When purchasing automobile insurance, it’s crucial to remember one important thing: full coverage is not good coverage. Do not be fooled by this term. We recommend you review our guidelines before making a decision about how much or what type of insurance to purchase.
Pennsylvania’s Required Coverage
When you purchase automobile insurance for your car, there are certain coverages that are required and others that are optional. The required coverages are:
Medical Benefits. This pays medical bills for you and others who are covered by your policy, regardless of fault. The minimum limit is $5,000 of coverage. Higher limits are available.
Bodily Injury Liability. If you injure someone in a car accident, this coverage pays for any medical bills not paid by the victim’s own insurance, compensation for his pain and suffering, compensation for lost wages, and any other damages for which you may be found liable. The minimum limit is $15,000/$30,000. The $15,000 pays for injuries to one person; the $30,000 represents the total available for one accident. Higher limits are available.
Property Damage Liability. If you damage someone’s property in an accident and you are at fault, this coverage pays for that damage. The minimum limit is $5,000 of coverage. Higher limits are available. Some companies offer a single limit of $35,000, which meets the bodily injury liability and property damage minimum requirements.
Pennsylvania’s Optional Coverage
In addition, private passenger automobile insurance policies offer a variety of optional coverages that can be purchased. These include:
Uninsured Motorist (UM). This coverage applies to you, your family, and your passengers for bodily injury if you are hit by an at-fault uninsured motorist. This does not cover damage to property.
Underinsured Motorist (UIM). This coverage applies to you, your family, and your passengers for bodily injury if you are hit by an at-fault motorist who does not have enough insurance to cover your claim. This does not cover damage to property.
Stacking of UM or UIM. This coverage allows you to either multiply the amount of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage by the number of vehicles on your policy or to receive uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage from more than one policy under which you are insured. It costs extra to stack uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Funeral Benefit. This coverage pays, up to a certain amount, money for funeral expenses if you or a family member dies as a result of an auto accident.
Income Loss. This coverage pays a portion of your lost wages when injuries sustained in an auto accident keep you from working.
Collision. This benefit pays to repair damage to your car as a result of an accident. Most banks or lenders require you to buy this coverage to receive a car loan. Under Pennsylvania law, the insurance company applies a $500 deductible unless you request a lower amount. Generally speaking, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium is.
Comprehensive. Generally, this pays for theft or damage to your car from hazards including fire, flood, vandalism, or striking an animal. Most banks or lenders require you to buy this coverage to receive a car loan. There are various levels of deductible that may be purchased.
Extraordinary Medical Benefits. This coverage pays for medical and rehabilitation expenses that exceed $100,000. It provides a maximum of $1 million of coverage.
Accidental Death Benefit. This is a benefit paid to the personal representative of an insured party if the bodily injury from a motor vehicle accident results in death within 24 months of the date of the accident.
Rental Reimbursement Coverage. This pays for an individual’s expenses, up to the limit on his policy, to rent a vehicle if he has a covered comprehensive or collision loss.
Towing Coverage. This reimburses an individual, up to the limit on his policy, for towing and labor costs for a covered disabled vehicle. This coverage is usually only available if comprehensive and collision are carried on the vehicle.
Gap Coverage. This pays the difference between what the insurance company pays for a totaled vehicle and the balance of the vehicle loan or lease contract. This coverage is usually only available when an individual is purchasing or leasing a new vehicle.