Philadelphia ranks in the top ten most expensive cities for purchasing car insurance. Sadly, drivers cannot always control for the factors that go into calculating their insurance premiums, factors such as crime rates, traffic, accident rates, weather conditions, etc. In addition, there are a number of uninsured drivers on the road with whom you could collide (even though Pennsylvania mandates that all drivers carry the minimum auto insurance). This makes it crucial that you purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect yourself in case you are in an accident and injured.
Pennsylvania Insurance Requirements
Required coverage includes a minimum of:
- $5,000 of coverage for medical benefits;
- $15,000 (one person)/$30,000 (total available) for bodily injury liability;
- $5,000 in property damage liability; and
- Limited tort coverage.
Optional coverage includes:
- Uninsured motorist (in case the person who hits you does not have insurance);
- Underinsured motorist (in case the person who hits you does not have enough insurance for your claim);
- Funeral benefits for any funeral expenses associated with a car accident;
- Income loss if you lose wages due to any injuries;
- Collision for any damage to your car;
- Comprehensive for theft or damage to your car from hazards;
- Extraordinary medical benefits for medical and rehabilitation expenses beyond $100,000;
- Rental reimbursement to cover renting a car;
- Towing coverage (only if you have comprehensive and collision); and
- Gap coverage to address the difference between the insurance company’s payment for the vehicle and the balance of the car loan (on a new car).
Keep in mind that Pennsylvania law requires that insurance companies provide a five percent discount on your policy for drivers 55 years or older who have successful completed a driver improvement course. Most insurers also offer discounts for safe drivers and good students.
What Do I Do about Uninsured Drivers and Hit-and-Runs?
Pennsylvania law defines an uninsured automobile as a car that is lacking a bodily injury liability bond or insurance policy at the time of an accident or a car that is involved in a hit-and-run accident (and hence it is impossible to determine if the motorist had insurance coverage). If you get an accident in one of these circumstances, your options are to turn to your own insurance company (if you have uninsured motorist coverage) or sue the person who caused your accident for your injuries. Because lawsuits can take a while (and be expensive), and uninsured drivers may not have the funds to cover your injuries even if you win the lawsuit, most drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage in case of these incidents.
For those who are concerned that they cannot obtain car insurance, Pennsylvania has an “Assigned Risk Plan” which provides coverage on medical benefits, bodily injury liability, and property damage liability.
Dealing with uninsured drivers, hit-and-run accidents, and insurance companies can be extremely difficult, especially if you are also facing serious injuries from your accident. One of the best choices you can make is to contact an experienced attorney in this area to help you sift through the details and advise you of your rights. Contact Solnick & Associates, LLC today to advise you if you’ve been involved in an accident.