Dan Williams: Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania
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Traffic crashes cost billions each year. That’s why each state requires its drivers to carry some amount of mandatory pa car insurance. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania mandates that its drivers meet its insurance requirements through compulsory auto liability insurance in order to operate a vehicle. Through mandatory liability insurance the state of Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PennDOT) can be certain that drivers have the means of managing any expenses involved should they get into a traffic crash. Drivers can also become self-insured as a way of establishing the state’s requirement that one show financial responsibility.
In order to be considered legally compliant, any driver who owns a registered vehicle in Pennsylvania must have a liability policy with the following minimum coverage:
• Drivers must carry $15,000 of coverage for injury or death to one person in a single traffic accident.
• Drivers must carry $30,000 of coverage for injuries or deaths to more than one person in a single traffic accident.
• Drivers must carry $5,000 of property damage coverage.
The coverage outlined above is the minimum requirement. Each driver should make an assessment of his or her individual needs and determine whether this minimum is sufficient. Drivers should be aware that the minimum amount of liability coverage does not protect the individual from being sued in the event of a traffic accident. Neither does liability insurance cover costs associated with the at-fault driver’s injuries or any expense incurred through damage to the at-fault driver’s property.
If a driver decides the minimum mandatory coverage does not meet his or her needs, then supplemental insurance can be purchased. Rates vary greatly so taking the time to obtain various insurance quotes is advisable. There are several online auto insurance quote engines that are free and allow you to compare cost of coverage offered by multiple carriers.
Should a driver chose to become self-insured, there are certain requirements that must be met. Drivers must submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation an application for self-insurance, a master self-insurance and security agreement, and a balance sheet and income statement. In addition, a security deposit of $50,000 for one vehicle and $10,000 for each additional vehicle must be provided. The security deposit can be in the form of cash, bonds, treasury bills, or another approved form of collateral.
Once drivers obtain the required insurance, they must provide proof of insurance to the state of Pennsylvania. Acceptable proof may be an insurance identification card, an insurance binder, or a letter from your insurer showing your current coverage. Any letter used as proof of insurance must also be signed by your insurance agent or insurance company’s representative.
Again, the state of Pennsylvania requires, by law, that the minimum insurance coverage be met by all drivers with a registered vehicle. If you are unable to provide proof that you have obtain the mandatory minimum amounts of insurance, you will face penalties ranging from monetary fines to possible suspension of your driver license.