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Spouse a Bad Driver? Consider Supplemental Spousal Liability

supplemental spousal liabilityHave you ever heard of Supplemental Spousal Liability? 

Don’t worry if you haven’t, most of our clients hadn’t heard of the rather obscure coverage either till we explain it to them.

Basically, on a standard NY auto insurance policy you do not have liability coverage against your Spouse in the event there is an accident.  If your driving causes death or injury to your spouse and they sue you a standard NY auto insurance liability policy does NOT provide coverage for either the defense cost or award.  (Thankfully, your spouse is still eligible for No-Fault benefits.  Which, in New York State, in conjunction with OBEL Coverage (Optional Basic Economic Loss) should be maxed out at $175k.)

All Carriers Offer Supplemental Spousal Liability

In New York State it is mandatory that all auto insurance carriers offer Supplemental Spousal Liability.  However, not all insurance agents discuss this coverage with their clients.  To obtain supplemental spousal liability there is an additional premium charge for each vehicle usually in the $15-$30 range.

For what it’s worth, I have only had two clients ever select to purchase supplemental spousal liability coverage.  So don’t feel bad if you decide your not interested in paying the extra premium.  I don’t usually like advocating for less coverage… but full disclosure I do not carry Supplemental Spousal Liability on my own policy.

Being Found Negligent

I am not a lawyer, but I have talked to lawyer’s about this coverage (and would encourage any lawyers reading this to chime in). From those that I have talked to, Supplemental Spousal Liability is extremely hard to prove.

Meaning, its very hard to prove that the driver (you) was negligent in causing the death or injury to the passenger (spouse).  This is because in regards to Supplemental Spousal Liability the passenger must prove that they did everything in their power to prevent the driver from committing the accident.

This causes a He Said / She Said situation in which negligence is difficult to prove.  I would love more opinions on this…

The Rub

Just to be straight, I’m not banking on the fact that my spouse can’t prove guilt, but rather that she would not sue me (maybe naive, but call me a romantic). 

I am also NOT advocating that you disregard supplemental spousal liability coverage just that you understand what it is, that it is available and make an educated buying decision.

Basically, if your spouse gives you the Stink-Eye every time you make a left-hand turn, you may want to give us a call at (518) 456-6688 and discuss adding supplemental spousal liability to your NY auto insurance policy.

If you don’t currently have a policy with us… No Problem! We’d love to provide you a quote.

Thank you,

Ryan Hanley