Drivers in Utah are required by law to carry both liability coverage and a minimum amount of no-fault personal injury protection. This combination of coverage is designed to protect all drivers from the financial impact of a car accident.
Under Utah’s car insurance laws, all drivers must carry two basic types of coverage at legally required minimal levels in order to be on the road. The coverage works with the state’s combination of no-fault and tort insurance systems to cover damages from accidents.
All drivers are required to carry liability coverage in the following amounts:
- Bodily Injury coverage for injury and death caused by an accident in the amount of $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident for all injured people.
- Property Damage coverage in the amount of $15,000 for damage to vehicles or other personal property in an accident
Utah also allows drivers to select a combined single limit liability policy with a minimum amount of $80,000 to cover both injuries and property damage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
This no-fault coverage is required in the amount of at least $3000 per person. It covers medical and other expenses for you and your household members regardless of fault in an accident.
As it most states, drivers frequently choose to increase these limits well above the legal minimum to provide added protection, especially considering the high cost of a serious accident involving major property damage, severe injuries, or death.
Optional coverage is available from car insurance companies in order to provide extra financial protection in a variety of areas. Utah drivers can select from a list of common car insurance options to create a comprehensive, full-coverage policy.
- Collision Coverage – Pays for repairs to your car in the event of an accident in which you are found at fault. This coverage usually comes with a deductible that can be adjusted to suit your budget.
- Comprehensive Coverage – Covers damage to your vehicle that results from anything other than a collision. Common items covered under comprehensive are theft, vandalism, fire, weather damage, and more.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – Pays for bodily injury and property damage when the other driver is at fault and either has no insurance or has an insurance policy that is not adequate to pay for all of the damages.
- Rental Car Reimbursement – Covers a rental car during a covered claim.
- Towing and Labor – Pays for non-collision roadside assistance including towing to a repair shop as needed.
Utah’s No-Fault Law
The state of Utah uses a no-fault system in which Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is the first line of protection in the event on an accident. Regardless off who is at fault, each driver’s PP coverage will kick in first to pay for covered expenses. When PIP is exhausted, liability coverage will then take up the slack and pay out the remainder of the claim up to the limits of the policy.
This means that although there is a no-fault coverage law, Utah drivers can still collect damages from other drivers when they are in excess of the PIP coverage amount. There is still at fault determination in every accident, and the responsible driver can still be held accountable.
Penalties For Driving Uninsured
Utah ranks among the states with the lowest rates of uninsured drivers, with 2012 numbers placing the state as the 4th lowest at a rate of 5.8% of drivers being uninsured. This is likely in part due to the strict penalties for driving uninsured in the state.
All drivers are required by law to present proof of insurance to law enforcement during a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident. Proof of insurance is also required to register a vehicle. Additionally, Utah uses an electronic insurance verification system to monitor all policies. Insurance companies are required to report cancellation or lapse in insurance coverage.
Drivers who are caught without insurance face stiff penalties:
- The vehicle can be impounded on the spot
- Driving privileges will be suspended
- Drivers will be fined at least $400 for a first offense and $1000 for subsequent offenses
- Reinstatement fees will be required once proof of insurance is obtained
Drivers who have been convicted of driving uninsured will be required to provide proof of insurance to the DMV for a period of three years following the conviction, or face further legal penalties.
Shopping for Car Insurance In Utah
Not surprisingly considering the very low rate of uninsured drivers, Utah ranks among the more affordable states for car insurance. A 2015 study by Insure.com ranked Utah as number 40 based on average sample insurance rates across the country. Insurance rates are several hundred dollars below the national average.
The Utah Insurance Department offers consumers a list of resources and assistance to make shopping for car insurance easier. Utah insurers use a variety of factors to determine auto insurance rates. Among them are credit scores, which can legally be used in the state of Utah for the purpose of rating insurance policies.
Utah drivers can also use the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website to look up insurance companies. This database allows you to check on complaint records and any other matters of concern with regards to insurance company reputation.
Insurance companies have the right to refuse insurance to drivers who do not meet their underwriting standards. These drivers are referred to as high-risk drivers, and a driver may be classified this way due to multiple tickets or accidents, major violations, and other problems on his or her driving record.
In Utah, high-risk drivers can obtain the insurance they need by going through the Utah high-risk driver assigned risk plan, which will place each driver with an insurance company. While the insurance company is required by law to provide a policy, high-risk drivers can still expect to pay high rates for this coverage.
Teen Drivers in Utah
Utah’s graduate licensing program helps teens to ease into the responsibilities of driving while learning all of the necessary skills to be safe drivers. Each portion of the program has certain requirements and restrictions.
Utah teens can obtain a learner’s permit at the age of 15, after passing a written knowledge test. Drivers with a learner’s permit can drive only when accompanied by an approved, fully licensed driver in the passenger seat. Drivers meeting this requirement include:
- Driving instructors
- Parents or legal guardians
- The responsible adult who signed the financial responsibility form for the teen driver
Teens with a learner’s permit can enroll in the required driver education program to prepare for the road test.
At 16 years old, a driver may apply for a restricted license as long as they have met the following requirements:
- Held a learner’s permit for at least 6 months
- Completed an approved driver education course
- Completed 40 hours of driving practice, with 10 of those hours at night
Passed the road test
With this license, the teen must follow a certain set of restrictions:
- Driving between midnight and 5 AM is prohibited unless the teen is accompanied by an approved driver in the passenger seat, or is going to or from an approved work, school, or religious activity.
- No passengers are permitted in the vehicle other than immediate family members unless accompanied by an approved driver in the passenger seat. This restriction ends after 6 months
At the age of 17, teen drivers can graduate to the full license. At this time there are no further restrictions.
All teen drivers are required to be covered under an insurance policy. Teens under 18 will require a parent, guardian, or other responsible party to sign a financial responsibility form in which they commit to providing a policy that meets the legal minimum requirements. Most teens can remain on a parent or guardian’s policy even when away at school past the age of 18.
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