Car insurance is one of those things that most people don’t really pay attention to until they need it. Most drivers in Pennsylvania know that insurance is mandatory and that they must have a certain amount of coverage and that’s about it. Many don’t even know what the required minimum coverage actually is. They just rely on whatever numbers their insurance company tells them.
Standing on the side of the road after an accident talking with the police is not the moment you want to find out there is something wrong with your auto insurance coverage. Bad news can come as a surprise when you find out that your insurance won’t cover all of the repairs your car might need after an accident, too.
Knowing the basics of the Pennsylvania car insurance laws is not just about making sure you’re in compliance. It’s also about protecting yourself in the event that you are involved in an auto accident. The laws don’t just require you to have a certain amount or type of coverage. They set obligations for the insurance company and establish certain rights that consumers have when dealing with the insurance companies, too.
Required Coverage Under Pennsylvania Car Insurance Laws
As you probably know, certain types of insurance coverage are required along with minimum coverage amounts under Pennsylvania auto insurance laws. If the coverage on your vehicle doesn’t meet these minimum requirements, you can not legally operate that vehicle in the state.
This coverage pays for the medical bills incurred by you and others covered under your insurance policy regardless of fault in the accident. The minimum coverage required by law is $5,000.
Bodily Injury Liability
This coverage pays for medical and rehabilitation expenses for anyone that you injure in an auto accident. The minimum coverage required by law is $15,000/$30,000 which means that up to $15,000 will be paid for a single injured person and up to $30,000 will be paid per accident.
Property Damage Liability
This coverage pays for damage to someone’s property in an accident where you are at fault. The minimum coverage required by law is $5,000.
Some companies may offer a single limit of $35,000 per accident which meets the minimum requirements for both bodily injury and property damage liability.
Limited Or Full Tort Coverage
The tort is a legal term meaning civil wrongdoing. It is a wrongful act where, under civil law, an injured party can seek monetary compensation for damages.
In Pennsylvania, you can choose either limited or full tort coverage from your auto insurance company. Limited tort will result in lower premiums and you will be able to recover medical and other expenses, but you will not be able to claim some damages such as pain and suffering unless your injuries meet some specific exceptions. With full tort coverage, you will retain your rights to bring a full suite against a negligent party in an accident.
Optional Coverage Choices
Most insurance companies will also offer many extra coverage options that are not required by law but may end up saving you considerable expenses in the event of an accident. Those options might include underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, funeral benefits, income loss, collision, extraordinary medical benefits, accidental death benefits, and more.
Possible Penalties For Driving Without Insurance In Pennsylvania
If you are stopped by the police for a moving violation and it is discovered that you are driving your vehicle without proper insurance, you could face fairly significant penalties. Those include:
- A minimum of $300 fine for driving uninsured
- A three-month suspension of your vehicle registration
- A three-month suspension of your driver’s license
- Restoration fees to restore your vehicle registration
- Restoration fees to restore your driver’s license
- Vehicle impoundment
Your car’s license plate and registration sticker must be surrendered to PennDOT along with your driver’s license in order to serve the suspension. Then, (if your vehicle is not impounded) neither you nor anyone else will be able to operate that vehicle until the suspension time has been served and any restoration fees have been paid.
Contact A Qualified Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Attorney
Do you have questions about your auto insurance, auto insurance laws, or the rights you have when dealing with auto insurance companies in Pennsylvania? Our team at Solnick & Associates has the knowledge and expertise needed to help you with your Pennsylvania car insurance questions and problems quickly and efficiently.
You can contact us online anytime or call (877) 415-6495. Your initial consultation is free and confidential.