When you suffer a car crash it can turn your life upside down and there are so many things to worry about. Your health comes first, of course, and hopefully, you weren’t hurt. But what about your vehicle? Is it damaged and how much? What if the crash has made it inoperable? Knowing who pays for your car damage is essential, but in a no-fault state, things tend to get even more complicated. So, what happens if you live in a no-fault state?
There isn’t just one answer to this question. Across the U.S., traffic and insurance laws vary a lot, but no-fault laws exist in 12 states. These laws require the driver to turn to their own insurance companies, at least for most damage claims. In the U.S., insurance laws are decided on the state level, which means a state can choose to be:
- No-fault state
- Tort liability state
Understanding this can be confusing, but don’t worry. This article will make it easier. If you are getting the insurance for the first time make sure you research your state’s laws before choosing your auto insurance policy. Being well protected is crucial and it can save you a lot of time and money. The first thing you need to know is if your state has no-fault laws, so you can know how to protect yourself. Here is a list:
List of no-fault states
If you are curious about which states in the U.S. are no-fault (which means personal injury protection insurance is required), you may read it below.
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
If you live in one of those states you should be well informed about no-fault policies. No matter who caused the accident the state will cover your injury claims. However, it won’t cover your car damage unless you invest in some extra coverage. Sometimes there are limits in the policy, depending on the state and the insurance company you choose. Experts at https://www.davidchristensenlaw.com/detroit-car-accident-lawyer/how-does-car-insurance-work-in-michigan/ explain that you can speak to a lawyer or even file a lawsuit if necessary. No-fault insurance companies will try everything in their power to keep the lawsuits out of court.
You should also check if your policy includes property damage liability coverage. It won’t pay for the damage to your car, but it will cover the damage to another driver’s car if the accident was your fault.
Even though no-fault policies usually don’t cover car damage, there are some ways you can succeed. Here are a few suggestions:
Collision and comprehensive coverage
The first option is to claim collision or comprehensive coverage from your insurance company. Collision coverage refers to damage caused by another car, object, or even an animal. Comprehensive coverage covers damages that aren’t caused by collision – like vandalism, or if e.g. a rock fell in front of your car.
This coverage is very useful but it can be a little pricey, so many people tend to avoid it. In some cases, it can be required (if you have a car lease or loan), but it’s usually optional.
The at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy
Making a property damage claim against the other driver’s insurance company is your second option if you are not to blame for the car accident. The company will probably need to investigate and have proof that the other driver is responsible. This can seem like a drag to many, but it doesn’t have to be if you are prepared. Here are some steps you can take immediately after your accident that will make this process much quicker:
- Take pictures of the accident
- Check for injuries
- Talk to the witnesses and make sure you have their contact info
- Get all the insurance information
- Get a copy of a police report
- Check if a nearby property or business owner has security video footage of the car crash
Accidents are disruptive and stressful enough without thinking about property damage. But if you, unfortunately, are in this situation it’s important to be well informed about your rights. When your car is damaged and you can’t pay for expensive repairs, it affects all the aspects of your life. Making sure you get your car and, therefore, your life back on track is very important.
Now that you have learned about the best ways to get the money to fix your car you can choose whatever works best for you. Whether you intend to file a law-suit or try some other tactics with the insurance policy, it is good advice to consult with your lawyer and follow these important steps to erase all the negative impact the accident has had on your life.