Pennsylvania Car Insurance Laws

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Ross Martin

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Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Auto insurance requirements in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania drivers are required to carry insurance while behind the wheel. Furthermore, proof of coverage must be shown at the request of law enforcement officials. To get a better sense of what insurance coverages are required in Pennsylvania, we’ve put together a list, including optional coverages that can help to further protect you and your assets. 

Minimum liability coverage: 15/30/5 First Party Medical Benefit Tort Option
$15,000 for bodily injury per person $5,000 per person Full or Limited
$30,000 for bodily injury per accident
$5,000 for property damage per accident

Also, if you are financing your vehicle, your lienholder could require physical damage insurance (collision and comprehensive) in addition to liability coverage. 

Pennsylvania is a no-fault state for car insurance

No-fault insurance laws require drivers to carry their own protection. When an accident happens, your own insurance foots the bill regardless of fault. Each driver takes care of their own costs, and theoretically, the chances of someone suing over culpability are reduced. This guarantees that every driver will receive immediate medical treatment if they are injured in a car accident.

First Party Benefit in Pennsylvania

First Party Benefit (FPB) provides coverage for medical costs that you and your passengers incur in an accident regardless of fault. FPB will cover medical expenses such as hospital bills, medical, dental, and nursing services resulting from an accident. In Pennsylvania, minimum FPB coverage of $5,000 per person is required on your policy.

Pennsylvania tort option

The tort option in Pennsylvania will determine the policyholder’s right to sue another driver for pain and suffering. Selecting a limited tort option restricts your right to sue another driver for non-monetary damage except for extreme circumstances concerning death or permanent disfigurement in return for a lower premium. Choosing a full tort option allows the policyholder to sue for any post-accident related pain and suffering and usually comes with a higher premium.[1]

Liability insurance coverage in Pennsylvania

If you cause an accident, liability insurance covers those who suffer bodily injury or damages. Liability insurance never covers your injuries or any damages to your property. It only pays for the injuries and property damage to the other parties.

Property damage liability goes toward covering the cost of property damage caused by you. Typically, this will be the other party's car but is not limited to that. The limits for both of these types of coverage are explained in further detail below. In many cases, funeral expenses are covered as well.

State-mandated car insurance limits defined

Almost every state requires a minimum amount of insurance to be legally allowed to drive on the roads. The lowest amount of coverage that the state allows you to carry and still drive legally is known as the limit. These limits can be increased for a relatively low addition to your premium. 

The state of Pennsylvania requires that every driver maintains a minimum amount of liability insurance in the amounts listed above. You’ll often see this written out as 15/30/5. This is known as a split limit as it lists the limits of three separate amounts. These coverage types are per personper accident, and property damage.

  • $15,000 per person is the amount that will cover any single person injured in a car accident you cause. It will cover multiple people up to the “per accident” limit.
  • $30,000 is the per accident limit which applies if you injure more than one person in the same accident. It is the total amount that your insurance company will cover for bodily injuries you cause in any one accident. This limit is the total amount that your insurance company will pay to cover damages, though never paying over the “per-person” limit for any one person.
  • $5,000 in property damage per accident is the total dollar amount that an insurance company will cover for damages to another’s property caused by you.

Do Pennsylvania’s required car insurance minimums provide adequate coverage?

If you only carry Pennsylvania’s required insurance coverage, you are potentially putting yourself at risk. The state’s liability limits are quite low, meaning that you could find yourself having to pay for damages out of pocket. Most insurance experts agree that you should increase your liability limits to as high as you can comfortably afford. Adding coverage for your vehicle is another great way to protect your investment.

Pennsylvania’s penalties for driving without proof of insurance

If you are found to be driving in Pennsylvania without car insurance, you can expect the following penalties:

  • A minimum fine of $300
  • 3-month suspension of vehicle registration & restoration fee
  • 3-month suspension of driver's license ($94 to restore)
  • The vehicle may not be driven by anyone while the registration is suspended
  • A restoration fee to restore your commercial driver’s license[2]

Car insurance options in Pennsylvania

Alongside the insurance coverage required in Pennsylvania, many companies offer a number of other coverage options. Below are some of the more common options. 

  • Income loss benefit: This coverage kicks in to provide up to 80% of your wages if you are unable to work for a sustained period. 
  • CollisionThis coverage steps in to cover your vehicle if you are involved in a collision with another driver or object (aside from animals). 
  • ComprehensiveComprehensive insurance protects your vehicle against non-collision damages. This includes perils like theft, weather damage, and hitting an animal. Comprehensive and collision coverage — when purchased together — are typically referred to as “full coverage.” Sometimes, a lien-holder or bank can require full coverage if you are financing the vehicle.
  • Roadside assistanceThis coverage helps you in the event of a breakdown. The particulars of the coverage vary by company, but roadside assistance typically covers battery jumps, flat-tire fixes, and the cost of a tow to a nearby garage as well as some other perks. 
  • Gap coverageBecause automobiles depreciate in value so quickly, this coverage will pay the difference in the actual cash value of your vehicle and what you still owe on the loan.
  • Uninsured motorist coverageThis form of insurance covers you in the event you are injured by a motorist who does not carry liability insurance. While the at-fault driver is still on the hook for any medical bills to you or your passengers, uninsured motorist coverage exists in case they are not able to pay them right away.

Why adhering to Pennsylvania’s car insurance requirements is important

Aside from being a legal requirement, carrying the state-mandated insurance limits makes sense from a financial perspective. While driving uninsured can have serious consequences, not having high enough limits or proper coverage can also leave you at risk. If the added costs of increased coverage give you pause, consider searching for a new car insurance policy altogether. The Zebra can help by allowing you to compare rates and policies from a number of top car insurance companies, giving you the chance to pick a plan that fits your budget and your coverage needs. 

Protect your car with the right coverage at the best value.

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
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