Pennsylvania Car Insurance
At first glance, Pennsylvania's laws regarding auto insurance can seem confusing. The state uses a no-fault hybrid system which is unique in the nation. No-fault systems tend to cause insurance premiums to be more expensive than normal, but the average cost of auto insurance in Pennsylvania is still lower than the national average. This might be partially due to the fact that only 6.5% of drivers are uninsured. Read on if you'd like a more complete understanding of auto insurance regulations in Pennsylvania.
What is a No-Fault Hybrid System?
If you're a driver in Pennsylvania, you'll be able to chose between two options when you buy a car insurance policy: limited tort or full tort. Limited tort is the no-fault option. When you get into an accident involving another driver, you can file a claim without having to consider who was responsible. Full tort is the more traditional form of insurance in the United States. Should you get in an accident that the other driver is responsible for, you can sue them to get compensation for medical expenses and damage to your vehicle. However, you can also be sued if you cause an accident.
When you select the no-fault option, you'll need to purchase a minimum amount of insurance coverage according to state regulations. This minimum includes:
- $15,000 per person person injury coverage for third parties. This covers passengers and pedestrians.
- $5,000 no-fault PIP protection
- $30,000 coverage total for third party injuries
- $5,000 property damage coverage
If a driver experiences a minor injury, they would file a claim with their own insurer for coverage. State laws allow drivers with the no-fault option to work outside the limited tort system if they have been severely injured. An injury that causes permanent impairment or disfigurement would be considered severe.
Drivers who choose the full tort option are not required to buy the personal injury protection. Should you be injured in an accident, you would need to file a third party claim. You could also opt to sue the other driver to get compensation. However, if you're found to be at fault for the accident, a court decision could go against you.
Buying Optional Coverage
Pennsylvania has a high rate of drivers carrying insurance, so uninsured or underinsured coverage isn't a requirement. If you get into an accident, the chance of the other driver being uninsured is around 5%. You can elect to get further coverage beyond the minimum, however. Collision insurance, for example, will help pay for damage to your vehicle when you're judged to be responsible for an accident. Comprehensive insurance can help in cases where your car is damaged due to vandalism or extreme weather events.
Assigned Risk Plan
If a motorist has a poor driving record or has filed many claims in the past, an insurance company is legally allowed to deny them coverage. However, the law also stipulates that all drivers must carry insurance, so high-risk drivers are offered another option. They can apply for an Assigned Risk Plan with their insurance provider. An ARP can be more expensive than a typical insurance policy and should only be used as a last resort option.
Proof of Insurance
In order to drive legally in Pennsylvania, motorist must have proof that they carry insurance, and they need to be ready to show it to law enforcement officers at traffic stops. Proof of insurance is also needed when they go to register a vehicle. There is a minimum $300 fine associated with driving without proof of insurance. You could also get your license suspended for three months in certain circumstances or have your vehicle impounded. There are a number of ways to show proof of insurance. These include ID cards from your insurance company, an official letterhead from them, or a copy of your Assigned Risk Plan application.