Auto Insurance 101
If you own a vehicle that is registered in Pennsylvania, you must carry auto insurance — the failure to do so can result in a fine and the suspension of your driver’s license, registration and license plate for up to 90 days. The minimum coverage requirements in PA include:
- Bodily injury liability — $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident: BI coverage protects you if you are found to be legally responsible for an accident that causes injuries to others.
- Property damage liability — $5,000: PD covers damage costs to another person’s property due to an accident you cause.
- Medical benefits — $5,000: First-party medical benefits pay for medical bills incurred by you and others in your vehicle, regardless of fault.
Please note that these are only the minimum coverage requirements. Depending on your financial situation, it may be advisable to choose higher limits. For example, if you own highly valued assets, you may need to consider higher bodily injury limits to minimize the risk of loss if an injured party sues you successfully.
Other available coverages in PA include:
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist — These are typically sold as two separate coverages, with a minimum of $15,000 per person, $30,000 per occurrence: Provides protection if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who has no or insufficient auto insurance. UM/UIM is automatically included in your policy unless you choose to reject it. If you insure multiple vehicles, you can raise your limits by electing to “stack” coverage. For example, if you insure three vehicles and have $100,000/$300,000 coverage, stacking would increase your limits to $300,000/$900,000.
- Physical damage — Pays for damage to your vehicle. Although not mandated by law, the lienholder will likely require you to carry PD when you finance a vehicle. Physical damage coverage includes a deductible, which is the amount you must pay out of your pocket before the insurance takes effect. Carrying higher deductibles will result in lower premiums. Types of physical damage coverage include:
- Collision — Pays for damages sustained by your vehicle due to a collision with another driver.
- Comprehensive — Covers non-accident-related losses and damage such as theft, vandalism, chipped windshields, etc., as well as damages resulting from collisions with deer and other animals.
- Tort — Tort refers to your right to sue an at-fault party for damages. If you choose the limited-tort option, you are generally limited to recovering your out-of-pocket expenses (non-economic expenses) If you elect full tort, you will pay a higher premium, but you will retain your full right to sue for pain and suffering.
- First-party benefits — In addition to mandatory first-party medical coverage, you can also add optional first-party benefits to your policy. Examples include loss of income, accidental death and funeral expenses. Many policyholders elect to purchase first-party benefits as a combination package.
At Reisinger Insurance Agency, Inc., our experienced auto insurance agents will help you explore all your coverage options so you can choose the best protection for your needs and budget. Contact us for more information and a no-obligation auto-insurance quote today.