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Does a no-fault accident go on your record?

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

    Article Highlights

    If you are unfortunately involved in a car accident and there’s damage, you need to call the police and notify your insurance company about the situation. Both parties’ primary interest is who is at fault for the incident. If you didn’t cause the crash, you might be wondering if the accident will still appear on your driving record.

    The answer is yes—even if you aren’t responsible for an accident, it will still go on your record. It doesn’t matter how major or minor the incident was. Any insurance claim you file will appear on your record and it could also impact your rate.

    What is no-fault?

    In insurance terms, there are two types of car accidents—at-fault and no-fault. No-fault means you were not responsible for the crash, whereas at-fault means you caused the collision. Insurance companies use specific fault determination rules to determine which driver caused the crash and which driver’s insurance is responsible for compensation.

    Every state has their own fault determination rules. Some states are considered fault states, whereas others are no-fault states. Understanding which type of state you live in is important as it not only affects the outcome of a claim, but it also impacts the type of car insurance you’re required to carry.

    There are currently 12 states that are no-fault, which include Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah. The other 38 states are fault states. 

    So what’s the difference between a fault vs. no-fault state? In a no-fault state, your car insurance covers the damages to your car and your medical expenses, regardless of which driver caused the crash. In a fault state, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for compensating the other driver for their losses.

    In no-fault states, drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which is what pays for their losses after an accident. Drivers in fault states are not required to have PIP, but some insurance providers sell it as an add-on to standard auto policies.

    Will a no-fault accident affect my record?

    Yes, a no-fault accident will go on your driving record. For example, say another driver rear ends your car at a stoplight and the entire back bumper falls off. In that case, you would need to contact your insurance company and file a claim to get reimbursed for the cost of repairs. Because you filed a claim and took money from the insurance company, it will appear on your record, despite the fact that you weren’t at-fault.

    Typically, car insurance claims stay on your record for 3-5 years. However, it varies significantly based on the severity of the accident and the state you live in. The table below shows an example of how long different accidents can stay on your record, but note that the times can vary by state substantially.

    Accident TypeDuration on Record
    No-fault accident3 years
    Minor crash5 years
    Hit-and-run8 years
    DUI10 years

    Will a no-fault accident make my rates go up?

    Usually, a no-fault accident will not raise your insurance premium. That’s because the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for compensating you for vehicle damages and medical costs. If your insurance company doesn’t have to give you any money for the claim, your rate won’t go up.

    However, if you have a history of at-fault accidents or other claims, it’s possible that your rate could increase following a no-fault crash. According to research from the Consumer Federation of America, drivers in no-fault crashes see a rate hike of 10% on average.

    If your rate does go up after a no-fault accident, every insurance company increases rates differently. Some might increase your rate by 10%, and others might increase the rate by 2%. Additionally some states, such as Oklahoma and California, are not legally allowed to raise rates after a no-fault claim. 

    How can I lower my rates if I’ve been in a no-fault accident?

    If you’ve been in a no-fault accident and your rate increases, there are ways to lower it. Here are some of the best ways to lower your car insurance premium:

    Bundle your policies

    Almost every insurance company offers drivers a discount if they bundle their insurance policies together. If you purchase home, life, renters or condo insurance through the same provider as your auto insurance, you could get a lower rate.

    Raise your deductible

    Raising your deductible will always lower your insurance premium. So if your deductible is currently $500, raising it to $1,000 would lower your annual rate. However, only raise your deductible if you can afford to pay the extra money out-of-pocket towards a claim.

    Shop around

    The only way to know if you’re getting the best rate is to shop around and get quotes from multiple providers. It’s possible that another provider can give you a lower rate, or offers more discounts that you can take advantage of.

    Look for discounts

    Every driver should be taking advantage of discounts offered by their insurance provider. Individual discounts can add up quickly, so it’s an easy way to save money. Here are some of the more common discounts you can ask your provider about to see if you qualify:

    Common Discounts

    • Policy bundling
    • Taking a defensive driving course
    • Staying claims-free
    • Being a good student
    • Having certain safety features installed in your car
    • Insuring multiple vehicles
    • Paying your premium in full

    The takeaway

    • A no-fault accident is a crash that you did not cause.
    • Typically, no-fault accidents do appear on your driving record but will not likely impact your rate unless you have a history of accidents or if your insurance provider has to pay for damages.
    • If your rate increases after a no-fault accident, you can take advantage of discounts, bundle your policies, raise your deductible, or switch providers to save money.

    If you’re involved in an accident that you didn’t cause, prepare for the incident to go on your driving record. But depending on where you live, your rate might not necessarily increase. If you live in an at-fault state, the driver who caused the crash is responsible for compensating you for your losses. Assuming your insurance company is off the hook, your rate will likely stay the same.

    However, there are ways to lower your premium if it does increase after an accident. Take advantage of discounts, raise your deductible, bundle your policies, or shop around for a better rate. Typically, car insurance claims stay on your record for 3-5 years. After that, they disappear and the accident can no longer affect your record or premium.

    Elizabeth Rivelli

    Elizabeth is an insurance writer for coverage.com, where she covers insurance providers and reviews policies to help consumers find comprehensive and affordable coverage for every area of their life. She has more than three years of writing experience for top online insurance and finance publications.

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