How Living in a No-Fault State Affects Your Car Insurance

Car Accidents
February 10, 2022
two cars in accident with drivers standing by arguing

Twelve U.S. states have what’s known as no-fault car insurance laws. Not every driver has to have a no-fault car insurance policy in every no-fault state. In a handful of states, drivers can opt out. 

But what does no-fault car insurance actually mean? How does it affect you? Can you score cheap car insurance in a no-fault state? We’ll explain what no-fault insurance means and how it can be an advantage for drivers. While most Pacific Northwest drivers don’t live in no-fault states, Oregon drivers have related laws we’ll explain. 

Let’s start with a brief definition of this type of car insurance

What Is No-Fault Car Insurance? 

No-fault car insurance means that your insurance company pays for your injuries and damage in the event of a car accident, regardless of who’s at fault for the collision.  

No-fault car insurance differs from state to state. In some states, no-fault car insurance does not have anything to do with assigning fault or remedies for damages to vehicles or such stationery objects as buildings or fences or parked cars. In other words, in these states, if you have a fender bender or other type of collision that only does damage to things rather than people, the insurer of the responsible party will have to pay. Just like in states that don’t have no-fault insurance. 

Most states with no-fault car insurance require drivers to also carry something called personal injury protection, or PIP, as part of their car insurance coverage. With PIP, they can file claims and settle with their own insurance companies for their medical and related expenses, regardless of fault. 

What are the Advantages of No-Fault Car Insurance? 

The most basic advantage is that if you or anyone else in your vehicle is hurt in a car accident there’s no doubt as to whether you’ll receive a settlement to pay for your medical expenses. Your own car insurance company will foot that bill up to your coverage limits, regardless of who’s at fault for the accident. 

In states without no-fault coverage, one insurance company might waste a lot of time and money suing the other driver’s insurer if the fault isn’t determined or is argued. So you’re in the hospital with no idea whether or when your rapidly rising medical bills will be paid. 

two drivers arguing after a fender bender

What are the Disadvantages of No-Fault Insurance? 

Simple fairness can come into play in no-fault states. If you get injured in an accident that’s the fault of the other driver, your insurer will indeed pay your medical bills, however, this can result in your car insurance company raising your premiums after you make the claim. 

So the accident wasn’t your fault — but you nonetheless end up taking a financial hit. 

Do I Have to Get No-Fault Coverage If I Live in a No-Fault State? 

It depends on where you live. Let’s start with a listing of the 12 states that have no-fault car insurance laws: 

  • Florida 
  • Hawaii 
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Michigan 
  • Minnesota 
  • New Jersey 
  • New York 
  • North Dakota 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Utah 

In addition, the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico has no-fault car insurance laws. Three of these states — Kentucky, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — allow drivers to opt-out of no-fault status. If you live in the other states on this list, you have no option except to get no-fault coverage. 

Oregon has some elements of no-fault law. Drivers must carry a $15,000 personal injury protection that covers their own healthcare costs in an accident, but — unlike in most no-fault states — they can sue the at-fault driver for additional damages. PIP benefits include prompt payment and payment for items that your normal liability coverage won’t pay for, such as lost wages and housecleaning, if you are unable to go to work or perform those tasks. 

Trust Vern Fonk Insurance for Answers 

We’re here to help. Bring Vern Fonk Insurance your car insurance questions and let us help you find all of your options for cheap car insurance. Call us at (800) 455-8276 or get a quick online quote. You can also find the Vern Fonk Insurance office nearest you and shop for the cheap car insurance policy that’s right for you.