Auto Insurance FAQs

Last updated: March 29, 2016

Common Questions About Auto Insurance

What Is "No-Fault Insurance"?

No-fault insurance is also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage is called “no-fault" insurance because it pays for injuries no matter who is at fault. 

  • It pays for accident-related medical treatment for you, your passengers, or other parties. This coverage also provides payment for things like lost income and death benefits.
  • Kansas law requires this coverage in every insurance package. The minimum required PIP coverage in Kansas is $4,500 per person per accident, although, higher limits are available. 

The Other Party’s Insurance Company Is Saying That I Am Partially at Fault for an Accident. What Does This Mean?

Kansas is a "modified comparative negligence state". This means that fault for an accident can lie with more than one party. One party in an accident may be have the majority of the fault. However, an insurance company may find that the other party contributed to the accident as well.

  • For example, the other party may have 80% at fault and you are attributed 20% fault. The other party’s insurance company would be responsible for paying 80% of your damages.

I Don’t Agree With the Amount the Insurance Company Is Offering Me for the Total Loss of My Vehicle. What Can I Do?

You can provide them with evidence for why you believe your vehicle is worth more. Choose to use a vehicle database to look up the value of your vehicle. NADA, Edmunds, or Kelly Blue Book are good options. Be sure to take into account:

  • Any prior damage on the vehicle

  • The condition of your vehicle

  • Prices in your local market (approximately 50 mile radius)  

As well, an insurance company is not required to take into account any outstanding loan balances on a vehicle.

The Kansas Insurance Department does not have authority to determine the value of your vehicle. Only the courts of the state have that authority.

I Own a Vehicle But Do Not Intend to Drive It for Awhile (or It Is Inoperable). Am I Required to Keep Auto Insurance on It?

Every vehicle titled for road use in Kansas is required to maintain minimum liability coverage. This applies even to inoperable vehicles or vehicles you choose not to drive. 

If you will not be using the vehicle, you can change the vehicles title. Contact the Kansas Department of Revenue to change it to a non-road use status. Non-road use vehicles are not required to maintain auto insurance. 

  • However, to drive it again, it will need to pass an inspection from the Kansas Highway Patrol. The vehicle can then be re-titled for road use.

Click here for further information about title changes.

It’s Been 3 Days Since I Was in an Accident. The Other Party’s Insurance Company Hasn’t Authorized a Rental Vehicle for Me yet. Do They Have to Provide Me With One?

You receiving a rental car depends upon who is a fault. Insurance companies have thirty days from the notification of the accident to determine liability. 

There are some case where there is a valid reason for delay. If the company does not accept liability, they will not pay for a rental vehicle. If they do accept liability, insurance companies have several options. 

  • They may offer a monetary payment for loss of use in place of providing a rental if they choose. 
  • Even if your vehicle is totaled, companies are not required by law to provide a rental car. However, some companies choose to do so. 
  • If you want a guaranteed rental car, consider adding a rental endorsement on your policy. You can use this endorsement even in the case of an accident you did not cause.

I Live With a Relative That is a Terrible Driver. S/He Has Been Responsible for Several Accidents and/or Traffic Tickets. My Driving Record Is Good. My Insurance Company Insists on Charging Me Higher Rates Because of the Driving History of My Relative. Can It Do That?

Yes. Every insurance company has its own underwriting and rating guidelines. Insurance companies may consider the driving history of all licensed drivers living with you. Each company may address this situation slightly differently. All companies have the right to consider the records of all drivers in the home.

My Vehicle Was Damaged in an Accident Caused by an Uninsured Driver. Can I File a Claim to Repair My Vehicle Under the Uninsured Motorist Coverage That Is on My Policy?

No. The “uninsured/underinsured” motorist coverage in your policy is available only in the event of bodily injury from an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. 

There is no provision to address damage to a vehicle under this provision. It is collision coverage that insures repairs to your car. Consider adding this to your policy.

The insurance company has based their repair costs for my vehicle on one body shop. I prefer to use a different body shop for the repairs. However, the body shop I prefer is more expensive. Does the insurance company have to pay for my vehicle to be repaired at my preferred body shop?

No. The insurer only needs to pay the amount of the lowest estimate. You may choose to have your vehicle repaired at a more expensive facility. However, you would be responsible for the difference in cost.

The Insurance Company Says It Is Going to Pay My Vehicle Damage Claim Based on a Total Loss. I Want the Vehicle Repaired. Can I Make an Insurance Company Repair My Vehicle Rather Than Total It?

The decision to declare a vehicle repairable or a total loss is up to company. If repairable, the insurance company will pay you the estimated value of repair. If totaled, they will pay you the market value of the car at the time of the loss. 

  • If the cost to repair exceeds 75% of the vehicle's value, the company will probably total the vehicle. This is required by law for newer model vehicles that are less than 7 years old.

My New Car Was in an Accident. Even Though It Was Repaired, I Feel Like It Is Not Worth as Much Now as It Was Before the Accident. Can I Collect for the Diminished Value of My Vehicle?

Kansas law does not address the payment of a diminished value claim. Some companies will consider paying it in some cases. Others will never consider it. 

  • Present evidence of the lowered value to the company if you wish to make a diminished value claim. 
  • Diminished value will never be considered on if you caused the accident.

I Was Seriously Injured in an Auto Accident and I Have Medical Bills That Need to Be Paid. How Should I Handle Them?

If you are a titled owner of a vehicle in Kansas, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) pays first medical bills caused by any auto accident. 

  • You should contact your insurance company right away so they can address your bills. If your medical bills exceed $2,000, you may become eligible for a bodily injury settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company. 
  • Bodily injury settlements are paid as one lump sum. So you will not need to send the company each medical bill you receive. You should make sure that you know the total sum of all your medical bills. They are needed to make a settlement with the insurance company. 
  • Generally, you should try to come to an agreement on a bodily injury settlement within two years of the accident. Your legal representation may advised you otherwise. 
  • Additionally, you should be aware that any settlement you reach with the at-fault party’s insurance company may require you to reimburse your insurance company for any PIP benefits they have paid on your behalf.

I Was in an Auto Accident, and the Investigation Is Taking a Long Time. The At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company Said That I Can Use My Own Coverage Instead. Is This Legal?

The investigation into a claim may be delayed. In some cases you may run into policy limits (sometimes seen in cases with multiple vehicles involved in an accident). 

If so, you may wish to use your own auto insurance policy to take care of your damages. This will require you to pay your deductible up front. An important term here is subrogate

  • This means that your insurance company will take the place of the at-fault company. Later that company will reimburse your company.  If your company is able to subrogate at least a percent of your claim, they will reimburse you that percent of your deductible back. 
  • You should be aware that the subrogation process is optional for each insurance company. It can take longer than a standard claim. You will not be reimbursed for your deductible until the process is over, if at all. 
  • Additionally, it is possible that you could lose any claims-free discounts you currently have your policy. This may happen even if subrogation is successful. However, there are some cases when this is the best option for you. Talk with your insurance agent or company thoroughly if you are considering this option.

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