Your insurance pays in a car accident if you are found to be the at-fault driver in the incident. The other driver’s insurance company pays for your property damage and injuries sustained in a car accident if they are found to be at fault.
It’s not always so simple, though. Several factors ultimately go into determining whose insurance pays in a car accident, including what kind of insurance the drivers have, the negligence laws of the state in which the accident occurs, and which driver is found to be at fault for the accident. We’ll go over each factor in more detail below.
What Determines Whose Insurance Pays In a Car Accident?
Types of Damage & Coverage
Your own collision insurance pays for damage to your vehicle incurred in an accident with other vehicles, collisions with stationary objects, and single-car accidents. Similarly, your own comprehensive insurance pays for things like theft, vandalism and damage from fire, flooding and natural disasters – basically anything except a car crash. And your PIP / MedPay covers medical expenses if you, a family member, another driver listed on your policy, or one of your passengers gets hurt in a car accident. On the other hand, the other driver’s liability insurance coverage may have to pay for your property damage and medical bills if the accident is their fault.
State Negligence Laws
Different states follow different negligence rules regarding which driver’s insurance company has to pay for a car accident. In some states, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy will always cover all of the damages caused in a car accident. In other cases, the degree to which you and the other driver(s) involved are found negligent affects how much each insurance company will pay after an accident.
Evidence collected by law enforcement and the drivers’ insurance providers helps determine which driver was officially at fault in the accident. Even in no-fault states, this determination can impact who has to pay for medical bills above a certain dollar-amount threshold.
The bottom line is that if you’re in an accident, the best thing to do is file a police report and alert your insurance provider as soon as possible. Establishing who was the negligent driver is key to getting whoever’s insurance company needs to pay after a car accident to settle any claims.
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