Third Party Bodily Injury Benefits – Every operator of a motor vehicle is required to be financially responsible which means that they maintain certain minimum insurance coverages to compensate injured victims for bodily injuries that they cause.
Although insured vehicles can maintain higher limits, each automobile insurance policy must provide minimum bodily injury insurance coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per crash to compensate third parties for injuries they sustain in a car crash.
If an insured vehicle has the minimum bodily injury liability limits, the maximum insurance coverage available to compensate a third party who is injured by the operation of the insured vehicle is $15,000. If more than one person is injured, each injured person will still be limited to maximum coverage of $15,000, but the total amount of bodily injury insurance coverage available to be allocated among all of the injured individuals is $30,000. For instance, if 3 individuals are injured in a crash, none of the injured individuals can recover more than $15,000 in bodily injury coverage and the total amount available to be distributed amongst them is $30,000.
Third Party Property Damage Benefits– In addition to bodily injury liability coverage, each automobile insurance policy issued in Pennsylvania must also provide for $5,000 in property damage insurance coverage. This type of “Third Party Coverage” is available to compensate a person who sustains property damage (as opposed to bodily injury damages) caused by the negligence of another driver.
First Party Medical Benefits – In Pennsylvania, we have what can be best termed as a “quasi” or “modified” No Fault System. Under Pennsylvania’s now longstanding automobile insurance law, a person injured in a motor vehicle crash, is entitled to recover certain damages (pain and suffering, disfiguring, emotional distress, etc.) from the responsible other driver’s automobile insurance policy. However, the payment of a crash victim’s initial medical bills (and sometimes lost income), is paid by their own automobile insurance policy. In Pennsylvania, every motor vehicle insurance policy must provide medical benefits of $5,000 per injured person. Under Pennsylvania law, these benefits must be used before any other potentially applicable health insurance coverage, such as your regular healthcare insurance is used. Unlike Third Party Benefits which are fault based, fault is irrelevant for first party medical benefits.
Because these benefits are payable by your own automobile insurance policy, they are commonly referred to as “First Party Coverage Benefits.” Again, it does not matter who caused the crash, the medical benefits under your automobile insurance must be used before any other medical insurance. Because these medical benefits are mandatory and you paid for them through your premium payments, the use of these benefits will not increase your future insurance premiums. Also, the amount that a healthcare provider can charge for medical care is at a significantly reduced rate. As a result, even the minimum amount of $5,000 in medical benefits will pay for an extensive amount of medical care.