstated, as the [current] law has dictated that this coverage be canceled if photos are not taken in time.”

Current law in New York

New York’s current decades-old photo inspection requirement was originally intended to combat insurance fraud. It requires drivers to submit photographs of their vehicles to their insurers before the insurance company can issue a new full-coverage policy on the vehicle.

Drivers have just 14 days to complete the photo inspection after a policy is issued. Failing to submit the photos in that time frame leads to cancellation of their comprehensive and collision coverages.

The new law allows insurers to waive the photo inspection requirement for some or all vehicles they insure by filing a form with New York’s insurance regulators.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act into law on Nov. 17, after the bill moved quickly to approval with broad support in the state legislature in just a few months.

What this means for New York drivers

Provided their insurance company has obtained a photo inspection waiver and determines the inspection isn’t needed for their vehicle, many New York drivers will no longer have to worry about submitting photos to avoid cancellation of a new full-coverage policy.

Although the law’s full impact on car insurance costs won’t be apparent until the act takes effect in 2024, reducing the number of inspections isn’t likely to increase premiums, according to the NYIA.

What’s next

The Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act takes effect May 15, 2024, and sunsets on Oct. 1, 2027. During the act’s effective years, insurance companies can waive or continue photo inspections on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis at their discretion, provided they’ve obtained a waiver from the state.

It’s common for laws in New York to have an expiration date. But a wide range of laws are extended each year. The legislature could choose to extend the act beyond its 2027 expiration date.

“The New York Insurance Association applauds Gov. Hochul and the legislature for removing the photo inspection mandate in New York,” Melchionni said. “Insurance companies are thrilled to deliver this win for drivers in New York and be able to best serve our policyholders.”

This article originally appeared on Insurify and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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