State car insurance laws are designed to protect drivers and limit the power of car insurance companies. They are also designed to provide a fair environment for both drivers and insurance providers, but as states have very different insurance commissions and courts, they also tend to have very different car insurance laws. There are a few things that all drivers should know about the car insurance laws in their states in order to fully understand how insurance works and how car insurance regulations can provide protection when buying a new policy or making a car insurance claim.
First of all, drivers should know whether or not their state car insurance laws follow a no-fault or an at-fault system. This is particularly important if you are moving to a new state. While some states will hold that an at-fault driver in an accident should pay for the costs of an accident, others (including New York and Florida) use a no-fault system where the insurance company of each driver pays for accident claims. Obviously, this is one of the most important distinctions in the various state car insurance laws. Everything from your state-required minimum coverage amounts to the way that the court systems work will be affected by whether your state uses an at-fault or a no-fault system of car insurance. Find out which system that your state uses as soon as possible.
Secondly, all drivers should know the required minimum coverage levels in their state of residence. Most at-fault states require liability coverage of a certain amount, while no-fault states require comprehensive car insurance coverage and personal injury protection (also known as PIP). Knowing these coverage minimums can be important. Most car insurance companies will prevent their customers from buying a policy that does not match the minimum coverage levels set by the state of residence, but remember that this is not always the case. Know your coverage minimums, and make sure that you are buying at least your legally required coverage amounts-most drivers should actually purchase much more insurance in order to be safe.
Finally, every driver needs to know the process for submitting a complaint about a car insurance company. Car insurance regulations can be very strict in some states, and they can be a driver's greatest asset when an insurance company breaks state car insurance laws. Contact your state's insurance commissioner or visit the website of the insurance commission to find out how to submit a complaint. Even if you are completely satisfied with your car insurance company, knowing how to submit a complaint in order to get a resolution on a dispute can be very valuable at some point in the future.