New York State Seal
STATE OF NEW YORK
INSURANCE DEPARTMENT
25 BEAVER STREET
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10004

George E. Pataki
Governor

Gregory V. Serio
Superintendent

The Office of General Counsel issued the following informal opinion on December 6, 2002, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

RE: Insurance Reductions for the Completion of High School Driver Education Courses.

Question Presented:

Does the New York Insurance Law address the time limit for the presentation of certificates of completion of high school driver education courses?

Conclusion:

No. The New York Insurance Law does not address the time limit for the presentation of certificates of completion of high school driver education courses.

Facts:

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires applicants to complete an approved pre-licensing safe education course and to pass a 25-question multiple choice test, prior to making a road test appointment. This requirement is automatically fulfilled as part of every high school or college driver education course. The responsibility for the Student Driver Education Program is shared by the DMV and the New York State Education Department (SED). This program is given in secondary schools, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and colleges. It is not a defensive driving course.

The inquirer states that some former driver education students make a "sport" out of going into the schools where they took the driver education course and requesting duplicate "insurance letters". Sometimes they must be denied, if the information has been destroyed (usually after 2 or 3 years). The inquirer states that nothing in the DMV regulations or the Vehicle and Traffic Law that she found mentions a time frame for using the "Insurance Letter". However, often a school will call the DMV to determine when the individual took the course, as the DMV collects that information too. Although the letter is an SED responsibility, SED states that it has no law or statute regarding this either. The inquirer would like to know whether the New York Insurance Law addresses this issue.

Analysis:

Although many insurance companies provide premium reductions to youthful operators for the completion of their high school driver education courses, these premium reductions are not mandated by the New York Insurance Law.1 Consequently, the New York Insurance Law does not address the time limit for the presentation of certificates of completion of high school driver education courses. If an insurance company provides these insurance premium reductions to youthful operators for the completion of high school driver education courses, the procedures for such reductions would be included in each insurer’s internal guidelines.

For further information you may contact Senior Attorney Pascale Joasil at the New York City Office.


1 See Circular Letter 1999-12 entitled "Driver Education Course Certificates Insurance Reductions."