Utah No-Fault Car Insurance

A look at Utah's no-fault car insurance system, how "personal injury protection" coverage works in the state, and more.

By , J.D. · University of San Francisco School of Law

Utah law requires vehicle owners to maintain certain minimum levels of car insurance coverage on vehicles registered in the state, and it's important to understand how the state's no-fault car insurance system works after a car accident:

  • Utah's "no-fault" car insurance rules mean your own insurance policy covers your medical bills and other losses after an accident, at least initially, regardless of who caused the crash.
  • Your options for pursuing a claim against anyone else (including a lawsuit) are limited when you're injured in a car accident in Utah.
  • Required minimum car insurance in Utah includes both liability (fault) and personal injury protection (no-fault) coverage.

No-Fault Car Insurance in Utah

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, regardless of who caused the accident. (We'll detail what's covered a little later on.)

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:

  • the vehicle's owner/operator is a Utah resident, or
  • the vehicle's owner/operator is a non-resident of the state who operates a vehicle that has been physically present in Utah for 90 days during the last 365 days (in this situation, the non-resident owner must maintain no-fault insurance while the vehicle remains in the state).

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.

Who Is Covered Under No-Fault/PIP In Utah?

The no-fault/personal injury protection provisions of a Utah car insurance policy will typically cover:

  • the vehicle owner/policyholder
  • any passenger riding in the policyholder's vehicle (unless they have their own car insurance coverage)
  • anyone who borrows the policyholder's vehicle with permission, and
  • any pedestrian injured in an accident involving the policyholder's vehicle.

What's Covered Under No-Fault/PIP Insurance In Utah?

There are lots of exceptions and restrictions in the relevant statute (Utah Code section 31A-22-307), but personal injury protection coverage benefits usually include:

  • payment of medical bills stemming from medical treatment of car accident injuries
  • compensation for accident-related lost income (usually the lesser of $250 per week, or 85% of gross lost income/loss of earning capacity)
  • a "special damage allowance" for tasks the injured person can't do (like household work) because of their car accident injuries
  • funeral, burial, or cremation benefits if the accident results in a covered person's death, and
  • compensation to the person's heirs if the crash results in a covered person's death.

The Utah Threshold for Suing the At-Fault Driver

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:

  • permanent disability
  • permanent impairment
  • permanent disfigurement, or
  • dismemberment

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.

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Requirements in Utah

Besides the $3,000 in personal injury protection coverage mentioned above, if you're a vehicle owner in Utah, you must purchase and carry:

  • $25,000 in liability coverage, per person, for bodily injury after an accident you cause
  • $65,000 total liability coverage per accident, when more than one person suffers bodily injury after an accident you cause, and
  • $15,000 per accident for property damage you cause in a car accident.

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.

Getting Help After a Car Accident In Utah

It's always a good idea to have an understanding of the car insurance rules in your state, but if you've been involved in a car accident, you might need more than just basic information. Especially if your injuries turn out to be serious, and you might have the option of pursuing a claim against the driver who caused your crash, it may make sense to discuss your situation with an experienced legal professional.

Learn more about how an attorney can make a difference in your car accident case. You can also use the tools on this page to connect with an injury lawyer in your area.

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