September 18, 2011

When To Repair Vehicles After A No Fault Accident

A no fault accident is one in which, despite one party having caused the collision, neither party is considered "at fault" by insurance providers. No fault insurance is meant to help keep premium costs low by avoiding litigation and large settlements, and is mandatory in twelve US states. Three US states - Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New Jersey - allow drivers to choose between traditional tort-based insurance provision and no-fault insurance for a car insurance claim. However, once a driver has chosen their policy, they are not allowed to change their mind as the situation warrants; a new policy must be issued instead. While no fault accident claims do provide a number of benefits over traditional tort systems, drivers often wonder about the procedure to get their car fixed under a no fault system.

No fault insurance begins with the premise that since accidents are inevitable, labeling one party as "at fault" will provide no benefit. No fault insurance plans come with lower premiums, and the injury and repair costs for drivers in any accident are paid for by their own insurance companies - no fault insurance does not have insurance companies collecting money from each other, but from their clients. Fault will still be assigned, and the driver found to be at fault by their company will face higher insurance rates as well as a higher risk rating, but there will be no injury settlement paid by their company to an inured driver. Pure no fault systems also prohibit legal action to be taken for an accident, which means that once a payout has been made, the claim is finished. Although claims are processed more quickly and premiums are lower overall, some drivers have concerns about the possibility of lingering injuries and no way to claim recompense.

Once a claim is made under a no fault system, a driver's insurance company will have the vehicle looked at either by a mechanic at a body shop they trust, or by an assigned adjustor. A driver should not fix their vehicle until such time as the insurance company has examined it and has directly paid the body shop or furnished the driver with a check to be signed over to the body shop. A driver who takes the initiative and fixes the vehicle themselves or preemptively through a body shop may find that their claim is denied or that they do not receive as much money as they believed they would - always wait for the insurance company.

While a car insurance claim under a no fault system will be quicker, make sure to wait for the insurance company to move first before any car repairs are completed.