Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Requirements
Every driver in Pennsylvania must carry adequate vehicle insurance at all times. Failure to carry appropriate insurance can lead to tickets, fines, and legal trouble. You may even have your license suspended and car impounded. It can be difficult to know exactly what types of insurance and coverage minimums the law requires, as well as what types of insurance are optional but still available to you. Here’s an overview of Pennsylvania’s auto insurance requirements:
MEDICAL BENEFITS COVERAGE
All drivers must have medical benefits and liability insurance coverage. Medical benefits coverage, or no-fault coverage, pays for you and your passengers’ medical bills after a car accident in Pennsylvania – regardless of which driver was at fault for the crash. Pennsylvania’s no-fault car accident laws make it unnecessary to prove fault to receive coverage for your injuries. The minimum amount of medical benefits coverage you must carry is $5,000. Medical benefits coverage aims to prevent insurance fraud and limit litigation.
Thanks to the state’s no-fault car accident laws, there is often no need to go to court to settle a car accident claim. Instead, your insurance company will automatically compensate you and your passengers. However, cases involving death, disfigurement, or disability may still go to court to seek pain and suffering damages. When you purchase your no-fault car insurance, you can choose to have either a limited right to sue or full tort right to sue. Limited right has a cheaper premium, but full rights give accident victims the ability to sue for medical costs as well as pain and suffering. The choice is yours.
Despite the no-fault laws, Pennsylvania makes liability coverage mandatory. This type of coverage compensates victims in a car accident where you were at fault. Liability insurance minimums are $5,000 for property damage, $15,000 per person per accident, and $30,000 total per accident. The $30,000 total covers injuries to all people involved in the crash. Any damages over the $30,000 minimum must seek retribution through the policyholder. Some insurance companies offer single limits of $35,000 to fulfill the entire liability coverage requirement.
Drivers always have the option to purchase additional coverage on top of what the law requires. Additional coverage means higher premiums, but it can also protect you and your vehicle in the event of an accident. Optional insurance coverage includes:
- Collision coverage. This pays for your vehicle’s damages in an accident.
- This will pay for damage to your vehicle from something other than an accident, such as a natural disaster or vandalism.
- Uninsured/underinsured. This type of insurance will pay for your injuries and property damage, should you be in an accident with a motorist who is uninsured or underinsured. This includes hit and run accidents.
If you lease or finance your vehicle, the company in charge of your financing may require you to purchase certain types of insurance coverage that are otherwise optional. Check with your company to learn your individual responsibilities.
PROOF OF INSURANCE
Pennsylvania law requires drivers to keep proof of insurance in the vehicle while driving. This can be a printed insurance card, policy declaration page, insurance binder, or signed letter from your insurance company.
During a traffic stop, you will have to show the officer this proof. Your insurance policy must be active and up to date. It is illegal to have gaps in coverage or to drive an uninsured vehicle. Failure to have proper insurance coverage can result in a minimum fine of $300, three-month license and registration suspension (plus restoration fees), and possible impoundment of your vehicle. Make sure you carry the minimum required insurance before hitting the road in Philadelphia.