If you own a vehicle in Pennsylvania, chances are you know you need to purchase some kind of car insurance. What most people do not know is that the law requires you to purchase a minimum of three types of insurance. If you are purchasing insurance or just reviewing your current coverage for gaps, it helps to know Pennsylvania’s minimum car insurance coverage requirements so you can get what you need.
As stated above, the law requires motorists to have at least three types of insurance. They are:
- Medical Benefits
- Bodily Injury Liability
- Property Damage Liability
To better explain these three types of insurance, let us imagine that you are involved in an automobile accident. You and your passenger collide with another vehicle, causing damage to your vehicle and injuries to you and your passenger.
Medical benefits insurance covers medical expenses. This is a first-party benefit, which means that it is for your benefit. This is the only one of the three required types of insurance that actually covers you as the insured.
Note: Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, your insurance company will pay your medical bills up to the coverage amount set in your policy.
Referring back to our example above, the medical benefits coverage would cover your medical bills and the medical bills of anyone covered in your policy. Your insurance company would pay for any doctor visits, medications, and any other treatment you receive for injuries caused by the accident up to the limit of coverage on your policy.
The minimum coverage limit required by Pennsylvania law is $5,000 but you can purchase extra coverage [75 Pa. C.S. § 1711].
Bodily Injury Liability
Unlike medical benefits coverage, bodily injury liability is for the benefit of the people in the other vehicle. If you are at fault for the accident, your insurance company may need to pay for the medical expenses, physical therapy and, pain and suffering of the other driver and their passengers.
The law requires drivers carry a bodily injury policy with minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. If you are at fault for an accident and you injure the other driver and his passenger, your insurer will cover their injuries up to the limit of your policy. If the driver suffered $15,000 in damages and the passenger suffered $20,000, you may be on the hook to pay the $5,000 difference [75 Pa. C.S. § 1702].
Property Damage Liability
Property damage is also for the benefit of other drivers. As it sounds, property damage liability covers the property of third parties damaged by your negligent driving. This obviously includes the damage caused to the other driver’s vehicle if the accident was your fault. It also includes other property, such as whatever cargo was in the vehicle and any damage to buildings, fences, trees, etc.
The minimum coverage for property damage liability is $5,000. If the damage to the other driver’s personal property exceeds your policy, you may be responsible for that amount [75 Pa. C.S. § 1702].
Full Tort Versus Limited Tort Coverage
Pennsylvania law also requires motorists purchasing insurance to choose either full tort coverage or limited tort coverage. The coverage you choose will affect the compensation you may be entitled to receive after an accident.
While medical benefits, bodily injury liability, and property damage liability are the only three types of insurance that Pennsylvania requires drivers have, there are several other types of insurance that are optional. These include uninsured motorist insurance, underinsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.
Check Your Policy Before an Accident
Be sure to check your policy now before it is too late. Remember that even if you have all the required coverage, you may not have full coverage. If you get into an accident and only have minimum medical payments insurance coverage, you could be paying for a lot out-of-pocket. You might think $5,000 sounds like a lot of money for your injuries, but just remember that injury costs can add up quickly and you could be stuck paying thousands of dollars.