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What is No-Fault Insurance?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 February 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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No-fault insurance is a form of insurance protection that provides indemnification for the policyholder even if the actions of the policyholder did not directly result in the loss related to the claim. Insurance coverage of this type is most often associated with auto insurance and helps to protect policyholders from losses sustained due to negligence of an uninsured third party. Depending on the provisions of the policy and applicable insurance regulations in the jurisdiction, the insurance provider may be able to file for damages to recoup the loss.

While many auto policies around the world have some sort of no-fault clause, the actual term is only used in a handful of countries. The term is most widely used in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Generally, a motorist covered with no-fault auto insurance does not have legal recourse against the party who caused the accident. However, the insurance company usually has the right to use the court system of the jurisdiction to seek restitution from the individual or entity who caused the accident. This includes the possibility of receiving a judgment in favor of the insurance provider and garnishing the wages of the defendant until the debt is paid in full.

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One of the goals of no-fault insurance is to minimize the number of lawsuits that emerge from accidents involving parties that do not carry auto insurance. In theory, this is accomplished by providing compensation to the insured party in exchange for a covenant to not seek further legal action. The insurance company will often attempt to recoup the loss by first seeking to make payment arrangements with the guilty party. Should the efforts fail, the insurance provider will then seek redress according to the no-fault insurance laws that are in force in the jurisdiction.

While many people find no-fault insurance to be effective, critics of this type of coverage claim that no-fault car insurance does little or nothing to reduce the number of suits filed. Even though the coverage does help to minimize the potential for motorists to file suits, the action in turn opens the way for insurance companies to take on the legal action. At the same time, there are claims that insurance providers still increase the premiums on no-fault insurance, even if the insured party was not at fault and the insurance company does successfully recoup the losses from the party that caused the accident.

When offered no-fault insurance coverage, consumers should read the terms and conditions governing the administration of the coverage carefully. In addition to reading and understanding the insurance contract, it is also a good idea to become familiar with the laws and regulations that will govern any legal action that may be involved in the settling of a no-fault insurance claim. This will make it easier to determine if the coverage is worth the cost, and what the insured party can expect in terms of repercussions such as in increased premium.

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