Pennsylvania Car Insurance Requirements
When it comes to proof of financial security in Pennsylvania, the law requires all drivers to purchase a car insurance policy. The Keystone State is a no-fault state, but they operate under a system known as “choice of no-fault.” The only others states utilizing this system are New Jersey and Kentucky.
Under a choice no-fault system, drivers are allowed to purchase their insurance under one of two options: limited tort or full tort. The limited tort option is less expensive in terms of your monthly insurance premiums, but it limits your rights to sue and the types of damages you’re able to recover when you do sue.
If you choose the full tort option your rights to sue are generally unlimited. You’ll be eligible to receive damage awards of any scope and amount as long as they are handed down by an authorized jury and approved by a judge.
Beyond the tort option, drivers also have to decide whether they want to purchase a basic liability policy or something more. In either case, minimum liability requirements in Pennsylvania are as follows:
- med-pay (covers medical expenses for you and your passengers) – $5,000 per accident
- bodily injury (other drivers and their passengers) – $15,000 per person, per accident; $30,000 max. per accident
- property damage liability (covers property you damage) – $5,000 per accident
You can certainly increase these limits if you deem it necessary. If your insurance company offers the option, you may also combine all three types of coverage is into a single-limit option. But that option must offer a minimum of $35,000 coverage.
Penalties for Breaking the Law
Violating compulsory insurance laws in Pennsylvania comes with severe penalties. For example, if you’re caught driving without insurance you could face a $300 fine, the impounding of your vehicle, a three-month suspension of both registration and driver’s license, and stiff reinstatement fees once the suspension term ends.
In addition, you’re required to furnish proof of your insurance at the time of initial registration, at renewal time, and in a case where you’ve purchased a new policy and canceled an old one. Acceptable of documents include an insurance ID card from your carrier, and insurance binder, a copy of your policies and declarations page, or a signed letter — on official letterhead — from your car insurance provider.
Should you allow your policy to lapse you can avoid all fines and penalties by simply surrendering your plates and registration to PennDOT. As soon as you have a new insurance policy you can apply for a new registration.