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No-Fault Car Insurance

No-fault car insurance requires every driver to file a claim for their own bodily injury and medical expenses after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. The purpose of no-fault insurance is to reduce the number of lawsuits in small claims court, which can slow the reimbursement process for the injured party.

In theory, no-fault insurance makes a lot of sense. In practice, it can lead to high premiums, fraud, and inconvenience for insurance companies and drivers alike.


No-fault insurance definition

At-fault car insurance requires each insurance company to cover their clients' medical expenses after an at-fault crash. There are currently 12 at-fault states in America:

no fault states

*No-fault is optional in these states — a driver may choose no-fault or liability coverage. Drivers in these states are required by law to carry Personal Injury Protection and liability property damage coverage. Personal injury protection (PIP) provides medical cost reimbursement and work loss coverage for a driver and their passengers after a car accident. This coverage applies regardless of fault.


No-fault insurance versus at-fault auto insurance

The remaining states in the US operate on a tort liability system — or an at-fault system. A tort is an action that results in injury to another person or their property, leaving the afflicted party entitled to compensation.

In states using the tort system, responsibility for damages paid to an injured party is assigned to the at-fault driver and their insurance carrier. If anyone involved in the accident disagrees about where fault should be placed, they — or their insurance company — can sue for monetary compensation to cover damages.

While drivers in no-fault states use their own coverage to pay damages regardless of fault, tort system states assign fault to one party and they are responsible for damages.

With no-fault insurance, each driver uses their own auto insurance coverage to pay for their damages, regardless of who caused the crash. This precludes drivers from suing another party — with some exceptions, depending on the severity of injuries — in civil court. This also eliminates the wait for the resolution of a lengthy and potentially costly lawsuit before being reimbursed.

No-fault coverage only applies to medical expenses. Property damage is covered through property damage liability protection or collision insurance.


How much does no-fault insurance cost?

This varies, depending on personal characteristics and location. Because each state has certain requirements, insurance premiums will vary by location. Insurance premiums reflect a driver's personal attributes, including their driving record, age, and vehicle. We created a generalized profile and outlined how much car insurance costs in no-fault states.

State Avg. Annual Premium
Florida $2,923
Hawaii $1,409
Kansas $1,791
Kentucky $2,567
Massachusetts $1,418
Michigan $2,176
Minnesota $1,707
New Jersey $2,043
New York $2,171
North Dakota $1,555
Pennsylvania $1,777
Utah $1,617
Updated: 09/29/22.

Dynamic auto insurance data methodology

Methodology: The auto insurance rates displayed above and throughout this page are dynamic, meaning the data will refresh when the most recent information is made available. Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage. This profile was adjusted based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies, like age, coverage level, driving record and others.

How much does personal injury protection coverage (PIP) cost?

A state’s no-fault insurance laws determine how much PIP a driver needs and what their premium will be. Below are average rates for state-minimum PIP requirements.

State Avg. PIP Premium
Delaware $232
Florida $400
Hawaii $89
Kansas $54
Kentucky $175
Massachusetts $55
Michigan $428
Minnesota $200
New Jersey $336
New York $236
North Dakota $97
Oregon $124
Pennsylvania $78
Utah $54
Updated: 09/29/22.

Michigan has the highest overall PIP requirement because of its no-fault insurance laws. Michigan requires unlimited PIP and Property Protection Insurance (provides coverage for other drivers’ vehicles) of $1,000,000. These high limits cause Michigan’s rates to be 70% higher than the national average.

If your state requires no-fault coverage and you'd like to see quotes from local and national companies, click here to see personalized results.

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RECENT QUESTIONS

Should I file a claim for $1,000 of damage?

What you should consider is paying for the claim out of pocket (so, the $1,000 in estimated repairs) is greater or less than your deductible plus the rate increase you will receive. Your insurance company will see this claim as an at-fault car accident and thus will raise your rates as a result.
Mar 7, 2018 Des Moises, Iowa

How long do you have to be insured before you can file a claim?

Your son would be covered as soon as he is added to the insurance policy so as long as the incident happens after the fact then he should be covered. That being said, if he files a claim within a short period of time after being added to the policy then your insurance company is likely to investigate further to make sure the damage didn't occur before he was listed as a driver.
Nov 2, 2016 Carterville, IL

Should I file a claim or pay out of pocket for damage to my car?

Based on research through our 2016 State of Car Insurance Report, an at fault accident in New Jersey has an average impact of $1,228 additionally per year. Accidents impact rates for 3 years from the date of the incident, so it may make more sense to pay for the damage out of pocket rather than pay higher rates for the next 3 years.
Dec 27, 2016 Bedford, NJ

If I backed into another person's car (which was sitting in their driveway), should I file a claim if repairs are estimated to be $2,500?

Hello, Since there is no damage to your vehicle, you would not need to file a claim. However, the person that you hit has the option to file a claim.
Jul 17, 2019 Chicago, IL

Ava Lynch photo
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior analyst, providing insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts.

Ava’s insurance career began as an agent with Farmers Insurance. Over the years, she has become an authority in all things property and casualty insurance, helping her to write informative guides for shoppers.

Ava’s work has been cited in publications such as InvestopediaThe BalanceMoney.comLiberty Mutual, U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver and Yahoo! Finance.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.