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What Is No-Fault Insurance?

No-fault insurance pays for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses if you’re injured in a crash, no matter who is at fault.
Sept. 24, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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No-fault insurance is car coverage that pays for injury-related expenses that arise if you’re hurt in an accident, regardless of who caused the crash. It can pay for medical bills, lost wages, child care and more, depending on where you live. No-fault insurance is required in 12 states, while a few other states allow you to include it as an optional add-on, or waive it entirely.

No-fault insurance covers car-related injuries

If you’re injured in a car accident, any medical expenses that come up will be covered by your no-fault insurance, also called personal injury protection, or PIP. It will cover anyone else in your car, as well as when you are a passenger in someone else’s. Depending on the state, no-fault insurance may also cover:

  • Lost wages if you are unable to work due to the injury.
  • Substitute services, such as a housecleaning or child care.
  • Funeral expenses if an injury results in death.
  • Survivor’s loss, or a small death benefit, if the accident results in your death and you leave behind surviving dependents.

» MORE: What does car insurance cover?

No-fault insurance is required in 12 states

There are 21 states, plus Washington, D.C., that offer no-fault insurance. Twelve of those states require drivers to carry a minimum amount. Use the map below to see if your state is one of them.

The states that require no-fault insurance have different minimum requirements. Use the table below to see what the minimum no-fault insurance requirements are for your state.

States that offer no-fault insuranceMinimum required
Michigan$250,000 (depending on health coverage)
New HampshireOptional
New Jersey*$15,000
New York$50,000
North Dakota$30,000
South DakotaOptional
Washington, D.C.Optional
*These states require no-fault insurance, but drivers can waive it in writing.

How your no-fault insurance coverage pays out depends on the state, so take some time to familiarize yourself with your state’s no-fault insurance laws. In Florida, for example, no-fault insurance covers only 80 percent of your accident-related medical expenses, up to a $10,000 limit. Meanwhile, New York will cover up to $50,000 for your injury bills and your passengers’, but will pay for only 80% of any wages lost.

No-fault insurance in Michigan is unique. Drivers choose their own no-fault insurance coverage limit from several options, including:

  • Unlimited coverage.
  • Up to $500,000 in coverage.
  • Up to $250,000 in coverage.
  • Up to $50,000 in coverage if you are enrolled in Medicaid and another member of your household has insurance that will cover injuries from a car accident.
  • Opt out of PIP medical coverage if you have Medicare and another member of your household has a car insurance or health insurance policy that pays for injuries from car accidents.

» MORE: Minimum car insurance requirements by state

How no-fault insurance relates to lawsuits

With the exception of Delaware, all states that require no-fault insurance operate under “no-fault” laws. In these “no-fault” states, you cannot sue an at-fault driver after an accident unless your injury is very serious, such as losing a limb or suffering paralysis, or unless your medical expenses from the injury exceed the state’s minimum dollar amount required to sue.