According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, the law requires Pennsylvania drivers to have insurance that includes bodily injury and property liability coverage, medical benefits, and limited or full tort coverage. If your insurance lapses, your driver’s license could be suspended, and your license plates and registration surrendered to the Department of Transportation. If you commit a driving offense and lack insurance, additional penalties may apply.
Basic Auto Insurance
The basic auto insurance that you must have in Pennsylvania is:
- $5,000 of medical benefits coverage. This coverage pays medical bills for you and others covered under the policy.
- $15,000 per person of bodily injury liability, up to $30,000 per accident. This pays medical rehabilitation for others and other damages for which you may be found liable.
- $5,000 for property damage to another’s property.
- Limited or full tort coverage, which protects your ability to recover damages from the other party.
Drivers may choose to buy coverage above the minimum limits in each category. Drivers also may choose to add coverages such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This provides benefits for bodily injury to you or your passengers if you are in an accident that is the fault of a motorist who lacks adequate insurance.
Other standard coverages you might choose to add include:
- Collision coverage to repair damage to your car in case of an accident.
- Rental reimbursement for providing money toward renting a car while yours is being repaired.
- Comprehensive coverage to repair damage from natural disasters, vandalism, and striking an animal.
- Towing coverage.
- Gap coverage, which provides the difference between what you owe and what you receive if the car is totaled.
Required Insurance Documents
Because insurance is required, you should carry your insurance card with you anytime you are driving your vehicle. You’ll also have to provide proof of insurance to have your vehicle inspected each year. You can prove that you have insurance by showing your card, the policy’s declaration page, the insurance company’s binder or letter stating coverage, a certificate of self-insurance, or an application page to the state’s assigned risk plan according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Any documents from the insurance company should be on letterhead and signed by a company representative.
Your Insurance Card
You must be able to show either a paper or electronic version of your insurance card when requested. If a police officer stops you and you can’t produce the card, you will be cited for failure to have insurance. You also must show the card to register any new vehicle in the state and show either the card or other proof of insurance to have your vehicle inspected.
Automotive insurance fraud occurs anytime someone tries to deceive an insurance company about a vehicle claim. Examples commonly found in Pennsylvania are:
- Staged auto accidents with false injury claims.
- False reports of stolen vehicles.
- Falsely claiming that an accident occurred after the policy was bought.
- False claims for pre-existing damage.
- Concealing that someone not on the policy was driving at the time of the accident.
Insurance fraud is a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
How to Report Fraud to the State
Fraud makes insurance rates higher for everyone, so fighting it is important. If you’re aware of or suspect someone is committing insurance fraud, you can report it by contacting the proper department in the county where you believe it occurred. You can find the proper department by clicking a map on the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority’s Website.
Insurance Journal: Penn. to Allow Electronic Proof of Auto Insurance Coverage
Pennsylvania Department of Insurance: Auto Insurance Guide
Pennsylvania DOT Driver and Vehicle Services: Insurance Overview
Pennsylvania DOT Fact Sheet: Insurance
Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority: About IFPA Fraud
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