What minimum amount of liability coverage does New York State Law require an owner of a livery vehicle (such as an Uber cab) to maintain?
With respect to the minimum liability amounts for motor vehicles required under New York Law, the requirements are governed by Article 8 of the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law. N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 310(2) (McKinney 2000) declares that as to the purpose of the law, "The legislature determines that it is a matter of grave concern that motorists shall be financially able to respond in damages for their negligent acts, so that innocent victims of motor vehicle accidents may be recompensed for the injury and financial loss inflicted upon them. The legislature finds and declares that the public interest can best be served in satisfying the insurance requirements of this article...." This public policy with respect to for-hire vehicles is implemented through N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 370 (McKinney 2000), which establishes that an owner's policy of liability insurance must maintain bodily injury liability coverage for injury to one person in a motor vehicle accident in an amount not less than $25,000 per person and for injury to two or more persons in an amount not less than $50,000.
However, with respect to livery vehicles licensed to operate in New York City, which includes an Uber cab, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission requires that each owner of a for-hire vehicle (e.g. taxicab, livery, black car, silver car, limousine) must maintain bodily injury liability coverage for injury to one person in a motor vehicle accident in an amount not less than $100,000 per person and for injury to two or more persons in an amount not less than $300,000. These minimum requirements can be met by either a single policy providing the required limits on a primary basis or by means of an excess policy which, in combination with the primary policy, provides the required limits.
In conclusion, if you were injured in New York City, while in a cab, and the cab is at fault, then there should be a minimum of $100,000 of coverage.
However, in our experience, we generally find that the livery cabs only have the State minimum of $25,000 and quite frankly there is nothing that can be done to piece together the missing $75,000. Sure, it's illegal to have less than the minimum insurance - but that's just a criminal issue for the driver and there is no entity that will step in to make up the difference.