Drivers in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania drivers have to deal with snow, ice, road salt, fog, hills, narrow roads, blind curves, and a constant risk of having a crash with an uninsured motorist from a nearby state.
More than in any other states, Pennsylvania drivers need underinsured and uninsured motorist protection that pays for damages to their vehicles when the other party presents a fake insurance card, or leaves them in a hit and run.
Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist In Pennsylvania
Drivers in Pennsylvania every state except New Hampshire are required to carry liability insurance that pays claims of other drivers when they are at fault in a crash. Most states do not, however, require drivers to carry collision insurance that pays for damages to their vehicles in a crash while they are driving or comprehensive insurance that pays for damages to their vehicles when parked.
If you borrow money from a bank to buy your car or you pledge your car to a finance company for cash, they may require you take out underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, but the State of Pennsylvania does not.
That does not mean it is not a good idea.
Motorists in Pittsburgh have to contend with numerous driving hazards, including crashes with cars driven by residents of Ohio and West Virginia who do not carry insurance. Since New Jersey allowed its car insurance companies to raise their rates in 2009, drivers in Philadelphia face the same problem from uninsured drivers from New Jersey.
And even “fully insured” Pennsylvania drivers who carry just $5,000 in property damage coverage can do a lot more damage to your car than the $5,000 their insurance companies will pay—and you just can’t collect money from them that they don’t have.
Taking out underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage pays for the damage to your car or truck that the other party will not. It usually costs just a few dollars a month but it can make the difference between replacing your wrecked car with a new model or trying to find a car that runs for $5,000 or less—while still having to make the payments on your wrecked vehicle.
Gap Insurance in Pennsylvania
Of course, sometimes it is not another motorist who causes damage to your car. Sometimes “things happen” so that there is not another motorist who is at fault. Sometimes a driver will careen into your car and just drive away, hit and run. If you don’t have enough insurance to pay for damages to your car or to replace your car, you can get into big financial trouble fast. Pennsylvania drivers can avoid financial catastrophes when they damage their cars with gap insurance.
Gap insurance pays what you owe on your car when it has been totaled or damaged so that it is worth less than the balance on your loan. Gap insurance is especially important when you buy with a low down payment or you are leasing your car. In Pennsylvania, insurance companies will pay only the Blue Book value of your car. If you have high mileage on your car, or if it is an older car, you can easily owe more on your car than insurance will pay. Gap insurance will make up the difference.
Is 30/15/5 Enough in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania drivers can operate their cars lawfully with just 30/15/5 liability coverage ($15,000 for a single death or injury, $30,000 for death or injury to more than one person, and $5,000 for property damage). In Pennsylvania, whether your personal finances can survive an accident with that level of insurance depends on making the right choices in your insurance policy.
Pennsylvania allows drivers to buy auto insurance under either a “full tort” or “limited tort” liability system. In the “full tort” system, you are covered for high-dollar damages to other drivers and you can collect high-dollar damages for yourself. In the “limited tort” liability system, your insurance will pay for demonstrated physical damages to the other driver’s car or property and physically identifiable medical expenses, like a broken bone or having to get a cut stitched up. However, that’s all you would get after a crash, too.
Do I Really Have to have Car Insurance in PA?
Yes. You really do have to be insured in Pennsylvania. If you need to compare Pennsylvania auto insurance let Insurantly help. If you are caught driving without current 30/15/5 liability coverage, you will have to pay a $300 fine. You will lose your driver’s license for three months. The registration of your car will be canceled for three months, and during that time, no one, not even your spouse who needs to drive to work or your child who needs to drive to school, may use your vehicle.
You will have to pay $50 to get your driver’s license reinstated and another $50 to get your registration reinstated, and you will have to go to the DMV to do the paperwork in person. And of course, you will have to buy new insurance—at 20% to 30% higher rates—before you do.
Don’t try to drive without valid auto insurance in Pennsylvania. It’s a lot less expensive to get the coverage the law requires so you can keep your license and keep your car.