Pennsylvania No-Fault Car Insurance Laws #primary #insurance

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Pennsylvania No-Fault Car Insurance Laws

An in-depth look at car insurance laws in Pennsylvania, including the state’s “choice no-fault” system and insurance coverage requirements.

This article offers a quick introduction to car insurance laws and regulations in Pennsylvania. We’ll look at Pennsylvania’s “no-fault” insurance system and the kinds of insurance coverage that drivers are required to carry under Pennsylvania law. If you’re looking for more general information on the legal rules related to auto accidents in Pennsylvania, you’ll find it in our companion article Car Accident Laws in Pennsylvania .

Pennsylvania is a “Choice No Fault” Car Insurance State

Pennsylvania is one of a dozen states (plus the District of Columbia) that uses a “no-fault” system when it comes to financial responsibility for injuries after a car accident. In a no-fault state, a driver usually turns to his or her own insurance policy to get compensation for injuries up to the personal injury protection (PIP) limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

Another wrinkle in Pennsylvania is that drivers have the option of choosing between no-fault insurance and traditional insurance coverage. Going the traditional coverage route means that all options are on the table after a car accident. You can sue the at-fault driver, but you’re also opening yourself up to a lawsuit if you’re to blame for the accident.

If drivers choose no-fault, a liability claim or lawsuit against the other driver can still proceed, but only if the accident involved “serious injury” under state law, which usually means something more than soft tissue injury — and even head injuries don’t tend to qualify unless they’re pretty significant. “Serious injury” in Pennsylvania typically requires serious impairment of a body function or permanent and serious disfigurement, according to recent court decisions in the state.

Keep in mind that the no-fault rules only apply to personal injury; if you have suffered property damage as a result of the accident, the at-fault driver can still be on the financial hook for those losses.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania requires that any operator of a motor vehicle maintain certain minimum amounts of liability insurance on that vehicle. Pennsylvania’s minimum coverage amounts are:

  • $15,000 (per person) personal injury protection for third parties (passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, etc.)
  • $30,000 total per accident personal injury protection for third parties (other motorists and pedestrians)
  • $5,000 per occurrence property damage protection
  • $5,000 in no-fault PIP coverage

In addition, the state also accepts certain all-purpose policies with a minimum of $35,000 total coverage.

While these are the minimum amounts of auto coverage required under Pennsylvania law, you should strongly consider carrying a policy with higher limits.  If you are held liable after an accident and the damages exceed the other party’s PIP limits and the coverage limits of your policy (not all that far-fetched a scenario if you’ve only met Pennsylvania’s relatively low minimum requirements), then you may be personally liable for paying the difference.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in PA

Pennsylvania does not require that motorists purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). UIM is a supplemental feature of your policy that provides protection if you are injured in an accident where the at-fault driver either has no auto insurance at all, or their policy is insufficient to cover your damages. For example, if you have $30,000 in damages above the PIP limit and the other driver carries only the state minimum coverage of $25,000, then your UIM will kick in to pick up the remaining $5,000.

Getting More Information

For more information on Pennsylvania’s motor vehicle insurance requirements straight from the government, see the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s  Automobile Insurance Guide .

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