What is No-Fault Insurance? How Does It Work?

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  • What is it?
  • Pros and cons
  • Who pays?
  • What’s not covered
  • No-fault vs. PIP states
  • No-fault states
  • Best no-fault coverage
If you live in a no-fault state and you are in an accident, you need to make a claim with your insurance provider, regardless of who is found to be at fault. You will also have to cover a certain amount of no-fault insurance or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to meet basic insurance requirements.
Florida, Minnesota, Hawaii, New Jersey, Kansas, New York, Kentucky, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Utah are the 12 “no-fault” states.
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What is no-fault insurance?

No-fault insurance is also known as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. It covers the medical costs of you and your passengers resulting from a collision— regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
States that use the no-fault insurance scheme are broadly referred to as no-fault states. States that do not use the no-fault system are considered at-fault states.
PIP insurance is short for personal injury protection insurance. PIP insurance will cover medical expenses up to the policy limit. However, PIP will also help cover some other potential costs associated with an accident, like funeral expenses and lost wages.
If you live in one of the no-fault states, you have to purchase a certain amount of personal injury protection insurance as part of your basic insurance coverage. The exact amount of PIP insurance that you have to purchase will depend on the minimum insurance guidelines set by your state.

No-fault insurance pros and cons

- There is less chance of getting sued after an at-fault accident- Basic insurance costs are often more expensive
- You don’t have to pay for additional medical protection coverage- Everybody has to pay their own deductible
- The claims process is often less complicated

Who pays for damages in a no-fault state?

If you live in a no-fault state and you are in an accident, all parties involved submit claims to their own insurance companies.
That means, your medical expenses and certain other costs associated with an accident will always be covered by your personal insurance coverage up to your policy limit.
To give a better idea of how this works, let’s look at how things work in states that use an at-fault insurance system instead.
At-fault states always assign a degree of fault in an accident (even if it is exactly 50%). If the other driver was found to be 75% at fault in an accident, the other driver’s insurance company would cover 75% of your medical expenses.
Your insurance company would cover the remaining 25%. If the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your medical expenses, you could potentially sue to recover the damages.
In a no-fault state, all parties involved in an accident submit claims to their insurance companies, regardless of who was at fault. Your medical costs will be covered by your own insurance provider; and the other party’s medical costs will be covered by their own insurance provider.

What isn’t covered by no-fault insurance?

No-fault insurance will not always cover all of the costs associated with an accident claim, you might also require coverage for the following:

Property damage

Property damage is not covered by no-fault insurance.
Even if you live in a no-fault state, your insurance provider will cover damages to the other driver’s vehicle if you are at fault for an accident—and vice versa.
All no-fault states will require you to have a minimum amount of property damage liability insurance to help cover these expenses up to your policy limit.
Regardless of whether you live in a no-fault state or not, you will still need to have collision insurance to ensure that your own property damage costs are covered if you are found to be at fault in an accident.
You can also get comprehensive coverage for damage to your vehicle that is caused by external events like theft, floods, or storms. A policy that includes both collision and comprehensive insurance is known as a full coverage policy.

Medical expenses that go beyond policy limits

The no-fault system ensures that everybody already has a certain level of coverage for medical costs and other expenses. This means that there is also less chance of ending up in a liability battle following an accident.
However, your PIP insurance coverage will only cover you up to your policy limit. If you live in a no-fault state, you can still sue or be sued for medical expenses that may exceed your coverage. However, the injuries will have to be severe enough to meet the threshold requirements set by the state.
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The difference between no-fault and PIP states

Not all states that require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance are no-fault states. Some at-fault states also require drivers to carry a minimum amount of PIP protection.
Most states do not require drivers to carry PIP insurance. If you live in an at-fault state, you can choose to purchase additional Medical payments (MedPay) or PIP insurance protection when you purchase your policy—but it is usually not legally required.
MedPay and PIP insurance will both cover your medical expenses regardless of who is at fault. The difference is that MedPay insurance will only cover certain medical costs up to your policy limit. PIP coverage extends beyond MedPay to help cover things like health costs, funeral expenses, and lost wages.
However, if you live in Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland, or Oregon, you will have to purchase a certain amount of PIP insurance as part of your basic car insurance policy. People living in Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Texas, and Washington have the option of purchasing PIP insurance, but it is not required.

No-fault states

When it comes to auto insurance, states create their own laws and frameworks.
Twelve states operate under a no-fault framework: Florida, Minnesota, Hawaii, New Jersey, Kansas, New York, Kentucky, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Utah. In some of these states, no-fault insurance is optional.
Under the no-fault system, you can only sue or be sued by other drivers if the injuries meet a certain threshold of seriousness.
States that use a verbal threshold will rely on the descriptions of injuries as the guideline for setting the standard for when drivers can sue. States that use a monetary threshold will require that medical bills exceed a certain dollar amount in order to bring legal action.
Here’s a breakdown of the minimum PIP coverage you will be required to have if you live in one of the 12 states no-fault states.

No-fault requirements by state

StateMinimum PIP requirementsThresholdNo-fault optional
MichiganVaries depending on health insurance coverageVerbalNo
New Jersey$10,000VerbalYes
New York$50,000VerbalNo
North Dakota$30,000MonetaryNo

Finding the best no-fault coverage

If you live in one of the no-fault states, Jerry could potentially find you big savings on your car insurance coverage.
Here is how much the average person pays before and after using Jerry.
StateAverage annual policy rate before JerryAverage annual policy rate after using Jerry
New Jersey$3,031$1,587
New York$3,976$2,185
North Dakota$3,600$468
The savings keep coming even after Jerry finds you great insurance at the lowest price. Before every policy renewal period, you’ll be presented with new competitive quotes, which means you’ll always have the best coverage at the best price.
So why pay more for your insurance coverage than you need to? Jerry is intuitive, easy to use, and completely free—so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
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