Basically, a "covered person" is anyone who is covered under PIP. N.Y. Insurance Law 5102(j) defines a "covered person" as:

Any pedestrian injured through the use or operation of, or any owner, operator or occupant of, a motor vehicle which has in effect the financial security required by article six or eight of the vehicle and traffic law or which is referred to in subdivision two of section three hundred twenty-one of such law; or any other person entitled to first party benefits.

NOTE: The definition of a "motor vehicle," provided in 5102(f) does not include a motorcycle.

NOTE REGARDING OUT-OF-STATE VEHICLES: In order to qualify as a "covered person," a vehicle must meet the insurance requirements of Article Six or Eight of New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law (section 321 referenced in the above definition has exceptions for certain vehicles such as vehicles owned by the federal government). Article Eight discusses vehicles for hire, while Article Six covers other vehicles. The Article Six insurance requirement requires NY vehicles to be insured with a 25/50/10 policy issued by an insurer authorized to transact business in NY. V&T 311(4)(a)-(b). A vehicle lawfully registered in another state must be insured by "either a policy issued by an authorized insurer, or a policy issued by an unauthorized insurer authorized to transact business in another state if such unauthorized insurer files with the commissioner in form to be approved by him a statement consenting to service of process and declaring its policies shall be deemed to be varied to comply with the requirements of this article" V&T 311(4)(c). Case law establishes that if these requirements are met, the out-of-state vehicle is treated as any other "covered person." Hunter v. OOIDA Risk Retention Group, Inc., 909 N.Y.S.2d 88 (2nd Dept. 2010) See further Nationwide Ins. Co. v. Morigerato, 215 A.D.2d 994, 995 (3rd Dept. 1995), Aetna Life & Cas. Co. v Allstate Ins. Co. 616 N.Y.S.2d 838 (4th Dept. 1994), and Fireman's Ins. Co. v. Le Compte, 599 N.Y.S.2d 139 (3rd. Dept. 1993). Note that some of these cases can be read as requiring that the out-of-state policy must have at least 25/50/10 coverage on their policy. This does not seem to really be the case (though the statute can be read that way depending on how certain "and"s and "or"s are understood in V&T 311(4)). If the out-of-state vehicle is insured by an insurer authorized to issue policies in New York, then their policy will be required to meet New York minimums when a vehicle is operated in New York, pursuant to N.Y. Ins. L. 5107. If the insurer is not authorized, the vehicle will only be a "covered person" if the insurer has agreed to vary their policies in conformity with New York law. Therefore, it seems that by definition any out-of-state vehicle meeting the requirements of V&T 311(4)(c) will meet the minimum liability limit requirements.

Note that as long as an insurer is authorized to transact any form of insurance in New York, its insured should be considered a "covered person." Note that V&T 311(4)(c) requires only that the out-of-state vehicle be insurerd by "authorized insurer" (not necessarily an authorized automobile insurer in oder to qualify as having an "owner's policy of liability insurance." Additionally, N.Y. Ins. L. 5107 subjects any "insurer authorized to transact or transacting business in this state" (or its affiliates) to a requirement of meeting NY insurance requirements when its insured's vehicle is operated within New York. Note that the term "insurer," for purposes of section 5107 is defined in 5102(g) as any insurance company or self-insurer "which provides the financial security required by article six or eight of the vehicle and traffic law." which brings us full-circle back to whether the insurer is an "authorized insurer." Previously, "insurer" had been defined only as an insurer authorized "any form of motor vehicle liability insurance business" in NY. However, it now seems that neither Ins. L. 5107 nor V&T 311(4)(c) require the insurer to be authorized for motor vehicle insurance.

To see if an insurer is authorized in New York, acces the DMV list here and the Department of Insurance search here (open in a new windows). To inquire if an unauthorized insurer has filed with the commissioner pursuant to V&T 311(4)(c), send an e-mail inquiry to iies@dmv.state.ny.us.

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