Utah law requires vehicle owners to maintain certain minimum levels of car insurance coverage on any vehicle registered and operated in the state. There are even some coverage requirements for non-residents who operate a vehicle withing the state for a certain portion of the year. Utah is also a "no-fault" car insurance state, which means your options for pursuing a claim are often limited when you're injured in a car accident. Read on to learn more about Utah's no-fault car insurance system, the minimum car insurance coverage requirements in the state, and more.
Utah is one of a dozen or so states that follow some form of a "no-fault" car insurance system. Under no-fault, after a car accident, your own car insurance coverage (in Utah, that means your "personal injury protection" coverage) pays for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses incurred by anyone covered under the policy, up to coverage limits, regardless of who caused the accident. But with a no-fault claim, you can't get compensation for your "pain and suffering" and other non-monetary damages stemming from the accident.
In order to step outside of the no-fault system and file a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver (so that "pain and suffering" and other non-economic losses are on the table) your injuries must meet certain thresholds set by state law (we'll look at Utah's statutory thresholds in the next section).
Utah requires at least $3,000 in no-fault (known as "personal injury protection" or "PIP") coverage. According to the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles, no-fault insurance must be continuously maintained on all passenger vehicles (cars and trucks) throughout the vehicle's registration period if:
It's important to note that Utah's no-fault car insurance system applies to injuries caused by car accidents, but not to vehicle damage claims. A claim for damage to (or total loss of) a vehicle can be made against the at-fault driver in Utah, with no limitations.
As we mentioned above, in order to step outside of Utah's no-fault car insurance claim system and pursue a claim against the driver who caused your car accident, your case must meet certain threshold requirements.
Specifically, in order to pursue a liability claim after a car accident in Utah, the injured driver or passenger must first have incurred at least $3,000 in medical bills as a result of the accident, or he or she must have suffered certain serious injuries. In Utah, the kinds of injuries that qualify under this "injury threshold" are:
If your injuries qualify under one or both of these thresholds, you're not limited to a no-fault claim under your own policy. You can hold the at-fault driver responsible for the accident via a third-party car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, and you can pursue compensation for all categories of losses, including pain and suffering and all other available non-economic damages (which, again, aren't available in a no-fault claim).
Now that you understand how no-fault car insurance works in Utah, let's look at the state's requirements for different kinds of car insurance coverage.
Besides the $3,000 in personal injury protection coverage mentioned above, if you're a vehicle owner in Utah, you must purchase and carry:
Keep in mind that, if you are found responsible for causing a car accident, and the injured drivers' and/or passengers' losses exceed the limits of your car insurance policy (which is not all that far-fetched a possibility if you've only met Utah's minimum coverage requirements), you may find yourself personally responsible for making up the difference out of your own assets.
For more details on Utah's motor vehicle insurance rules and requirements, check out the Utah Insurance Department's Auto Insurance resources.