November 18, 2010

How Claims Are Handled In At Fault States

When searching for auto insurance online it's important to know the two ways that auto insurance claims for personal injury and medical damages are handled depending on the state of residence. Some states have adopted a "no fault" policy, which means that regardless of which driver may have been at fault, auto insurance carriers will not be allowed by the state to wait to establish cause or fault before releasing payment for personal injury and medical damages. However, in most cases in no fault states, injured parties are also not allowed to sue the at fault driver later for inconvenience, or emotional distress, or other less tangible detriments arising from injury due to an auto accident.

In "fault" states, however, auto insurance carriers will always establish fault first before releasing payments due for personal injury and medical damages, which can also include lost wages and lost productivity due to being involved in an auto accident. In these states, costly legal battles sometimes arise from the attempt by each insurance carrier and their respective insureds to establish fault and payout responsibility. However, in the case of physical damage to the vehicle, all states handle claims equally - by establishing fault and then setting payment responsibilities accordingly. In an at fault state, claims are handled by establishing fault across the board for any and all injuries, damages, and losses associated with an auto accident. Following an establishment of fault, each insurance carrier handles their respective responsibility for resolving the claims due to an auto accident.

When searching for auto insurance online, it is important for the prospective insured to know whether the state of residence is a no fault or fault state. In each case, many insurance carriers offer specific "add-ons", or riders, that the insured may purchase for additional coverage. Part of the process for generating preliminary quotes for auto insurance online will be to type in the zip code or state of residence to determine what policy types and riders are available in the prospective insured's state of residence. Following this initial search online, it is a good idea to set up phone meetings with authorized insurance agents who represent the carriers that seem to best fit the insured's budget and insurance needs.

In summary, in fault states, physical damage to the vehicle is handled by assessing the percentages each driver is at fault, after which the respective insurance carriers pay out their claims accordingly, or the no fault party may also choose to bring suit against the fault party should there be failure to pay. This differs from no fault states, which do not delay payment of medical or injury claims until fault has been established.