Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Laws

auto-insurance-lawsAuto insurance laws vary from state to state. What may be allowed by law in one state may be illegal in another. More often, there are slight differences in the various laws regarding a driver’s financial responsibility for operating a motor vehicle. For instance, not every state requires that a motorist carry auto insurance. However, some form of financial provision is required in those states that don’t, such as an uninsured motorist fee. Pennsylvania does require that all vehicles on the road, within the state lines, must carry at least a minimum auto insurance. All vehicles must have auto insurance in order to be registered in the state as well.

Pennsylvania Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements

The minimum auto insurance requirements in Pennsylvania are the absolute least you can carry and still be compliant with the law. They are:

  • Medical Benefits – $5000 – covers medical bills of the insured or for anyone else covered under the policy. It does not matter who was at fault for the accident.
  • Bodily Injury per Injured Third Party – $15,000 – covers medical bills per person who was injured in the accident.
  • Bodily Injury per Accident – $30,000 – highest amount of bodily injury coverage for the entire accident.
  • Property Damage – $5,000 – highest amount of property damage coverage per occurrence.

There are also all-purpose policies available that begin with a minimum total coverage of $35,000. The state accepts certain policies that fall under this category.

Many motorists opt to carry higher limits because they find the minimum is not sufficient. Just meeting Pennsylvania’s minimum insurance requirements can be costly in the event of an accident. If the insured is found to be at fault and the expenses exceed the insurance limits, they may be found personally liable for making up the difference.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Pennsylvania

Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is not required under Pennsylvania law, but is provided as an optional supplement to an auto insurance policy. UM and UIM provide protection if there are injuries in an accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover all of the damages.

Pennsylvania Limited Tort vs Full Tort Auto Insurance

Several states in the U.S. use a “no-fault” system regarding who has financial responsibilities for injuries that are sustained in an auto accident. Pennsylvania is one of those states. This means that regardless of who was at fault in an accident, the injured driver or anyone who is covered by their policy utilizes their personal injury protection or medical benefits coverage on their own policy first in order to cover medical expenses as well as any financial losses. If the other driver was at fault, the financial responsibility may eventually shift to the at-fault driver. The no-fault option does not apply to property loss.

Pennsylvania is considered to be a choice no-fault state, meaning that drivers may choose between limited tort and full tort coverage.

  • Limited Tort – This option usually means lower premiums, but it also has limits on recovering certain damages. For instance, the insured cannot receive compensation for pain and suffering unless the injuries meet certain threshold requirements per Pennsylvania law. These injuries typically must be catastrophic, leaving the person permanently disabled or disfigured or with a significant impairment of a function of the body.
  • Full Tort – This usually means higher premiums, but there is no limit on the options available. The insured may file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who was at fault with no restrictions regarding the severity of the injuries. The insured can also seek compensation all related losses, including pain and suffering.

Cancellation of Insurance in Pennsylvania

An automobile insurance policy can be cancelled by the insurance company for various reasons. The most common is failure to pay the premium by the due date. In Pennsylvania, there is not law that requires insurance companies to extend a grace period for payments on the premium. A suspended license can also be cause for the insurance company to cancel a policy. A Pennsylvania driver who is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) will have their license suspended, regardless of whether or not they take the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (ARD). This is how a DUI can lead to a cancellation of a person’s insurance policy.

Penalties for Failing to Insure a Vehicle in Pennsylvania

Drivers who are caught operating a vehicle without the appropriate auto insurance can be fined up to $300. Additionally, under Pennsylvania law, they could face suspension of their vehicle registration, driver’s license, and license plate.

If you have been in a car accident, you probably have a lot of questions. Call The Slocum Firm and speak to one of our experienced, caring attorneys to get the answers you need. The sooner you call, the sooner you can get the compensation that you deserve.

 

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