Pennsylvania Car Insurance Guide
Pennsylvania car insurance isn’t simple. When you’re buying insurance, you have a ton of decisions to make: Full tort or limited tort? First party medical expense benefits or a combination package? If you have no idea what these terms mean, you’re not alone. We’ll explain them and guide you through the process of getting the best insurance you can afford.
If this is too much to read, here’s the short version: The easiest way to find cheap car insurance in PA is to get personalized quotes on Compare.com. It’s free. It’s fast. It works!
What are the PA auto insurance requirements?
If you’re a Pennsylvania driver, you need:
- $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $30,000 per accident. If someone gets hurt in an accident you’re legally liable for, bodily injury liability can pay for their medical treatment and damages
- $5,000 in property damage liability, which pays for damage to other people’s property (like their cars) in an accident you’re responsible for
- $5,000 in first party medical expense benefits. These benefits can pay medical bills for you and other people covered on your policy, no matter who’s at fault in an accident
What’s the difference between limited tort and full tort?
When you’re shopping for PA auto insurance, you’ll be given a choice between full tort and limited tort. Full tort means you retain your right to sue the person at fault, without restrictions, when you’re hurt in an accident.
Limited tort means you give up your right to sue for pain and suffering if you’re hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault. You still can sue for unpaid medical bills, lost wages and property damage. There are exceptions to limited tort: If you suffer a “serious injury,” which means death, disfigurement or an impairment of body function, you may still be able to sue. Or, if the person who hits you is convicted of a DUI, you can sue. (Here are all the limited tort exceptions in PA law.)
Should I choose limited tort or full tort?
Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, a series of experiments — called the Stanford marshmallow experiments — studied delayed gratification in children. A little kid was given a marshmallow and a choice: they could eat the treat now, or if they could wait 15 minutes, they would get two treats. Of course, a few kids just stuffed the first marshmallow in their mouths. Of the rest, about a third were able to hold out long enough to earn a second.
Pennsylvania car insurance is kind of like that. You can save money on your insurance now — usually around 15 percent — if you opt for limited tort, but choosing full tort can benefit your future finances in a big way, if you’re hurt in an accident. Personal injury attorneys recommend you always choose the full tort option (no surprise, right?) If you need convincing, read these limited tort horror stories about people who were injured and couldn’t get compensation.
What are first party combination package benefits?
You know what a combo package is at Disney World, but what does it mean for Pennsylvania car insurance? Basically, it’s a package of different types of optional coverage that protect you if you’re hurt or killed in an accident, including:
- Income loss: Helps pay for lost wages for you and your passengers. Usually the limit is 80 percent of lost earnings up to $50,000
- Funeral: This pays up to $2,500 for funeral expenses for you or a passenger
- Accidental death: Pays a beneficiary when a covered person dies in an accident
- Extraordinary medical benefits: A maximum of $1 million in coverage when your medical and rehabilitation expenses exceed $100,000
Why does it matter how often I drive to New York or New Jersey?
When you use Compare.com to get PA auto insurance quotes, you’ll notice one odd question: “How many days a week do you drive to NJ and/or NY in this vehicle?” Insurance companies need to know this, because your risk of getting in an accident increases if you commute to those states. It makes sense: The more hours you spend in the car each day, the higher the likelihood of a crash. Also, New Jersey and New York rank first and third, respectively, in the list of the most expensive cities for auto insurance.
How do I find the cheapest car insurance in PA?
The best way to find a policy you can afford is to compare PA auto insurance quotes side by side. To comparison-shop on Compare.com, you just have to enter some basic information, such as your address, your occupation and your vehicle. Then, we’ll ask you to select a level of coverage: state minimum, Basic, Plus or Premium.
People looking for super-cheap PA car insurance can choose state minimum coverage. This is insurance that that meets Pennsylvania’s minimum requirements: 15/30/5 plus $5,000 in first party medical expense benefits. This minimum coverage is limited tort, however, and includes nothing extra: no uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage and no collision/comprehensive coverage. Basically, it’s the cheapest PA car insurance you can find.
Should I carry more than the Pennsylvania state minimum insurance?
We definitely recommend carrying more than the minimum, if you can afford it. Car insurance may feel like an unnecessary expense, but it’s there to protect you in case of an accident. And in PA, the state minimum insurance is pretty skimpy. There’s a good chance of exceeding your limits for bodily injury and property damage if you cause an accident, and that means you can be on the hook for the rest.
Compare.com makes it really easy to compare quotes for different levels of PA auto insurance coverage. The Basic Package adds 15/30 uninsured motorist bodily injury, as well as collision and comprehensive. The Plus Package gives you much higher coverage limits: 50/100/50 for bodily injury and property damage, 50/100 for UMBI, and $50,000 in first party combination package benefits. You also get full tort, lower deductibles for collision/comprehensive, and rental car/towing benefits. The Premium Package raises the limits even more.
We ran the numbers for a 27-year-old woman with a good driving record, and her lowest quotes (when she opted to pay up front) were:
- $52 per month for state minimum coverage
- $96 per month for Basic coverage
- $130 per month for Plus coverage
- $136 per month for Premium coverage
Your personalized quotes will be different, of course. Insurance quotes often vary by hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so it’s important to compare. You can also customize your coverages: increase or decrease your deductibles, add or delete towing and rental car coverage, and choose specific limits for different aspects of your coverage.
What happens if I don’t have Pennsylvania insurance?
If you have a brief lapse in your car insurance (less than 31 days) and you don’t drive your car, you may be OK. Otherwise, you’re in trouble. If you drive without insurance in Pennsylvania, your registration and license will be suspended for three months, unless you pay a $500 civil penalty plus a restoration fee. If police catch you on the road without insurance, you’ll also get hit with at least a $300 fine for driving uninsured.
Ready to start comparing cheap Pennsylvania car insurance quotes? Let’s go!