Currently, there are 12 states considered no-fault states in regards to Auto Insurance. You may be wondering what “no-fault” means exactly. No, it doesn’t mean that everyone in these states drives around recklessly and bumps into other cars, people and pets before walking away without facing any consequences. It also doesn’t mean that if you live in a no-fault state that your insurance company will pay for all accidents, no questions asked.
Unlike other states, no-fault states require Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of the state’s minimum insurance requirements. This PIP coverage is used to take care of losses incurred in an accident, regardless of who caused the accident. Basically, it becomes a shared cost. Therefore, when you live in a no-fault state your right to sue for the losses incurred by a car accident are significantly reduced. Read on to understand more fully.
Which States are No-Fault States?
The 12 no-fault states include the following: Kansas, Kentucky, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and North Dakota as well as the following states, which have verbal thresholds: Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. A verbal threshold refers to an injury resulting in the loss of a limb/member or function. However, each state’s rules vary. Look at your state’s laws closely to understand exactly what being in a no-fault state means to you.
What is No-Fault Insurance?
Having no-fault insurance means that if you get into an accident, your insurance company will pay your medical expenses and earnings lost due to the accident, up to policy limits. What is unique here is that your insurance carrier will cover injuries. This is true even if you’re the one that was at fault in the accident. In states that do not require no-fault insurance, you are only covered by your insurance for your own losses if the other driver was at fault. For example, say you only had the minimum Liability Insurance and you were at fault in an accident. In that case, your insurance company would only cover losses to the other driver. You’d be on your own to pay for repairs or to buy another car unless you had Collision coverage.
Is it Good to Live in a No-Fault State?
One good thing about living in a no-fault state is that there is no wait time after filing a claim. This is because there’s no need to prove who was at fault. A down side of living in a no-fault state is that you’re usually paying a little bit more per month than if you were able to carry Liability Insurance alone.
Is There Anything Not Covered in a No-Fault State?
Yes, you can never make a claim for “pain and suffering” in no-fault states with your Auto Insurance. Also, you can only pursue a claim beyond what is stated in the policy if you’ve reached your limits for medical coverage. Your insurance company will cover around $3,000 or else it will require documentation of severe injuries (broken bones, dismemberment, etc.). Proof that you still have medical problems caused by the accident is also required. If you qualify, you are permitted to file an additional claim to the one covered.
Why is There a No-Fault Insurance law?
Essentially, the no-fault insurance law is meant to simplify the way car accident cases are dealt with in the courts and to reduce the number of lawsuits. These limitations are in place as an attempt to circumvent the court system through shared responsibility. There are checks-and-balances system to prevent abuse and fraud, however. Also, each state has different laws and not all no-fault states have the same verbal or monetary thresholds. Want to find out more about the terms in your state? Speak with a knowledgeable Insurance Specialist today at (855) 919-4247.
Suing for Injuries From the Other Driver in a No-Fault State
To bring a claim against the at-fault driver in a no-fault state you have to meet the serious-injury threshold. Now, how do you define serious or grave? The law is usually pretty explicit about injuries, stating that you only have an alternative recourse if you:
- Fractured or broke a bone
- Became disfigured
- Faced the limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Faced a significant limitation of use of a function or system, or
- Were fully disabled for 90 days or more
Just saying you were traumatized and need to seek therapy will not suffice. One exception to this would be if you were so traumatized that you were unable to do your life’s normal activities for three consecutive months. However, this would require sufficient proof of your claim’s validity to qualify.
Giving a Statement to the Insurance Company in a No-Fault State
What you say to an insurance company actually matters less if you live in a no-fault state. This is because there is not as much of a battle between insurance companies behind the scenes. Why? Because you’re restricted in your right to sue. In fact, it’s required by law for you cooperate with both insurance companies. Chances are that your insurer will be the one asking for a recorded statement. You may even be required to have a medical examination selected by your insurance company if you’re claiming serious injuries. This is usually the case if the injury costs exceed $3,000. If you do not cooperate, your insurance company may deny your claim. And in no-fault states, the company has every right to do so according to the law.
Add-On No-Fault Insurance States
In addition to Washington D.C, there are three add-on no-fault states that allow a driver to buy Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as an add-on or endorsement to your policy. These states include Arkansas, Delaware and Maryland. Having this add-on means you’re covered by your insurance company even if you were found at fault for an accident, up to your policy limits. These add-on states are not no-fault states. Therefore, the injured party can still sue the party at fault.
Buying the Right Auto Insurance
Regardless of the type of state you live in, you always need to tailor your Auto Insurance policy to fit your needs. Everyone’s driving habits and insurance requirements are different and dependent on lifestyles and several other factors. Speak with an AIS agent today to find out what your state requires and what rate works best for you at (855) 919-4247.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. It should not replace manuals, instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here. Such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.