No-fault insurance means that you'll make a claim on your own insurance for injuries from a car accident, no matter who caused the accident. The insurance that pays no-fault claims is personal injury protection, or PIP. In no-fault states you generally can't sue other drivers for economic losses (such as medical bills and lost wages) or pain and suffering unless you suffer serious injury.

PIP usually covers:

  • Lost wages if you can't work
  • Your health insurance deductible
  • Medical bills that exceed your health insurance coverage
  • Services you can't perform due to the car accident, such as childcare and house cleaning
  • Funeral costs
  • A death benefit, in some states
  • Injuries if you're a pedestrian or bicyclist and hit by a car

Important things to know about no-fault insurance states:

  • Twelve states have a no-fault insurance system. PIP will be automatically included when you get car insurance quotes in no-fault states.
  • No-fault insurance applies only to injuries, not property damage. (Except in Michigan.)
  • Each no-fault state defines a threshold for when you can sue for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
  • No-fault laws do not always extend to motorcycles. You may not be able to buy PIP as part of motorcycle insurance.

What's the purpose of no-fault insurance?

No-fault insurance laws are intended to speed up claims payments for car accident victims. They're also intended to cut down on litigation and the amount that accident victims would otherwise pay for lawyers.

But not all states have found that no-fault insurance reduces costs. In Michigan, the state's unlimited PIP medical benefits have been blamed for car insurance rates that are among the highest in the nation. In Florida, fraud rings hire people to stage car accidents and then file false PIP claims in order to make fast money.

Florida no-fault insurance

Florida's minimum PIP coverage is $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits.

You can sue for pain, suffering, mental anguish and inconvenience if a car accident results in permanent injury, loss of bodily function, significant scarring or disfigurement, or death.

Hawaii no-fault insurance

Hawaii's minimum PIP coverage is $10,000.

You can sue if the accident causes permanent loss of a body part or bodily function, disfigurement that results in mental or emotional suffering, or if injuries exceed $5,000.

Kansas no-fault insurance

The minimum PIP coverage in Kansas is:

  • $4,500/person for medical expenses
  • $900/month for one year for disability/loss of income
  • $25/day for in-home services
  • $2,000 for funeral, burial or cremation expense
  • $4,500 for rehabilitation expense
  • Survivor Benefits: Disability/loss of income up to $900/month for one year
  • In-home services up to $25/day for one year

You can sue for pain, suffering, mental anguish and inconvenience if the injury is at least $2,000 or if the accident results in: permanent disfigurement; a fracture to a weight-bearing bone; a compound, comminuted, displaced or compressed fracture; loss of a body part; permanent loss of a bodily function; or death.

Kentucky no-fault insurance

Kentucky's minimum PIP coverage is $10,000.

You can sue for pain and suffering, mental anguish and inconvenience if your medical bills are at least $1,000 or in cases of permanent disfigurement, a fracture, loss of a body part, a permanent injury or loss of a bodily function, or death.

Massachusetts no-fault insurance

Massachusetts' minimum PIP coverage is $8,000.

You can sue for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering if medical expenses are more than $2,000 or if the accident results in death, loss of a body part, permanent and serious disfigurement, or loss of sight or hearing.

Michigan no-fault insurance

Michigan's no-fault system provides unlimited medical and rehabilitation benefits for a lifetime if you are injured in a car accident. It also provides benefits for lost wages for three years and replacement services up to $20 a day.

The state's no-fault system includes damage to vehicles. All Michigan car owners must buy collision and comprehensive insurance, which will pay for damage to their own cars no matter who was at fault.

Michigan charges an annual vehicle fee to help cover the costs of its unlimited medical benefits. The cost is $170 per vehicle for 2017-2018.

You can sue for pain and suffering in cases of death, serious impairment of a bodily function, or permanent serious disfigurement.

Minnesota no-fault insurance

Minnesota's minimum PIP coverage is $40,000 and includes:

  • $20,000 for medical expense loss arising out of injury to any one person;
  • $20,000 for lost income, replacement services, funeral expenses, a survivor's economic loss, and survivor's replacement services arising out of the injury to any one person.

You can sue non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) only if medical expenses are more than $4,000 or the car accident results in permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, disability for 60 days or more, or death.

New Jersey no-fault insurance

New Jersey's minimum PIP coverage is $15,000.

There are two policy choices in New Jersey: "standard" and "basic." Most people buy the standard policy, according to the state of New Jersey.

The standard policy provides PIP benefits up to $250,000 for certain injuries regardless of the limit chosen. These injuries include brain injury, spinal cord injury or disfigurement. The standard policy has two options: "unlimited right to sue" and "limited right to sue" for pain and suffering. The "basic" policy does not provide any right to sue.

New York no-fault insurance

New York's minimum PIP coverage is $50,000.

You can sue for non-economic loss such as pain and suffering if the car accident results in:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • A fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, body part, function or system
  • Permanent limited use of a body organ, body part, function or system
  • A temporary injury or impairment that prevents you from doing your usual and customary daily activities for 90 days or more within six months following the accident.

North Dakota no-fault insurance

North Dakota requires $50,000 in PIP coverage.

You can sue for non-economic loss such as pain and suffering if the accident results in death, dismemberment, serious and permanent disfigurement, disability beyond 60 days, or medical expenses more than $2,500.

Pennsylvania no-fault insurance

Pennsylvania requires at least $5,000 in PIP coverage.

Pennsylvania offers two choices for bringing lawsuits, known as tort:

  • Limited tort: Costs less but limits your rights to sue someone for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. You can sue only if the accident results in death, serious impairment of body function, or permanent serious disfigurement.
  • Full tort: Gives you unrestricted right to sue someone who caused a car accident.

Utah no-fault insurance

Utah requires at least $3,000 in PIP coverage.

You can sue only if the accident results in death, dismemberment, permanent disability, disfigurement or impairment, or medical expenses that are more than $3,000.

More: