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Pennsylvania Insurance Laws Every PA Resident Should Know

As a resident of Pennsylvania who owns and operates a motor vehicle, you are well aware that there are certain things that Pennsylvania drivers are required to have before they can legally get behind the wheel of your car. These include a valid driver’s license, motor vehicle registration, and a current auto insurance policy. Car insurance in Pennsylvania ensures that the policyholder is fully covered for their medical expenses and property damage if and when an accident occurs.

Unlike many other states in the country, Pennsylvania’s car insurance laws are quite complex. Rather than having a clear at-fault or no-fault insurance system, Pennsylvania has developed a hybrid “choice no-fault” car insurance system. This was designed to give PA drivers a top choice in their car insurance options, but it also makes things a bit more complicated when an accident occurs.

Critical Pennsylvania Car Insurance Laws

Every driver in Pennsylvania must have a certain amount of car insurance coverage, including bodily injury liability coverage. In addition to this coverage, all insured drivers will carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage used in an accident to pay for medical bills and other accident-related expenses.

Minimum Coverage for Liability

When you contact an insurance company to discuss the limits set by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, you will find out that the minimum coverage begins in the 15/30/5 ratio. This split limit situation provides coverage per person, accident, and property damage. The breakdown is as follows:

  • $15,000 bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 property damage per accident

In addition to these liability limits, you will also have First Party Benefit (FPB), which begins at $5,000 per person. The First Party Benefit covers your medical bills and any additional services or treatments needed to be related to your accident injuries.

For all minimum coverages related to liability limits in your car insurance policy, you can raise the amount covered by your policy to ensure that you are not left in financial straits following an accident. However, you cannot lower your auto insurance limit in Pennsylvania without incurring penalties.

Choice No-Fault Insurance Coverage

In most states, you either have at-fault or no-fault insurance coverages. These are very cut and dry, and those involved in an accident will be generally aware of how to go about getting compensation for their accident injuries. The injured party will have to prove that the at-fault driver caused the accident in an at-fault situation. It does not matter who caused the accident for those with no-fault insurance because your own insurance company will pay all injury and damage costs.

Pennsylvania, however, is a hybrid of the two. The state law gives you a choice for the type of insurance policy you want. You have to either opt-in or opt out of the no-fault insurance policy. Those who opt-in will have any accident injuries paid for by their insurance companies. They have little to no ability to file a personal injury lawsuit against another driver. The premium in this option is generally lower than the premiums for those who opt out. Anyone who decides to opt out will have to seek compensation from the other drivers involved and prove that their recklessness caused the accident.

Limited Tort Option vs. Full Tort Option

Limited and full tort is related to the choice we discussed above concerning the no-fault insurance option. With the little tort option incurred through the opt-in policy, very few extreme circumstances may allow an injured driver to file a lawsuit against the other driver and his insurance company.

If you opt out of the no-fault insurance in Pennsylvania, you are in the full tort option. This allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver to seek compensation for your injuries and losses.

Other Optional Insurance Coverage in Pennsylvania

Depending on your situation, you may want to consider other additional coverage options for your policy. If you have a loan for your vehicle, the lien holder may require that you have additional coverage on your insurance policy, including collision and comprehensive coverage. Other insurance coverage options include:

  • Income loss benefit
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Roadside assistance
  • Gap coverage
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

It would be best to speak to your licensed insurance agent about all of these options, the costs of adding them to your insurance in Pennsylvania, and the benefits they provide to you as the policyholder.

Questions to Ask Your Pennsylvania Car Insurance Company

If you are shopping around for new auto insurance (if you are making a switch or are new residents in PA), consider asking your insurance company these questions:

  • What Pennsylvania laws require auto insurance coverage?
  • Do I have all the coverage I need to keep myself and my family financially secure in an accident?
  • Are there any discounts or savings I could take advantage of?
  • Is damage to my car covered in my auto insurance policy?
  • Am I responsible for medical bills or funeral expenses for those injured or killed in a car accident that I am involved in?
  • Are there any out-of-pocket expenses I should be aware of?
  • How much will my monthly premium be?

Once you have gotten all of the answers you need, you can rest assured knowing that your insurance in Pennsylvania has you covered.

Contact Our Experienced Pittsburgh, PA, Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Pennsylvania and you need legal assistance filing a claim with your insurance or fighting for compensation from the other driver, contact Frischman & Rizza. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have handled many different auto accident cases and are ready to provide you with the legal representation you need.

Call today to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation!

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