Pennsylvania Car Insurance Guide

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Curious about how much car insurance you need to drive in Pennsylvania? Wondering if your current coverage meets state insurance requirements? This car insurance guide covers what you need to know about driving in Pennsylvania, including details about minimum auto insurance requirements, the penalties for driving without insurance, and the coverages you need to drive legally in the Keystone State. 

Personal Auto Insurance 

Auto insurance is a contract between you and your insurance company that provides financial protection if you are involved in an auto accident. Your insurance company agrees to help pay your losses based on the terms and conditions of your policy, and you agree to pay a premium amount. 

Pennsylvania car insurance laws require drivers to purchase and maintain auto insurance. The required car insurance coverages in Pennsylvania include bodily injury liabilityproperty damage liability, and medical benefits, also known as medical payments coverage.

Pennsylvania Car Insurance Laws 

You need adequate auto insurance coverage to drive legally in Pennsylvania. Still, an estimated 7.6% of drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute

Auto insurance companies are required to report policy terminations to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), so if you ever experience a lapse in coverage, you could face some steep penalties, including monetary fines and a loss of driving and vehicle registration privileges. 

Insurance companies are not required to notify PennDOT when a vehicle owner purchases a new insurance policy with the same or different company. If this happens, you'll usually receive a notice in the mail from PennDOT with instructions to verify your coverage. Failure to respond to this notice will result in vehicle registration suspension. 

Changes to Pennsylvania laws relax the penalty for driving without insurance. Vehicle owners may pay a $500 civil penalty instead of serving a three-month registration suspension if they are convicted of driving without insurance. Owners must provide current proof of insurance to be eligible for the civil penalty option. It's important to note that vehicle owners may take advantage of the civil penalty only once during a 12-month period. 

Pennsylvania Minimum Insurance Requirements

Car insurance coverage is mandatory in Pennsylvania, and your coverage must meet the state's minimum liability requirements for you to drive legally. The minimum auto insurance requirements in Pennsylvania include: 

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident 
  • Property damage liability coverage: $5,000 per accident 
  • Medical payments coverage: $5,000 per accident 

Pennsylvania law also requires auto insurance companies to offer drivers uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) at the same limits as their liability coverage. UM/UIM is automatically included in a Pennsylvania auto insurance policy. You have the right to reject these coverages in writing, which will result in a lower premium, but in doing so, you increase your financial risk if you're in an accident with an uninsured driver. (Learn more about UM below.) 

Remember: this is the minimum amount of insurance you need to drive legally in Pennsylvania. It's critical to understand that minimum auto insurance coverage may not provide the level of financial protection you'd want if you were in a car accident. 

Many drivers choose to increase their protection by increasing their coverage limits – the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for injuries and damage in an accident – and purchasing optional coverages. Increasing your limits and coverages will increase your premium, but it also provides more coverage.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Pennsylvania 

Think driving without insurance is no big deal? The penalties for driving without insurance in Pennsylvania could be costly. 

Lapse in coverage

A lapse in coverage – meaning a period of time where a registered vehicle does not have the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by state law – could result in a three-month suspension of your vehicle registration.

You may be able to restore your vehicle registration privileges if the lapse was fewer than 31 days, and you can prove to PennDOT through Form MV-221 (a "Statement of Non-operation of Vehicle") that the vehicle was not operated during that time. If you do not provide the insurance and statement: 

  • Your driver's license will be suspended for three months. 
  • You will have to surrender your vehicle's license plate, registration card, and driver's license to PennDOT. 
  • You must pay any necessary restoration fees and provide proof of insurance to restore your driving and registration privileges. 

However, you have the option to pay a $500 civil penalty in lieu of serving a registration suspension. Payment of this penalty, a restoration fee, and providing proof of insurance will allow you to maintain your vehicle registration without having to serve the three-month registration suspension. You may opt for the civil penalty only one time in a 12-month period. 

Driving without insurance

You are required to present valid proof of insurance if a law enforcement officer stops you for any reason. If you get caught driving without insurance in Pennsylvania, you could face the following penalties:

  • Minimum $300 fine for driving uninsured
  • Three-month vehicle registration suspension
  • Three-month driver's license suspension
  • Restoration fees to reinstate your vehicle registration
  • Restoration fees to reinstate your driver's license
  • Vehicle impoundment

Additionally, your vehicle may not be operated by any driver during the registration suspension. Penalties increase if you get caught driving without insurance more than once.

Car Insurance Coverages Required to Drive in Pennsylvania

PA drivers must carry three types of car insurance coverages to drive legally: bodily injury, property damage, and medical payments. Many drivers increase their protection with optional coverages. Some drivers may be required to purchase certain coverages depending on their driving history, if they're leasing or financing their vehicle, etc. 

Keep reading for more details about some common car insurance terms you may encounter if you're shopping for coverage in PA:

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

Bodily injury liability coverage (BIL) can protect you if you cause a car accident that injures another person. It can help pay for the other person's medical expenses and, if necessary, your legal fees, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy. 

In Pennsylvania, drivers must maintain minimum BIL limits of $15,000 for injury or death per person per accident and a minimum of $30,000 for injuries or death to any two or more persons per accident. 

