Saturday, February 17, 2024

No-Fault Auto Insurance Explained

No-fault auto insurance is coverage that operates under the rule that no single driver was at fault in a car accident. Therefore no fault is determined in a car accident and each injured party will file a claim with their own respective auto insurance company for damages. For example, if Robert and Susan get in a car accident, Robert will file a claim with his insurance company and Susan will file a claim with hers regardless of who was at fault – because there was no one at fault.

There are two types of “no-fault auto insurance”. The most common type is the pure form which limits liability and a person’s right to sue in a car accident with the exception of major injuries, extreme negligence, and a small number of other reasons. Most car accidents that happen under no-fault car insurance coverage simply end up with a claim for damages and injury costs with no punitive or nuisance lawsuits.

The other type of no-fault auto insurance is the “add-on” option available in some states. The advantage of adding a no-fault car insurance option to your policy in these states is that you can file a claim with your car insurance company regardless of who was at fault. This insures the policyholder a quick claims handling process but because it’s just an “add-on”, and not a pure form of no-fault insurance, there is no protection from frivolous litigation in a car accident. Most states only offer the pure form of no-fault car insurance.

Can I still be sued with No-Fault Auto Insurance?

Yes, “no-fault auto insurance” is not a diplomatic immunity like a blanket of protection from all liability in a car accident. However certain financial thresholds must be met before the court will allow a lawsuit to proceed. Monetary damages are not the only reason you can be sued – In cases where a driver operated a vehicle with extreme negligence, people suffered extreme injuries and a variety of other reasons can still open you up to litigation. One of the most common reasons to be sued with no-fault auto insurance is actually being underinsured as there is no law preventing someone from suing for damages that exceed your policy limits and you didn’t pay. However, for most typical accidents, you don’t have to worry about a car accident lawyer showing up at your door serving a lawsuit. If you only purchase the add-on type of no-fault car insurance all bets are off and the ambulance-chasing lawyers can sue you.

What are the advantages of No-Fault Auto Insurance?

No-fault car insurance laws were created to help reduce the number of nuisance lawsuits resulting from car accidents, save courts money from dealing with these suits, limit the liability of car insurance companies, and create a quicker claims handling process for policyholders. In theory, no-fault car insurance provides a lot of protection however some states have reverted back to traditional tort law even after having no-fault car insurance in place for years. There is a lot of debate about the effectiveness of no-fault car insurance laws in the bigger picture but as a driver, there are many advantages to living in a state with no-fault auto insurance including a faster claims handling process and limiting exposure to frivolous lawsuits.

What states have no-fault auto insurance laws?

Only about a dozen states have no-fault car insurance laws currently in place. Some states require all drivers to have no-fault car insurance coverage whereas others provide drivers an option to choose between typical coverage and no-fault coverage. The state where no-fault auto insurance is in place includes:

· Florida

· Hawaii

· Kansas

· Kentucky

· Massachusetts

· Michigan

· Minnesota

· New Jersey

· New York

· North Dakota

· Pennsylvania

· Utah

How much car insurance is required will depend on where you live but in addition to any required liability insurance, you will also be required to purchase PIP insurance (personal injury protection) to cover any medical expenses of the policyholder in a car accident.

How much is No-Fault Auto Insurance?

There are many reports which say no-fault car insurance is cheaper and then there are others that say the cost of auto insurance is roughly the same compared to typical coverage. The problem lies with auto insurance being a relatively equal cost for most drivers that its hard to measure the difference.

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