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Pennsylvania Car Insurance Coverage

Drivers searching for Pennsylvania car insurance coverage need to be educated on the particular requirements for auto insurance included in Pennsylvania state law. Every driver in the state must be covered by car insurance according to state regulations. As a driver in Pennsylvania you have to present proof of acceptable insurance coverage in order to get your vehicle registered. Having a solid understanding of Pennsylvania car insurance coverage can help give you the tools you need to put together the right coverage for your situation.

Mandatory PA Automobile Insurance Requirements

Pennsylvania is a financial responsibility state, meaning the state requires auto liability coverage for all drivers. The state mandates split form liability coverage, which pays out in cases of liability or negligence as determined by law enforcement officials or investigators responding to the scene of an accident. Auto liability coverage has three parts, the first two dealing with bodily injury and the third with property damage.

In the state of Pennsylvania, the minimum coverage limit for an auto liability policy is 15/30/5. These numbers represent, in order, the minimum coverage limits for each of the three portions of a Pennsylvania liability policy. The numbers are expressed in thousands of dollars, meaning, for example, each driver has to carry at least $5,000 in property damage liability coverage to have legal coverage and be registered in the state of Pennsylvania.

Bodily injury liability coverage pays for the costs of medical care or funeral and burial expenses for those injured or killed as a result of an at-fault auto collision. The first portion of the policy is set aside for dealing with expenses related to the injury or death of one person, while the second covers the costs associated with the injuries or deaths of multiple parties. The minimum limits of coverage stipulated by Pennsylvania state auto insurance law are just the baseline levels of coverage you can carry as a policy holder in the state.

When you price out coverage from Pennsylvania auto insurance providers, you can get quotes based on a minimal liability plan, or on additional auto coverage. Many drivers in the state choose to carry more than the minimum levels of liability coverage, because more serious car accidents can result in damages far exceeding the state-mandated coverage thresholds. With Pennsylvania being a financial responsibility state with respect to auto insurance, you can expect to be held responsible for the costs of any at-fault accident you might be involved in. Liability coverage is generally the least expensive portion of a Pennsylvania policy, so in many cases drivers find it worthwhile and even affordable to increase their coverage levels to better prepare themselves for significant liability situations that could come up.

Consequences of Auto Coverage Lapses

To help ensure compliance with state auto insurance regulations, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has instituted punitive consequences for non-compliance on the part of state drivers. Any lapses in auto insurance coverage spanning more than 31 days will result in an automatic three-month suspension of a Pennsylvania driver's registration privileges. If the lapse in coverage is under 31 days, the vehicle owner has to prove to the PennDOT that the vehicle in question was not driven during the period of lapsed coverage. Drivers who get caught driving without insurance face an additional three-month suspension of their driver's license. In a license or registration suspension circumstance, you have to surrender your plates, registration card and license to the PennDOT to serve the suspension [1], so it is clear that remaining in compliance with state insurance law is of the utmost importance.

Optional Auto Coverage in PA

As noted above, the minimum levels of coverage mandated for auto liability coverage in Pennsylvania are only minimums, and drivers are free to increase their level of liability protection on their Pennsylvania car insurance coverage. Beyond this, there are other ways to add to your overall coverage as a PA driver. Choosing to add one or more of these optional areas of coverage will expand and strengthen your auto insurance coverage. Each elective endorsement protects you as a Pennsylvania driver in a very specific way.

Since liability auto coverage does not protect the policy holder's own vehicle against damage or the covered driver from the cost of medical treatment, these are two areas many auto owners choose to address in their Pennsylvania car insurance coverage. Collision and comprehensive auto coverage protect the insured vehicle against damage due to any covered circumstance. Collision coverage is specifically set aside for payment covering losses stemming from auto accidents. It pays the covered policy holder for damage to the vehicle up to the limit of the policy less deductible, regardless of fault. Collision coverage is a valuable type of auto coverage for Pennsylvania drivers to consider.

Like collision, comprehensive coverage protects the policy holder against the risk of financial loss due to damage to the insured vehicle. Comprehensive covers all other insurable circumstances other than car accidents. For example, if your vehicle was stolen and not recovered, the loss would be covered under the comprehensive portion of your Pennsylvania car insurance coverage. If your car is damaged in a hail storm while it parked outside your home, your resulting claim would fall under the auspices of comprehensive insurance coverage. Other covered events include break-ins and vandalism. Check with your Pennsylvania auto insurance provider for a full list of coverage, as well as important exclusions you might need to know about as you consider adding comprehensive and collision to your insurance policy.

Adding a combination of collision and comprehensive coverage to your Pennsylvania auto policy gives you a great base of insurance protection for your vehicle. However, neither one of these forms of coverage protect you as a driver against the financial cost of injury in the aftermath of an accident. If you get into an at-fault accident and you are injured, you will be responsible for taking care of the costs of your medical care. It is possible that your health insurance will cover these costs, but it is very prudent to take a look at your medical coverage to be sure before you choose to decline any medical endorsements on your auto plan. If you do find that you have a need for medical coverage on your auto insurance, you can add an endorsement for medical payments coverage to give yourself that extra added protection. Just like with any insurance decision, you need to get all the facts about what kind of pre-existing coverage you have, so that you can avoid paying twice for the same protection.

There are other elective coverage options for Pennsylvania drivers; consult your insurer for more details. Getting a firm grip on the requirements associated with Pennsylvania car insurance coverage, as well as the many options available beyond compulsory auto liability insurance, can help you to make smart choices in putting together your personal auto policy. If you approach your search for coverage with an open mind, you can take a look at everything there is available to you, and make decisions based on priority and personal preference. Plan a Pennsylvania auto policy with all the coverage you need.

[1] http://www.dot3.state.pa.us/insurance/index.shtml Retrieved 2010-01-12.

 

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