Pennsylvania a geographically small state that is in the top ten states for population and density also has one of the lowest uninsured motorists rates at only 6.5% and even with a typically more expensive no fault insurance system is still just below the national average in cost. The insurance system as a somewhat no fault hybrid is a little more complex than most other states and requires a full understanding of your options as presented below.
No Fault Hybrid System
Pennsylvania is considered a “choice no fault” system where drivers have an option for no fault or a full tort traditional insurance system. With a limited tort insurance, you would simply claim your own insurance company as this is the no fault option. However with the full tort option, your insurance premium may be significantly more but gives you the option to sue for all medical and property damage expense from an accident.
If you opt for no fault you will be required to get the following insurance coverages:
$15k per person personal injury protection for third parties (liability insurance)
$30k for third party injuries total per accident
$5k per occurrence for property damage
$5k for Personal Injury Protection (no fault) insurance coverage
In this option any minor, soft tissue and non-severe injuries for yourself would simply be claimed against your own insurer. In Pennsylvania you can still go outside the no fault option if you have no fault coverage when you have been gravely injured. This serious injury is deemed as a permanent disfigurement or impairment and does not include minor injuries the head or soft tissue.
Coverage for traditional tort coverage requires all of the above except the PIP coverage. If you opt for this coverage any accident that you are injured in would require you to make a third party claim or litigate to recover damages. However you have to be careful during litigation in case you are found at fault with traditional tort coverage.
With one of the lowest uninsured driver rates in the country Pennsylvania does not require you to get uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage. The likelihood of getting into an accident with another driver that is uninsured is almost 1 in 20.
However you could opt for collision and comprehensive insurance to protect your car and property against instances where you are at fault (collision) or in cases of vandalism, theft or acts of nature (comprehensive). In these cases your property damage would be covered by insurance with a deductible.
Assigned Risk Plan
Since there is legislative requirement for all drivers to carry insurance, drivers are also guaranteed the right to access to insurance. However, any insurer has the right to deny insurance to any individual driver that they feel is a high risk driver. These drivers can then apply to the Assigned Risk Plan through any insurer. So if you are denied regular insurance, you can still apply through the provider for ARP to get insurance. Yet be sure you have exhausted all other options as ARP is more expensive than regular insurance.
Proof of Insurance
Pennsylvania requires all drivers hold proof of insurance and is required to register a vehicle and by law enforcement at routine traffic stops. Proof of insurance include an ID card issued by your insurance company, a copy of the declaration page of your insurance, an insurance binder, official letterhead from your insurer that is signed to show insurance coverage or a copy of your Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan application.
If you are found to be driving without insurance there is a minimum $300 fine, possible 3 month suspension of your driver’s license and vehicle registration with restoration fees applicable afterwards, and the possible impoundment of your vehicle.