Every motorist registering a vehicle in the state of Pennsylvania is required to purchase specific types and amounts of auto insurance coverage. These are referred to as the mandatory minimum amount of auto insurance. In fact, if you cancel your auto insurance policy, you can expect the insurance company to notify the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), who will then take action against you.
Having proper auto insurance coverage is crucial, as Pennsylvania follows a fault-based system for car accidents. This means after an accident, the liable party is required to compensate the injury victim for their damages. Without sufficient coverage, liable parties may be at risk for civil liability lawsuits in addition to the criminal penalties they may face for driving without insurance or failure to have sufficient auto insurance coverage.
Mandatory Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in PA
You must have car insurance to legally drive in Pennsylvania. If you’ve just moved to Pennsylvania, you must have at least the state’s minimum insurance to avoid penalties. To stay on the road in the Keystone State, you must have at least the following minimum insurance:
- Bodily injury liability coverage. Bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage compensates car accident victims that suffer severe injuries in a collision. You need to have a minimum of $15,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage per accident in Pennsylvania and $30,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability coverage. Property damage liability (PDL) coverage compensates victims dealing with vehicle and personal property damages after a collision. You need to have a minimum of $5,000 worth of property damage liability coverage to stay on the road in Pennsylvania.
- First-party benefits. “First-party benefits” is a special type of coverage that provides a variety of medical benefits. You must have at least $5,000 worth of first-party benefits as a driver in Pennsylvania.
Optional Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania
Although the previously mentioned types and amounts of auto insurance coverage are required, there are additional types of car insurance you may decide to opt into if you hope to protect yourself against accusations of liability. Some of the most common auto insurance options include:
- Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, which covers you and the passengers in your vehicle if you are hit by a driver who does not have enough auto insurance coverage
- Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage covers you and your passengers if you are hit by a driver who does not have auto insurance
- UM or UIM stacking which allows you to multiply your UIM and UM coverage based on the number of vehicles on your policy
- Loss of income which covers a portion of your lost wages if you are involved in a car accident, without regard to fault
- Funeral benefits, which compensate your surviving family members for your funeral arrangements and burial costs
- Comprehensive, which covers damage to your vehicle from vandalism, hitting a wild animal, floods, fires, or vehicle theft
- Collision, which covers vehicle repair costs in the event of a car accident
- Rental car reimbursement coverage which covers the costs of your rental car after an accident
- Extraordinary medical benefits which provide a maximum of $1 million in coverage for medical expenses that exceed your policy’s bodily injury liability limits
- Towing coverage so you do not have to cover the costs of labor and towing if your vehicle needs to be towed
- Accidental death benefits in the event of a car accident fatality
- Gap insurance, which covers the difference between what you owe on a vehicle in the value of the vehicle if you are financing or leasing
These are only a few examples of the types of auto insurance coverage that you may want to consider purchasing if you hope to protect yourself from financial liability in a car accident. If you were hit by a driver who did not have enough insurance coverage or was uninsured, you may need to explore your options for justice in greater detail with your car accident attorney.
What Happens if You Do Not Comply With PA Car Insurance Requirements?
Our car accident lawyers in Bucks County know that if you are caught driving without the minimum insurance in Pennsylvania, you can face some pretty tough penalties. On your first offense, you can face a fine of $300, have your vehicle impounded, and see your driver’s license suspended for three months. You will also need to pay a $50 restoration fee to regain your driving privileges after your suspension expires.
Of course, these fiscal penalties will pale in comparison to what you will need to pay if you are involved in an accident without insurance, and you injure someone. Do not take the risk — get the minimum coverage you need before you hit the road.
Civil Consequences of Driving Without Auto Insurance Coverage
Motorists that operate without meeting the mandatory minimum auto insurance requirements may be at risk of having a civil claim brought against them. If the motorist that hit you does not have insurance coverage, they may also face sanctions from PennDOT. This might include suspension or revocation of their driver’s license and other fines.
Car accident victims may have the right to take legal action against drivers who do not have any or enough car insurance coverage. Without being able to file a claim with the insurance company, victims do not have the same legal options that may be available to other car accident victims. This means you may need to pursue a civil lawsuit against the driver that hit you.
In doing so, you have the right to seek full reimbursement of your damages. When filing an insurance claim, the insurance company will generally only cover the highest amounts of the policyholder’s policy and only specific types of damages as outlined in the policy. Any damages not included in this policy cannot be recovered through an insurance claim. For this reason, many motorists find themselves being brought to court despite having auto insurance coverage.
Meet With a Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer Today
Unfortunately, not every driver on the road carries the state minimum requirements. If you have been involved in an accident with a driver who was on the road without insurance, you need help from a car accident lawyer in Buck County, PA. After an accident, contact Kalikhman & Rayz LLC. We will have you determine if you have a case and the next best steps.