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Pennsylvania Car Insurance Requirements
by Doug Cohen

With the cost of car insurance rising, itís important to comparison shop for cheaper car insurance. But before you do, be sure to know what is required. Thatís why we provide this page as a helpful resource for anyone looking to buy car insurance on the internet.

So what exactly is the Mandatory Auto Insurance Law for Pennsylvania?

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Pennsylvania law requires all residents, whether in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, or somewhere in between, to have a car insurance liability policy of at least the required minimum limits, although InstantCarInsurance.com strongly urges consumers to buy higher limits. What are those minimum required limits in the Quaker State?

Under Pennsylvania law, you are only required to carry car insurance liability limits of 15/30/5. What does this mean? It means:
$15,000 per person, for bodily injury or death you cause
$30,000 per accident, for bodily injury or death, and
$5,000 per accident, for damage to anotherís property, usually their car (which is not much protection).

All motor vehicles subject to registration such as cars, vans, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, trucks and buses must have liability insurance. You are only in compliance with the law if you have liability insurance in the following amounts:

  • $15,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident
  • $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person in an accident
  • $5,000 for damage to property of another person

Your insurance company sends you an insurance identification (ID) card valid for only the period for which coverage has been paid. Always carry your insurance ID card in your vehicle. (see below for more)

Failure to maintain liability insurance on a registered vehicle may result in a three month suspension of your vehicle registration privilege.

Proof of Insurance

Pennsylvania law requires all Pennsylvania car owners to at least maintain liability insurance (see above) on all cars currently registered. This auto liability insurance should cover property damage or injuries which you may cause others in an accident.

A lapse of your carís liability insurance may result in a suspension of your car registration privilege for three months, unless the lapse of insurance was for a period of less than 31 days and the owner or registrant proves to Pennsylvania DOT that the vehicle was not operated during this short lapse in coverage. If Pennsylvania DOT determines that you operated your vehicle without the required insurance, your driver's license will also be suspended for three months. The registration plate, sticker, card and driver's license must be surrendered to PennDOT in order to serve the suspension. Restoration fees of $50.00 and proof of insurance must be submitted prior to having either registration or driving privileges returned.

If youíre stopped by a Pennsylvania law enforcement officer, you must present a Pennsylvania Evidence of Insurance card showing that the car is insured. Your Pennsylvania car insurance company must provide you with this card when they issue or renew your car insurance liability policy. Any time you request it, the insurance company must provide you this card or temporary proof of insurance for each car covered under your policy and if you purchase your insurance from InstantCarInsurance.com or Ensurance.com you can also print your ID cards online instantly, anytime of day, and for free, directly from your insurance company's server.

The insurance ID card includes the name of the car insurance company, the insurance policy number, and the insurance policy effective and expiration dates. It also includes a description of the insured car(s) and/or the name of the insured driver.

Please note that insurance companies are required to notify PennDOT when an insurance policy is cancelled by the insured. Insurance companies are NOT required by law to notify PennDOT when a vehicle owner acquires a new insurance policy with the same or different insurance company. It is the vehicle owner's responsibility to notify PennDOT of the new insurance after receiving a proof letter from PennDOT. Failure to respond to PennDOT's proof letter will result in the suspension of the vehicle registration. A suspension may be avoided by the return of the registration plate, sticker and card to PennDOT at the time the insurance policy is cancelled or financial responsibility lapses. Registration plates, stickers and cards must be received by PennDOT no more than 30 days after insurance was cancelled. Registration plates, stickers and cards received by PennDOT after 30 days will result in a three-month registration suspension. To surrender the registration plate, sticker and card, mail them to:

Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Return Tag Unit
P.O. Box 68597
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597.

Important: Any vehicle which is currently registered MUST have insurance (financial responsibility). Customers should always surrender their registration plate to PennDOT when insurance is not in effect, even if the vehicle is in for repairs or being stored and not being driven. Otherwise a suspension of the registration may occur.

So you don't want to mess around when it comes to car insurance in Pennsylvania and always keep a current (up to date) proof of Pennsylvania auto insurance id card in the car with you at all times.

One more word of advice; you are not required to carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage (which protects you, your passengers, and you car) in the event you are struck by an uninsured driver. This becomes especially important given that the neighboring State of New York has no mandatory auto insurance requirements. Keep that in mind when considering how much and what types of car insurance coverage you may need.

How to Find the Best Auto Insurance Rates in Pennsylvania?

It is very important to comparison shop for the best coverage in Pennsylvania at the lowest rates. Let's face it; Pennsylvania auto insurance is not cheap anymore! But there are many online resources that provide free quotes from licensed Pennsylvania insurance companies approved by the Pennsylvania BMV. If you think you may be paying too much for auto insurance, Pennsylvania residents can save time and money by comparing car insurance quotes quickly and anonymously between all the top name auto insurance carriers simply by logging on to InstantCarInsurance.com.

Just remember, the State of Pennsylvania requires minimum car insurance limits of 15/30/5 as long as you have a valid Pennsylvania car registration. Keep this in mind when shopping for basic coverage and evaluate it against car insurance quotes with higher coverage limits for a little more money. Cheap car insurance is not always the best car insurance; and buying the lowest limits may not always be the smartest thing either. Hey, if the budget is tight, we understand. Weíve all been there. And in that case, buying something is better than driving with nothing. But do look at different quotes and just compare to see if you can afford it. Often the cost to double your coverage is a lot less than you think.

One last tip: Shop and shop often! Why? Most people do not realize that insurance companies change rates continuously and typically re-post the new rates twice monthly. Therefore we recommend coming back to this site and re-rating your cars on the 1st and the 16th of each month just to be sure you are still getting the best deal, the rock-bottom, downright lowest, cheapest price you can on car insurance! Why not? Itís free.

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