Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Pennsylvania Car Insurance Shopper's Guide - PA Auto Insurance Basics
How does one find the best Pennsylvania car insurance? What are some of the cheapest auto insurance companies in Pennsylvania? What are the PA minimum auto insurance coverage requirements? What are some things to look for when comparing Pennsylvania car insurance rates? How does one find Pennsylvania rental car insurance - and should it even be purchased in the first place? These are all key questions for PA residents that are of legal driving age. Read on to learn some of the PA auto insurance basics and see if maybe you can end up saving yourself some money in the process!Pennsylvania No Fault Auto Insurance LawsThe state of Pennsylvania uses a no-fault system in regards to car accidents. This means that your insurance company will pay your injury claim regardless of who was at fault in the event of an accident. Since no-fault laws vary from state to state and can change over the years, you might want to call or visit the website of the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance if you have any questions.PA Car Insurance Minimum Coverage RequirementsUnder Pennsylvania law, you are required to have bodily injury coverage in a minimum amount of $15,000 per person, up to $30,000 per accident. Bodily injury insurance will cover such things as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any legal defense costs you may incur as a result of an accident.Pennsylvania also requires that you carry a minimum of $5,000 worth of property damage liability car insurance. Property damage coverage will pay for damage to another person's property such as a fence, house, or car, as well as any legal costs that may arise from that damage.Personal injury protection, or PIP, is required by Pennsylvania state law as well. There are different levels of personal injury coverage available, but the minimum amount required is $5,000. Pennsylvania calls the minimum amount required First Party Benefits-Medical. If you are in an accident, this coverage will pay for related medical and surgical expenses, rehabilitative services, such as physical therapy, any necessary dental, psychiatric, and optometric expenses, ambulance and nursing services, and required medications, medical supplies and prosthetic devices. The policy will only provide benefits to you, any other drivers listed on the policy, and any relatives living in the same home as you.PA Tort LawsIn Pennsylvania, you must choose a tort option. A tort option defines your right to compensation if you, or any members of your household, are injured by another driver in a car accident.The limited right to recover damages, or limited tort, provides limited benefits. While you will be covered for all medical and other expenses as a result of an accident, you will not be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering, or other non-monetary damages unless your injuries are serious, such as a life long disability or death. If you choose the limited tort option, your premiums for property damage, full first party benefits, and income loss coverage will be lower than if you choose the full tort option.If you opt for the full tort coverage, your rights to recover financial compensation are not restricted. Under full tort, not only will you and other members of your family be able to recover damages for medical and other expenses, but you can seek full financial compensation for pain and suffering, and other damages for injuries you received that were caused by another driver in an accident. If you choose the limited tort option, your premiums for property damage, full first party benefits, and income loss coverage will not be reduced.Optional PA Auto Insurance Coverage Optional liability coverage in Pennsylvania includes first party extraordinary medical coverage. This type of coverage may give you and any members of your family medical benefit coverage in an amount up to $1,000,000. If you choose this coverage, it will take effect once the limit for your medical expenses has been reached under your personal injury protection insurance.First party income loss coverage will pay you up to 80 percent of your lost earnings if you are unable to work after being injured in an accident. This coverage is limited to $2,500 per month with a cap of $50,000.You may also personal the optional first party accidental death car insurance coverage. This type of coverage will provide a death benefit of up to $25,000 if you or a member of your family living in your home dies from injuries sustained in an accident for a period of 2 years after the accident occurred. The $25,000 will only be paid to the designated beneficiary that you will name at the time you purchase this coverage.First party funeral coverage is another car insurance coverage option you can choose in the state of Pennsylvania. This policy will pay $2,500 toward any funeral expenses if you or a member of your family living in the same household dies as a result of a car accident.While not required under Pennsylvania law, you may want to also purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) bodily injury coverage. This will pay for any expenses such as medical, lost wages, injuries sustained in a hit-and-run, and other general damages in the event you are injured by another driver who is either underinsured or uninsured.You can also purchase the optional uninsured motorist bodily injury car stacking policy. This option will let you increase the limits for uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This coverage will, however, increase your car insurance premium.In addition to all the liability insurance options available in Pennsylvania, you may want to purchase some type of vehicle coverage such as collision, comprehensive, emergency road service, rental car limits, loan/lease gap coverage, and customized equipment policies.Collision coverage will pay for repair or replacement cost of your car if it has struck another car, object, or has rolled over. Collision coverage cannot be purchased without purchasing comprehensive coverage as well.Comprehensive coverage will pay for damage from such things as falling objects, fire, certain natural disasters, vandalism, theft, glass damage, and damage caused if you hit an animal.If you have a loan on your car, or lease your car, the bank or other financial institution may require you to have both collision and comprehensive coverage on your car.Customized equipment coverage will pay for any special equipment permanently installed on your car, truck, or van such as running boards, brush bars, roll bars, fog lights, bed liners, etc. You can only purchase customized equipment coverage if you have both comprehensive and collision coverage as well.The optional loan/lease gap insurance available in Pennsylvania will cover the actual cash value of you car at the time of loss, and any greater amount owed at the time of the loss, if your car gets damaged in an accident. This does not include any deductible, unpaid finance charges, excess mileage, or wear and tear charges, and any payment under this type of coverage will not exceed 25 percent of the actual cash value of your car at the time of the loss.Pennsylvania High Risk Car Insurance The state of Pennsylvania also has an Assigned Risk Plan. This program offers high risk Pennsylvania car insurance to drivers who are not able to get certain types of coverage. You may need to use this plan because of your driving record, type of car you own, or if you have an unavailable motor vehicle record.Pennsylvania Rental Car InsuranceMany PA drivers agonize over whether they should purchase rental car insurance. While it is true that your regular PA auto insurance policy will travel with you and cover you even while driving a rental car it is important to make sure that your regular auto insurance policy has all of the coverage that you will want while driving the rental. For example, if you have a very bare bones regular Pennsylvania auto insurance policy then you may want to consider purchasing the rental car insurance.Finding The Cheapest Pennsylvania Auto Insurance CompanyWhile no one PA car insurance company is the cheapest for everyone it is certainly true that PA has a number of top auto insurance companies. Here is a listing of some of the best:AIGSF InsuranceAllstateEsuranceProgressive DirectGEICOLiberty MutualBe sure and compare rates from at least 5 different companies in order to find the best policy for your needs.Compare Pennsylvania Car Insurance Quotes OnlineWith all the options for car insurance available in Pennsylvania, it may be wise to shop around online for the best rates and coverage. You might want to do a side-by-side comparison of rates, and services available at several different car insurance companies. A little time and research may save you hundreds of dollars on your car insurance policy in the state of Pennsylvania.