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No fault auto insurance, also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and first-party benefits, guarantees that your insurance company will pay for damages no matter who is at fault. The benefit of no fault insurance is that it ensures low insurance costs and reduces the time spent processing claims.

Not all states offer no fault insurance and not all states that do offer it offer the same liability coverage options. The main differences include: mandatory vs. optional no fault insurance (first-party benefits), restrictions on lawsuits and thresholds for lawsuits.

Mandatory vs. Optional First-Party Benefits

States that are "true" no fault states require personal injury protection. You cannot opt out of your first-party benefits. This means that your insurance company will pay for your insurance claims, regardless of who is at fault in the accident. These plans also restrict lawsuits, so that a claim has to meet certain conditions before a party can sue for damages due to injury and pain and suffering.

In "add-on" no fault states, drivers are compensated by their own insurance company for PIP, but there are no restrictions on lawsuits. The "add-on" comes into play because first-party benefits have been added to the traditional tort liability policy. Under traditional tort liability, a policyholder at fault in a car crash may be sued by the other driver for pain and suffering and any other out-of-pocket expenses (such as medical) caused by the accident.

"Choice" no fault states allow policyholders to opt in to the no fault policy or purchase a traditional plan. Traditional tort liability policies have no restrictions on when the other driver can file a lawsuit. It's up to the policyholder whether he or she wants to opt for no fault or tort liability insurance.

Restrictions on Lawsuits

Depending on your state's no-fault policy options, there may be restrictions on whether or not motorists can sue for injuries and out of pocket expenses that are a result of the accident. In "choice" no fault states there are no restrictions on lawsuits. However, in "true" no fault states, there may be a minimum threshold (or certain conditions) that must be met before an injured driver or passengers can sue the driver at fault for damages.

Monetary vs. Verbal Lawsuit Thresholds

When a no fault policy does restrict lawsuits, it can do so in one of two ways: via a monetary minimum or a verbal threshold. Different states have different policies, but, in general, a monetary minimum is a certain dollar amount that the injured party's medical expenses must reach before the person can sue the driver at fault. A verbal threshold is a description of what conditions must be met before the injured party can sue, such as death or significant disfigurement.

These thresholds are meant to cut down on frivolous lawsuits. It also helps to lower the cost of auto insurance overall by removing small claims from the court system.

Table of State Auto Insurance Laws (Liability Coverage)

First-Party Benefits (PIP) Law Suit Restrictions Lawsuit Threshholds
"True" No Fault States Mandatory Optional Yes No Monetary Verbal
Florida x x x
Hawaii x x x
Kansas x x x
Massachusetts x x x
Michigan x x x
Minnesota x x x
New York x x x
North Dakota x x x
Puerto Rico x x x
Utah x x x
"Choice" States
Kentucky x x x x
New Jersey x x x x
Pennsylvania x x x x
"Add-on" States
Arkansas x x
Delaware x x
Maryland x x
New Hampshire x x
Oregon x x
South Dakota x x
Texas x x
Virginia x x
Washington x x
Wisconsin x x

*DC - The District of Columbia is neither no fault nor add-on. Drivers are initially offered the option of either type of coverage, but when an accident occurs, a driver who initially chose no fault has 60 days to decide whether to receive the no fault benefits or file a claim against the other party.

Traditional Tort Liability States (No restrictions on lawsuits)
New Mexico
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
West Virginia

Source: American Insurance Association

Reliable Auto Insurance Quotes

Depending on the state you live in, you may be required to purchase a certain plan, or you may have the option to choose. Either way, you'll have to decide which auto insurance company offers the best coverage for you, and to do that you'll need accurate auto insurance quotes from a reliable source. is committed to helping you make an informed choice on comprehensive yet affordable no fault insurance coverage. We understand everyone's circumstances are different, and that is why we want to provide you customized information on the best and most reasonably priced insurance for protecting you, your family, and your car. Enter your zip code, and our quote system will lead you to the optimal coverage for your car in just a matter of moments.