Property Damage Liability Coverage

Property damage liability coverage (PDL) pays to repair or replace damage you cause to another person's property while operating your vehicle, based on your policy. This includes damage to another person's car and other types of property, such as mailboxes, fences, or utility poles. Pennsylvania drivers must maintain a minimum PDL limit of $5,000 per accident. 

Medical Payments Coverage

Pennsylvania is one of the few states that requires drivers to carry medical payments coverage, which helps pay for medical bills in the event of an accident. Medical payments coverage (or "med pay") can help pay the medical, hospital, and funeral expenses for you and others covered by your policy, regardless of who is at fault in an accident. 

Med pay coverage goes with you, meaning that you're covered if you're walking, a passenger in a friend's car, or riding on public transportation. This coverage can also apply to accidents that occur both in and out of state. In Pennsylvania, the minimum limit for med pay is $5,000.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

What would happen if you were the victim of a hit-and-run or an accident caused by a driver who doesn't have the insurance coverage to pay for your claim? You could be responsible for paying those expenses out of pocket – unless you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM).

UM/UIM is an example of an optional auto insurance coverage that many drivers add to their policies for more financial protection. Pennsylvania law requires auto insurance companies to offer you these coverages when you purchase a policy. You have the right you reject these coverages in writing. Opting out of UM/UIM will result in lower premiums, but that also means you assume more financial risk in the event of an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

How do Pennsylvania's tort coverages work?

Limited Tort coverage offers premium savings. You are still able to recover all out-of-pocket medical and other expenses; however, you are not able to recover certain damages - such as payments for pain and suffering - except under certain statutory exceptions. With full tort, you retain unrestricted rights to bring suit against the negligent party.

High-Risk Auto Insurance

Some auto insurance providers may refuse to insure drivers who are "high risk," or those who have a history of driving violations such as speeding tickets or a DUI/DWI conviction. High-risk auto insurance, also called non-standard auto insurance, is a type of insurance coverage for these drivers. It tends to be more restrictive than a standard auto insurance policy and may come at a higher cost.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Pennsylvania? 

Several factors influence your auto insurance premium, such as: 

  • Your age
  • Your vehicle make, year, model, and mileage
  • How often you drive
  • The policy coverages and limits you select
  • Your ZIP Code

With affordable auto insurance rates and customizable payment options, Direct Auto makes it easy for drivers to stay legal on the road. We also offer these great car insurance discounts to help make your coverage more affordable:* 

Pennsylvania Commercial Auto Insurance Policies

In Pennsylvania, all business-owned vehicles must be insured with a commercial auto policy that satisfies minimum insurance requirements. Commercial coverage protects drivers who use a car to perform job-related duties other than commuting.

Minimum Commercial Auto Insurance Requirements

Pennsylvania's minimum commercial car insurance requirements include:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage: $5,000 per accident
  • Medical payments coverage: $5,000 per accident

Liability limits for commercial vehicles ultimately depend on your business, vehicle type, and coverage needs. For instance, a company car can usually be covered by the same liability limits as a personal vehicle, while something like a delivery truck calls for higher limits.

A few different factors determine how much commercial auto insurance you need, including:

  • Vehicle size, type, and weight
  • How the vehicle is used
  • Whether the vehicle transports passengers
  • Whether the vehicle carries hazardous materials
  • Whether the vehicle is a for-hire taxi

Commercial Auto Insurance Coverages

Optional commercial auto insurance coverages can provide more protection for you, your business, and your employees. These include:

  • Hired auto and employer's non-ownership liability coverage
  • Fire and theft with combined additional coverage
  • Towing and labor reimbursement coverage
  • Loss of use coverage

Direct Auto's commercial auto policies can insure fleets of up to 20 vehicles. We also offer flexible payment options, discounts, and policy terms of 6 and 12 months.** Click here to learn more about commercial auto insurance or get a free quote by calling 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732).

Pennsylvania Motorcycle Insurance Laws

Motorcyclists in Pennsylvania are also required to meet insurance minimums. The minimum motorcycle insurance requirements in Pennsylvania include:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage: $5,000 per accident
  • Medical payments coverage: $5,000 per accident

Under Pennsylvania law, insurance companies are required to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which can protect you if you're in a hit and run or an accident caused by an uninsured driver. Insurers will automatically include these coverages in a motorcycle insurance policy unless you choose to reject them in writing. It's important to understand that by opting out of UM/UIM, you assume more financial risk in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

It's also important to know how your motorcycle insurance policy covers your passengers because not all motorcycle policies in all states cover passengers. Do not assume that your passengers are covered under your motorcycle policy because most policies exclude passengers by default. 

Direct Auto includes motorcycle guest passenger liability coverage (GPL) when you purchase motorcycle bodily injury liability coverage, so your passengers are protected if you're at-fault in an accident. 

More Information

Want to learn more about the coverages you need to comply with Pennsylvania car insurance laws? Ready for a free quote on affordable auto insurance? Call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732) or visit us online.

Pennsylvania Insurance Resources

*Rates and savings vary. Pay plans and discounts subject to terms and conditions. ** Commercial and motorcycle insurance are produced by Direct Auto Insurance agents for related and unrelated carriers. Availability, qualifications, rates, terms and conditions vary by state.

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