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Pennsylvania Car Insurance

Auto Insurance Basics in Pennsylvania

There are over 6 million car accidents annually in recent years in the United States, resulting in over 30,000 fatalities and many, many more serious injuries. Government studies have estimated the total economic cost of vehicular accidents to be in the hundreds of billions dollars. Given the impact on society of serious car crashes, Pennsylvania, like most states, require car owners to carry insurance on their vehicles to help mitigate these burdensome costs.

The five main types of car insurance are liability, comprehensive, collision, personal injury protection and uninsured driver insurance. Each of these products covers a specific segment of risk associated with owning and operating a vehicle. Let’s briefly define each one. In the event that you are responsible for causing an accident, liability insurance will help pay for the injured party’s medical bills and property damage. Liability insurance will not cover any of your own losses. For that, you will need to buy one or more of the remaining four products.

Comprehensive insurance pays for damages to your vehicle from a set of risks outside of your own control such as theft, vandalism, weather related damage, hitting an animal, etc. Collision insurance helps pay for the repairs of your own vehicle for damages resulting in a crash that you are responsible for. Personal injury protection insurance is designed to help pay for any medical bills you incur as a result of being injured in a crash. It works in conjunction with any health insurance you may already carry. Uninsured driver insurance protects you in the the event that a driver who causes you to have injury or property damage has insufficient insurance to cover all of your damages. It also can protect you from injuries or property damage due to a hit and run incident.

Insurance companies can offer you high dollar amounts of coverage (often, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) or more modest amounts coverage. The deeper your coverage, the more you will need to pay in annual premiums. The policies you take out will have a specific maximum payout that is carefully defined in your policy. If the damages resulting from an accident that you are responsible for causing exceeds that maximum amount of your policy, you could potentially be taken to court to make up the difference.

Every policy will also have what’s called a deductible. It is a defined amount of money that you must pay out of your own pocket first before your insurance coverage starts to pay off damages or claims. Deductible levels can typically range from $500 on the low end to a couple of thousand dollars on the high end. Deductible levels influence your premiums in an inverse fashion. In other words, the higher your deductible the lower your premium will be, and vice versa. Auto insurance is a necessary product to protect Pennsylvania car owners and their families from possible financial disaster and most financial advisors would recommend taking out as much insurance protection as you can comfortable afford.

Auto Insurance Requirements in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania uses a variation of the “no fault” model of car insurance. Generally speaking, in a no fault state each driver involved in an accident goes to their own insurance company to pay for medical expenses and any other out of pocket losses. Pennsylvania allows vehicle owners to opt out of certain provisions of the no fault model. Regardless of which model you ultimately choose, the state requires every vehicle to be covered by the following minimum insurance: $15,000 for bodily injury per person per accident up to a total of $30,000, $5,000 for property damage, and $5,000 for the medical costs of yourself or any authorized driver of your car. Although the state requires insurance companies to provide Uninsured/Underinsured coverage to motorists, you are not obligated to take it. You are required to present proof of car insurance in order to register your vehicle.

Average Cost of Coverage in Pennsylvania

The cost of full coverage in Pennsylvania is right in line with the national average of about $1,400 for full liability, collision and comprehensive insurance. Those opting for just bare bones coverage can expect to pay around half of that amount. Be aware that those averages are calculated on middle aged drivers with good credit and a safe driving history. Having an accident or serious moving violation can increase your annual premiums anywhere from $500 to possibly over a thousand dollars. As is typical in the industry, younger drivers and those with poor credit will pay more for insurance in Pennsylvania.

Age Average Premium (yearly)
16 $4,769
17 $4,312
18 $3,809
19 $3,111
20s $1,793
30s $1,389
40s $1,332
50s $1,212
60s $1,241
70s $1,478

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania market is served by a host of national and regional insurance carriers, and consumers can expect to see a broad range of prices for annual insurance coverage. Current or retired members of the nation’s armed forces may be well advised to consider USAA for their car insurance, as cater exclusively to that market segment. For all others, it’s difficult to say who would be the cheapest carrier because there are so many variables in the pricing of auto insurance. But, don’t just look at the national brand names. Smaller, regional carriers like Erie can offer very competitive rates.

Rank Company  Avg. Premium (annual)
1 Travelers $796
2 Erie $977
3 Auto-Owners $981
4 USAA $995
6 Allied $1,334
7 Nationwide $1,338
8 Donegal Mutual $1,441

Unique Car Insurance Rules and Penalties in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania you can opt out of the default model of no fault insurance. In a no fault model your options for pursuing excess damages through the court are limited. You can not receive compensation for such non-monetary losses as pain and suffering. If you choose to opt out of that model in Pennsylvania your policy will likely be more expensive, but you will have broader rights to seek damages in civil court in the event of a serious or debilitating injury.

Violation Avg. Annual Auto Insurance Rate % Insurance Rate Increase $ Insurance Rate Increase
Hit and Run $2,517 81% $1,127
Refused Breathalyzer/Chemical Test $2,079 50% $689
DUI $2,079 50% $689
Racing $2,517 81% $1,127
Reckless Driving $2,464 77% $1,075
Driving with a Suspended License $2,517 81% $1,127
At-Fault Accident $1,671 20% $282
Driving with an Open Container $1,821 31% $431
Operating a Vehicle Without Permission $2,120 53% $730
Passing a School Bus $1,569 13% $179
Improper Passing $1,569 13% $179
Following Too Closely $1,569 13% $179
Speeding $1,568 13% $178
Failure to Stop at a Red Light $1,569 13% $179
Illegal Turn $1,569 13% $179
Driving Wrong Way/Wrong Lane $1,569 13% $179
Failure to Yield $1,569 13% $179
Speeding in a School Zone $1,568 13% $178
Driving Too Slowly $1,568 13% $178
Distracted Driving $1,569 13% $179
Driving with Expired Registration $1,677 21% $287
Failure to Show Documents $1,411 2% $21
Not-at-Fault Accident $1,653 19% $263
Failure to Use Child Safety Restraint $1,406 1% $16
Failure to Wear a Seat Belt $1,406 1% $16
Driving Without Lights $1,394 0% $4

How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in Pennsylvania

If you only target a single carrier for an insurance quote, it is unlikely that you will get the best deal. We recommend getting at least three apples to apples quotes in order to get a sense of who may provide you with the most economical insurance products. Our online tool at General.com is simple and can quickly get you free quotes. Be a smart shopper. Compare and save.

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