When it comes to automobile insurance laws in the United States, the term “no-fault” is most commonly used to refer to situations in which a policyholder and their passengers are reimbursed by the policyholder’s insurance company without attribution of fault, and are restricted in their ability to seek recovery through the civil justice system for losses caused by third parties.
In simplest possible terms, if you’re in an auto accident and you or your passengers get hurt, no-fault insurance can help cover your:
- Medical bills
- Health insurance deductibles
- Lost wages if your injury prevents you or your passengers from working
- Essential services including child care, cleaning or grocery shopping
- Funeral expenses if one of your passengers loses their life in a car accident
No-fault insurance has the purpose of lowering premium costs by avoiding expensive litigation over the causes of a collision, while also providing prompt reimbursements for any injuries or property damage that occurs in an accident.
Which states have no-fault insurance policies in place?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 12 states (Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah) and Puerto Rico currently have some form of mandatory no-fault insurance law, while Arizona and Nevada are considering similar legislation.
(The option to use it is also offered on an optional basis in several other states)
Types of no-fault insurance
While the rules differ from state to state, the insurance industry categorizes them into three fundamental types: “pure” or “true” no-fault, “choice” no-fault, and “add-on” no-fault coverage.
No-fault states that are “pure” or “true”
Pure (or “genuine”) no-fault insurance policies are those in which the driver’s insurance pays first-party benefits to the driver and their passengers, and drivers are restricted in their ability to sue if they are at fault for the accident. First-party benefits refer to the fact that the driver’s insurance carrier will pay for their medical and other expenditures regardless of who is at fault in an accident. Only the following states (plus the territory of Puerto Rico) have strict no-fault statutes in their legal systems:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory.
No-Fault states as choice
Choice no-fault refers to jurisdictions that provide people with a choice between pure no-fault and a regular automobile insurance policy that does not restrict their ability to sue in the event of an accident. These states (which are also included on the list above for providing pure no-fault coverage) provide drivers with the option:
- New Jersey
No-Fault states as an add-on
No-fault plans that are purchased as an add-on are a hybrid of sorts. Drivers have the right to sue, just like they would under a standard auto policy, but first-party coverage can be added to the policy, which means that their own insurance company will pay for their medical and other expenditures. Add-on no-fault statutes are in effect in the following states (as well as the District of Columbia):
- DC is the District of Columbia.
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
What is the procedure to claim no-fault insurance?
If you are involved in an accident and have no-fault insurance, you may be able to file personal injury protection (PIP) claim to recover the medical expenses that were incurred. If your insurer contributes to the cost of your claims, you will be reimbursed for the money you have spent.
As a result, if you are involved in a collision with another vehicle and have no-fault insurance, it will assist you in paying for the injuries you and your passengers have sustained. If you are involved in an accident in a state that does not have no-fault insurance regulations and you are harmed, you may be able to:
- Consult with the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver to see if their bodily injury liability insurance can be used to help cover your fees.
- If you are at fault for the accident, you should file a claim for medical expenses coverage.
What is the procedure for obtaining no-fault insurance?
In the states listed above, no-fault insurance is included as part of your regular insurance coverage as a courtesy. If you have insurance in a state that has implemented this system, you do not need to contact your insurance provider to have it added to your policy; it will do so on its own. While not illegal in every state, it is crucial to double-check the laws in your area to ensure that you are following the law.
What are the advantages of having a no-fault insurance coverage?
When it comes to no-fault insurance, the amount of time it takes to resolve a claim is one of the most significant advantages. Because there are no back and forths between insurance companies trying to figure out who is to blame, the process of paying for any automotive or hospital claims is expedited.
The time saved by this procedure is in addition to the money saved. By submitting a claim to your own insurance company, you can avoid the hefty costs associated with prosecuting an at-fault driver in a court of law.
Does no-fault insurance cover car damage?
Although your no-fault insurance covers economic losses, damage to your vehicle would be covered by either your collision insurance or the other driver’s liability policy – not by no-fault insurance.
What is a tort state?
A tort state is one where the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the other driver’s medical expenses after an accident. These at-fault drivers also have to pay for lost wages, pain, and suffering.
What are the legal ramifications of having no-fault insurance protection?
There are absolutely no legal ramifications to this. No-fault insurance applies only to the procedure of obtaining insurance. Even though you are covered by no-fault insurance, it is possible to be prosecuted for a driving offense by the police.
With so many car insurance coverages available, it may be difficult to understand what each cover offers, and how they differ. Keep in mind that no-fault insurance isn’t available in all states, so you’ll have to check if you can get it where you live.