Pennsylvania Car Insurance
If you want to learn about Pennsylvania auto insurance, we’ve got all the information you’ll need right here. Keep reading for information on required coverage, penalties for driving uninsured, important coverage decisions, and more.
Mandatory Insurance Law
Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” state that requires all drivers to have insurance.
Minimum Pennsylvania Coverage Requirements
Pennsylvania law has standards that all auto insurance policies must meet. First, every policy must provide liability and medical benefits coverage. Second, every policy must include a minimum amount of protection. The following table breaks down the requirements.
|Required coverage types||Minimum amount of coverage|
|Bodily injury liability||$15,000 for each person’s injuries in an accident|
|$30,000 total for all injuries in an accident|
|Property damage liability||$15,000 total per accident|
|Medical Benefits||$5,000 total per accident|
There are two main parts of a minimum policy: liability and medical benefits.
When someone driving your car causes a crash, it pays for victims’ hospital and repair bills. However, it only pays up to a certain amount. Minimum policies include $30,000 worth of coverage for medical bills and $15,000 for property damages. If you get the minimum amount of liability insurance, you may see it referred to as 15/30/15 coverage. You can buy more than the minimums to be better protected.
Remember, liability doesn’t cover the driver’s hospital bills or car repairs. It only covers those costs for crash victims.
Medical Benefits: When someone insured by your policy is injured in an accident, it helps pay their hospital bills no matter who caused the crash. Minimum policies have only $5,000 worth of coverage, but you have the option of buying more. You can choose a higher limit or buy “extraordinary medical benefits” coverage to increase your protection. That coverage type is explained in detail further down the page.
Penalties for Driving Uninsured
If you break the law and don’t buy coverage, you could face some serious financial setbacks. If someone crashes your car, you could get stuck having to pay other people’s hospital and repair bills. You could also get your car impounded and your license and registration suspended. On top of that, you may have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees.
|Number of Offenses||Fine||License & Registration Suspension||License & registration reinstatement fee|
|Any||$300||3 months & until proof of insurance is provided||$50-$100|
Choosing your Tort Option
When you buy a Pennsylvania policy, you must choose if you want to keep your full right to sue after a crash. This is called choosing a “tort” option. The two options are “limited” and “full.” Your choice will affect the price of your insurance. Here’s what each option means for you:
Full: This option lets you keep your unrestricted right to sue whoever caused the crash.
Limited: This option still allows you to recover medical and repair costs after a crash caused by someone else. However, you can’t sue for certain damages, such as pain and suffering.
Choosing limited tort will probably lower your premium; however, you are giving up some of your legal rights. You need to decide if the lower premium is worth restricting your ability to sue.
In addition to liability and medical benefits coverage, there are optional coverages you can add. They’ll raise the cost of your insurance, but they’ll also provide greater protection. When you get quotes on AutoInsurance.com, you can add and remove optional coverages to see how they will affect your prices.
The following are the most widely available coverage add-ons in the state.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured car if it’s damaged by something other than a collision. Some examples of this type of damage are vandalism, hail damage, and theft. More than 4 out of every 5 Pennsylvanians bought comprehensive coverage in 2011.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured vehicle after a crash. More than 3 out of every 5 Pennsylvanians bought collision coverage in 2011.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (UM/UIM)
It pays your medical bills and the medical bills of your family and passengers after a crash. It does so in two situations:
- When the crash was caused by a driver who doesn't have insurance or fled the scene of the accident.
- When the crash was caused by a driver who has insurance, but not enough to cover all your medical bills.
You can also purchase uninsured motorist coverage that pays for your car repairs in these situations.
Stacking: Pennsylvania law lets you “stack” this coverage. Stacking increases the amount of protection you have. But it may also increase your premium.
You may be able to stack coverage if you have multiple cars under your policy or are insured through multiple policies. It basically lets you combine the coverage from all those cars or policies when you file a large claim.
Stacking can differ from insurer to insurer. Check with your agent or company to find out your options.
It pays a set amount for funeral expenses if you or a family member dies from crash-related injuries.
If you miss work because of a crash-related injury, it pays for a portion of the wages that you were unable to earn during that period.
Extraordinary Medical Benefits
It helps pay for the medical bills of people covered by your policy. It does so if the total medical bills are more than your medical payments coverage will pay. If they are, this coverage picks up where your medical payments coverage ends. It will cover the remainder up to $1 million.
Accidental Death Benefit
It pays a set amount to a representative of the insured driver if that driver dies from crash-related injuries within 24 months after an accident.
It pays for the cost of renting a car after an accident.
It pays for towing and labor due to a mechanical breakdown.
It pays the difference between an insurance company’s payment for a totaled car and the remaining balance on the car's loan or lease.
Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Rates
Pennsylvania car insurance premiums are slightly cheaper than most states. The average cost of a policy in the state was less than 1% lower than the 2011 national average. That makes it the state with the 17th-highest average coverage costs.
High Premiums for Philadelphia dDrivers
Even though statewide premiums are about average, the situation is much different for Philadelphia drivers. They can expect to pay much higher premiums than in other parts of the state. In fact, the city had the 2nd-highest auto insurance premiums of any city in America in 2012, according to a Runzheimer International study. The only city that ranked higher was Detroit.
Mature Driving Discount
Pennsylvania law rewards older drivers who keep up on their road skills. Insurers in the state are legally required to give drivers 55 and older a discount if they take a driver improvement course. The discount must be at least 5%. Courses must meet the PennDOT standards, and you’ll have to take a course every three years to keep the discount going. You lose the discount if you cause an accident, get convicted of a moving violation, or have to participate in Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition for driving under the influence.
State law also rewards drivers who protect their vehicles. Insurers in the state are required to give you a discount if you have a passive antitheft device. Passive antitheft devices turn on automatically after you shut your car off.
If your car has a qualifying antitheft device, you’re legally entitled to a discount of at least 10% on your comprehensive coverage.
If you drive safely, infrequently, or both, you may want to look into a usage-based discount program. These programs use a device you install in your car to track how far it’s driven and/or if it’s driven safely. Depending on how you drive, you could potentially get a discount of up to 30%.
The following major insurers offer usage-based discounts in the Keystone State:
- Progressive: Snapshot
- Allstate: Drivewise
Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan
Some people won’t be able to buy insurance because of their bad driving history. If you’ve been turned down by every insurance company you’ve applied to, you still have one more option: The Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan (ARP). ARP is the car insurer of last resort for Pennsylvanians who can’t get car insurance on their own. Usually, this is because of multiple traffic violations or drunk driving convictions.
Before you turn to ARP, you should understand that their prices are usually higher than what you could find inthe open market.
To get an ARP policy, Pennsylvanians must prove that they have:
- Tried and failed to buy auto insurance in the past 60 days
- Been unable to find insurance for prices cheaper than those available through ARP
Did You Know?
High premiums for Philadelphia
According to one study, Philadelphia drivers have the 2nd-highest car insurance premiums of any city in the country in 2012. The only other city that was more expensive was Detroit.