New York Life Insurance

In this article...
  • When buying life insurance, making an informed decision is crucial. Learn about New York life insurance regulations and what you can expect as a consumer.

When shopping for life insurance, you’ll face important decisions, such as how much coverage to buy, the type of plan that best suits your needs and which insurer offers the best value. Knowing how to navigate the available options can increase your likelihood of finding the right policy for your family. To make an informed decision, it may be helpful to understand who governs life insurance in New York and what protections you have as a consumer.

New York Life Insurance Rules and Specifics

The NYS Department of Financial Services oversees the state's insurance-related transactions. New York's insurance laws, as outlined under Title 11 of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, are designed to protect consumers. Provisions include a free-look period, a late-payment grace period and guaranteed reinstatement in certain situations.  

The Free-Look Period

New York insurers must offer a free-look period, during which purchasers may review their coverage and cancel their policy for a full refund if they aren’t satisfied. Depending on the contract, this trial period typically ranges between 10 and 30 days — or up to 60 days for a policy purchased as a replacement. Insurers are required to display information about the free-look period on the policy’s cover page.  

Late-Payment Grace Period

New York requires insurers to provide a 31-day grace period before cancelling a policy due to late payment. This period extends to 61 days for policies with varying premium payment amounts and frequencies. Consumers experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 may defer payments for up to 90 days. During the grace period, coverage continues in force.  

Guaranteed Reinstatement Period

If a scheduled-premium plan lapses due to nonpayment, the insurer must permit reinstatement for up to three years from the default date. To resume coverage, the policyholder must:

  • Submit a reinstatement application
  • Provide proof of good health
  • Pay overdue premiums with interest

Plans that offer flexible premium amounts and payment frequencies don’t include the same reinstatement right, and reinstatement may not be granted if the extended insurance period has expired or the policyholder has exhausted the plan’s cash-surrender value.

Life Insurance Resources in New York

Consumers with questions or concerns about life insurance policies or providers have several available resources, including the NYS Department of Financial Services and the Life Insurance Company Guaranty Corporation of New York.

NYS Department of Financial Services

The NYS Department of Financial Services provides various resources for New York residents, including:

  • General consumer information
  • A lost policy finder
  • Links to insurance ratings agencies
  • Complaint forms in 10 languages

Translation and interpretation services are available upon request.

Life Insurance Company Guaranty Corporation of New York

The Life Insurance Company Guaranty Corporation of New York is a not-for-profit organization that protects life insurance policyholders if the issuing company becomes insolvent. The organization also helps New Yorkers locate lost life and annuity policies.

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