When you are not at fault in an accident, the other driver’s car insurance typically pays for your expenses. If it takes a while to determine fault, you can file a collision claim with your insurer, which will then try to recover the cost of the claim and your deductible from the at-fault driver’s insurer. In most states, you should file injury claims directly with the at-fault driver’s insurer, though no-fault states require you to use your own insurance to pay for medical bills.
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can file a claim with your own uninsured motorist (UM) insurance, if you have it. Depending on your policy, you might also have underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), which applies if the other driver’s liability limits aren’t high enough to pay for all the damage.
There are 12 no-fault states for car insurance: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah. In these no-fault states, each driver’s car insurance provider pays their own medical claims after an accident regardless of who was at fault.
A no-fault insurance system limits the ability of drivers and passengers to sue for additional compensation. Drivers in no-fault states can sue for injuries only if they are determined to be “severe” – the legal definition of which varies from state to state. No-fault rules only apply to injuries, however. Property damage claims in no-fault states are still paid by the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
Special Types of No-Fault States
"Choice" No-Fault States
Of the 12 “pure” no-fault states, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Kentucky are the only ones that give drivers an option to choose between buying a no-fault insurance policy and a traditional auto liability insurance policy.
"Add-on" No-Fault States
District of Columbia
Besides the 12 no-fault states, some “add-on” states have auto liability insurance laws that are a blend of the no-fault and at-fault insurance systems. These add-on states are not considered to be true no-fault states by the Insurance Information Institute because they do not restrict or place limits on a driver’s right to sue for additional compensation.
Finally, at-fault states follow a tort system, which assigns responsibility for an accident to a driver or drivers. At-fault states also allow injured parties to sue negligent drivers for injuries, as well as pain and suffering, without restrictions. Most U.S. states are at-fault states.
Insurance Rates in No-Fault States
Drivers who live in one of the 12 no-fault insurance states can expect to pay more for auto insurance than those in at-fault states. Insurance fraud is more common in no-fault states, given that claims are paid regardless of who was at fault, providing an incentive for some individuals to exaggerate the extent of their injuries. Those heightened rates of fraud, combined with mandatory PIP insurance, raise costs for auto insurers, which are passed on to consumers.
It should be no surprise that the three most expensive states in WalletHub’s Cheap Car Insurance Study – Michigan, New York, and New Jersey – are all no-fault states. So if you live in a no-fault state or will be moving to one, be sure to compare quotes so that you can get an auto insurance policy that fits your needs and your budget.
If a car accident is not your fault, your insurance rate could still go up, depending on your state and insurance company. On average, a not-at-fault accident makes insurance costs go up by about 12%, compared to 45% for an at-fault accident.
Insurance rates can go up after a not-at-fault accident because statistics show that having any accident on your driving record makes you more likely to file a claim in the future. And in some situations, not-at-fault accidents can still cost insurers money. … read full answer
California and Oklahoma are the only two states that prohibit insurance companies from raising rates after not-at-fault accidents. In states where it is allowed, the exact amount that your premium will go up depends on your insurance company. As of 2017, for example, Progressive increased premiums by an average of 16.6% after a not-at-fault accident. Meanwhile, Allstate only increased rates by 4.8%, and drivers with State Farm didn’t see their rates go up at all.
Situations Where Your Insurance Company Has to Pay
In most cases, your insurance company won’t have to pay for a not-at-fault accident since the other driver’s policy will cover your expenses. But if you’re hit by an uninsured motorist or you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, your policy might cover the damages depending on what types of coverage you have. Liability insurance alone wouldn’t cover your expenses, but other types including collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist would. And if you live in a no-fault state, your insurance company will have to pay for your medical expenses regardless of who caused the accident. As a result, any cost to your insurer will be taken into consideration when your insurer is re-evaluating your premium.
Although it’s frustrating to be charged for an accident that wasn’t your fault, the effects on your premium will only be temporary. Accidents usually only stay on your driving record for three years, so if you continue to practice safe driving habits during that time, your rates will eventually go back down.
You should always call your insurance company if you get into an accident involving another driver whether you are at fault or not, especially if the accident caused injuries or property damage. Even if you are not at fault, you may still want to use coverage from your insurance policy, like collision or medical payments coverage. If you want to file a claim, you’ll be required to notify your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident.… read full answer
Your insurance company can also help you work with the at-fault driver’s insurer. They will assist with investigating the claim and establishing fault, and they can defend you if the other driver tries to file a claim against you. In most states, not-at-fault claims are filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, which makes it less likely your rates will go up. If you have to file a claim against your own policy, it’s more likely your rates will increase. But it is possible that your insurance company gets reimbursed for the cost of your claim and decides not to raise your rate.
It’s common for insurance companies to raise rates even if the accident is not your fault, especially if you live in one of the 12 no-fault states. Drivers in no-fault states file claims with their own insurance company no matter who is at fault, and they almost always see premiums go up after an accident. The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found that at least four of the nation’s largest insurers increased rates after a not-at-fault claim.
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