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What is Supplemental Spousal Liability?


A man driving a car with a women in the passenger seat.

Supplemental Spousal Liability (SSL) is an optional coverage available in New York that provides additional liability protection for married couples who share a car insurance policy. This coverage extends the liability limits beyond the standard limits set by the policy, specifically for claims made against the non-negligent spouse.


Who is Covered?

SSL is designed to protect the non-negligent spouse named on the policy. In New York, married couples often opt for a joint car insurance policy, and SSL provides an extra layer of liability coverage for the non-negligent spouse if they are involved in an accident where they are not at fault.


Is SSL Standard on Car Insurance Policies?

SSL is not a standard inclusion in car insurance policies in New York. It is an optional coverage that increases your liability limits for the non-negligent spouse. Without SSL, the liability coverage would be limited to the standard policy limits.


Should You Get SSL When Renting a Car?

If you are renting a car in New York and have SSL on your existing car insurance policy, it's important to understand how SSL applies to rental vehicles. In most cases, SSL coverage does not extend to rental cars. Rental car agencies typically require you to purchase their liability coverage or provide proof of sufficient liability coverage from your own policy, which may need to meet the state's minimum requirements.


Example of this Coverage

Tom is driving in the car with his wife, Cindy, and attempting to use the GPS on his phone. Unfortunately, Tom causes an accident, resulting in him being found at fault for the collision. Cindy suffers significant injuries and experiences substantial damage as a result.

In this case, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage would cover Cindy's medical expenses. However, due to the fact that her husband, Tom, was at fault, Cindy is unable to pursue a claim against another party for pain and suffering as she would be able to if Tom were not at fault.

Fortunately, Supplemental Spousal Liability coverage allows spouses to seek compensation for pain and suffering from their husband or wife in the event of an accident. This coverage is part of the bodily injury limit, allowing injured spouses like Cindy to pursue damages from their negligent driving spouse.


In simpler terms, Supplemental Spousal Liability coverage enables spouses, such as Tom and Cindy, to take legal action against each other when the passenger spouse sustains injuries due to the negligent driving of their partner. At first glance, it may seem counterintuitive for one spouse to make an insurance claim against the other. However, Supplemental Spousal Liability coverage serves as a vital safety net in such situations.


Conclusion

Supplemental Spousal Liability (SSL) is an optional coverage in New York that offers additional liability protection for the non-negligent spouse on a joint car insurance policy. It extends the liability limits beyond the standard policy limits and can provide valuable coverage in situations where the non-negligent spouse is involved in an accident. While SSL is not standard on car insurance policies, it offers an extra layer of protection for married couples sharing a policy. If you're considering adding SSL to your car insurance policy, talk with your insurance agent to understand the coverage options and benefits available to you.


If you are interested in car insurance, Twelve Corners Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency serving all of New York. They have personalized service, local expertise, and access to multiple providers. Find the best coverage at competitive rates.

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