Auto insurance is tricky. We know we need it, but how much do we need to
be "fully covered"?
When purchasing auto insurance in Pennsylvania, your insurance company
may tell you that you are "fully covered" if you buy the minimum
coverage required by state law. However, minimum coverage may leave you
severely under-protected if you are injured in an accident. Make sure
you are fully covered now, or you may find out the hard way that you do
not have adequate protection.
The state of Pennsylvania requires motorists to carry a minimum of $15,000
in liability insurance to pay for bodily injuries caused to other drivers
in a motor vehicle accident. If you carry the minimum coverage of $15,000
per person and $30,000 per accident, your insurance company will pay a
maximum of $15,000 to each person you injured in the accident, and no
more than $30,000 total for any one accident, regardless of how many people
Pennsylvania drivers are also required to carry property damage liability,
which covers damages caused to another person's property when an accident
is your fault. Your insurance company is obligated to pay up to the amount
of coverage you purchased. The Pennsylvania state minimum for property
damage coverage is $5,000.
Medical payments coverage (or personal injury protection) is another required
coverage in Pennsylvania. It is the first line of defense in paying for
the medical expenses of you, and potentially anyone in your car who is
injured, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. The minimum
coverage required in Pennsylvania is $5,000, but you have the option to
purchase more to protect you and your family.
After all is said and done, you may have purchased the minimum auto insurance
coverage required by law and received a pretty good deal on your premium.
So, why might you want to consider carrying more than just the bare minimum?
We strongly recommend purchasing uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage,
which is optional in the state of Pennsylvania, and here’s why:
Let’s say you are hit by someone running a red light. You suffer
catastrophic injuries resulting in tens or even hundreds of thousands
of dollars in medical bills, but the person who hit you was “underinsured”
and carried only the state minimum bodily injury coverage of $15,000 at
the time of the accident. If you do not have underinsured motorist coverage,
the amount of insurance money available from the other driver will not
even come close to covering your medical expenses, let alone your pain
However, if you are protected by underinsured motorist coverage, you will
be able to bring a claim against your own insurance company in order to
recover money for your medical bills, loss of income, etc. Similarly,
if you have uninsured motorist coverage your insurance company will pay
medical bills and lost wages if you are in an accident caused by a driver who has
no liability insurance to cover these expenses. (Yes, it is illegal to drive
without liability insurance, but people still do it). Your insurance company
will pay up to the limits you chose when you bought the policy.
Pennsylvania Superior Court case
Suk An v. Victoria Fire illustrates yet another reason why it is important to purchase underinsured
and uninsured motorist benefits to protect yourself in case of an accident.
In this particular case, the Superior Court upheld that a person can pay
a cheaper premium to insure only him or herself as the driver of the covered
vehicle (also known as a “Named Driver Only” policy). This
means that if “the named driver” lets somebody drive the covered
vehicle and that person gets into an accident, the insurance company can
deny coverage for any claims arising from the incident.
Car Accident Attorneys Serving Clients Throughout Pennsylvania
No one purchases insurance with the intention of getting into a crash.
But unfortunately auto accidents are common, and it’s best to be
prepared for a worst case scenario. The auto accident attorneys at Metzger
Wickersham have decades of experience dealing with insurance companies.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, we can guide you through
all steps of the aftermath. We will evaluate available insurance coverage
and help you maximize your recovery. Let us put our 130 years of experience
to work for you. Contact us today at
(888) 286-2850 to schedule a free consultation.