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Can My Insurance Cover Both Vehicles If I Am the One At Fault?

Car accidents are a regular occurrence. Regardless of the accident’s severity, the most crucial information to insurance companies is “Who is at fault?” Insurance companies profit by ensuring that the policy premiums are higher than the claims made against that policy. Identifying the party at fault after an accident determines the amount they will release as claim settlement. 

You may know what to do if you are involved in a car accident due to the other driver’s fault. But what happens if you are the one at fault? The fault laws in some states determine how liability is handled after an accident. In fault laws free states, the level of your liability toward the accident dictates the extent of damages covered by your insurance. You can either be entirely or partially liable.

  • The At-Fault States. In an at-fault state, drivers who cause the crash are held liable. They are required to cover the damages and injuries of the involved parties, either through their insurance companies or out of pocket.
  • The No-Fault States. In these states, each driver files a claim with their insurance company to help them cover their medical expenses, regardless of the driver at fault. However, no-fault insurance only covers the injuries resulting from the car accident, not the car damages. The at-fault driver will be liable for covering the other vehicle’s repair costs. 

What Happens If You Are Entirely At Fault?

If you are entirely at fault for a car accident, you will need to cover all the repairs and medical expenses of the other driver and passengers. But who will compensate you for your damages and injuries? Whether your insurer will cover damages on both vehicles if you are at fault depends on your insurance policy and its limits. 

Insurance limits dictate the maximum amount the insurance company can release as settlement to you as the policyholder and the other driver. Any damages beyond their maximum amount will come from your pocket. Each insurance policy is unique in what it covers after an accident, whether you are at fault or not. Here are three insurance policies that will guarantee coverage for both cars if you are at fault.

  1. Liability Insurance Policy

property damage liability insurance policy covers the other vehicle’s damages on behalf of the policyholder. Though some countries have auto laws that require all drivers to have a minimum liability policy, some do not. A liability insurance policy is crucial, especially if you are entirely at fault for the accident. Lack of one could lead to immense losses from settling the other vehicle’s damages from your pocket. 

Depending on the insurance company, liability insurance policies come with limits. Before deciding on your limit, consider the coverage you need in the worst-case scenario. Settle for a limit that will not leave you financially stranded if held liable for an accident.

  1. Collision Insurance Policy

A collision insurance policy covers your vehicle’s damages after an accident, regardless of whether you are at fault. Apart from the repairs, a collision insurance policy also covers your vehicle’s replacement if its damages are beyond repair. Collision insurance policies are optional. They are only mandatory when dealing with car leasing companies or car loans. 

Instead of limits, collision policies come with deductibles, which you pay out of pocket before your insurer settles your claim. Just like limits, you choose your deductibles when buying the policy. A lower deductible increases your premiums. Collision insurance companies may be optional, but having one could give you peace of mind after an accident, especially if your vehicle’s value for repairs and replacement is high.

  1. Comprehensive Insurance Policy

Factors such as wild animals, falling trees, or vandalism can cause damage to your car. Depending on the insurance company, a comprehensive policy covers you, your vehicle, and third parties against all possible risks. Comprehensive policies, just like collision policies, come with deductibles. 

Having a comprehensive insurance policy is also optional. However, car leasing companies require you to have one. Whether to buy a comprehensive insurance policy is determined by the value of your car, your preference, your financial status, and where you live. 

What Happens If You Are Partially At Fault? 

When both drivers share liability, the liability level determines the damages the insurance company will cover. If you are 30% liable for the accident, the insurance will only cover 70% of the damages. Some states also have laws that help appropriate proper coverage to the involved parties.

To appropriate the proper level of liability for the involved drivers, insurance companies consider the amount of negligence each driver had. The definition of negligence and its responsibilities differ from state to state. The three categories of negligence are;

  1. Pure Contributory Negligence

Pure contributory negligence is the harshest of the three. It states that you should not receive compensation from the other party if you were also negligent. It means that if both parties share liability, none of them should demand payment from the other, regardless of their liability levels. 

  1. Pure Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence assigns faults during a claim by determining each driver’s liability level. Pure comparative negligence assigns responsibilities and awards damages proportionately. With pure comparative negligence, you can seek compensation even when you are 99% at fault. You can recover compensation for your damages if you are not 100% liable for the accident.

  1. Modified Comparative Negligence

Modified comparative negligence allows the parties to seek compensation for damages if their liability is less than 50%. Those whose liability is more than 50% are not allowed to receive any compensation. It is the most common of the three. 

What Does Being At-Fault Mean?

An at-fault driver can cause a car crash by either taking a specific action or failing to take action. Some common causes of such accidents include;

  • Drunk driving.
  • Reckless Driving.
  • Distracted driving.
  • Over speeding.
  • Fatigue while driving.
  • Traffic lights and signs ignorance.

Though some accidents are too complex to assign fault, some are straightforward, and faults can be determined easily. Let’s look at common accidents and how fault is allocated.

  1. Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lot accidents may seem minor and harmless. But low-speed accidents can also cause severe neck and back injuries. Parking lot accidents can happen when two vehicles collide while trying to park at the same place. In such a scenario, the driver who did not have the right of way will be at fault.

A vehicle can also be hit when moving out of the parking lot. Before leaving the parking space, drivers must check their side mirrors to ensure the area is clear. Therefore, if they are hit by a vehicle trying to back up, they will be at fault. The driver moving forward has the right of way, but the one backing out doesn’t.  

  1. Left Turn Collisions

Left-turn collisions often happen when the turning driver miscalculates the speed and distance of the oncoming traffic because they are required to turn in front of it. Other vehicles waiting to turn left can also obstruct the turning driver. These collisions often occur when the turning driver turns left at a green light. Turning left at a green light means the turning driver should give way to the oncoming traffic.

They are required to wait until there is enough room to turn. However, most turning drivers become impatient and rush through the intersection, causing an oncoming vehicle to crash into it. In such a scenario, the impatient turning driver is at fault.

  1. Red Light Violation

A drive-on after a red light is a violation. Some drivers run through traffic after the red light instead of stopping, which often leads to side-impact collisions. A side-impact collision occurs when one side of a vehicle is hit by the rear end of another vehicle. Usually, the sides of a vehicle are less protected, which increases their impact in case of an accident. 

Therefore, such accidents are fatal as they could lead to multiple deaths. In some cases, the car that ran the red light ends up being hit by another vehicle with the right of way. Regardless of who hit who, the driver who ran the red light will always be at fault.

  1. Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions occur when a vehicle hits another vehicle from behind. Such collisions commonly happen at stop signs, red lights, or congested traffic. These collisions are some of the most frequent accidents. Usually, it is assumed that the trailing driver is at fault. However, it might be more complex than it seems. The leading drivers, too, can be at fault. 

A trailing driver should keep a safe distance between their vehicle and the leading vehicle to avoid rear-end collisions. It gives you adequate time and space to react in case of anything. Just like other accidents, rear-end collisions can be fatal. They can cause serious injuries. Regardless of how minor it is, it is crucial to have a medical check-up.