With a struggling economy many people’s budgets are stretched thin. As a result, some drivers are undoubtedly considering driving without car insurance to give themselves a little breathing room. But are there any consequences to getting caught without car insurance in Pennsylvania? We did a deep dive to find out.
Pennsylvania car insurance laws
Pennsylvania state law requires all drivers to have insurance. The minimum amount of insurance you must have in Pennsylvania is 15/30/5. This means that if you get into an accident, your insurance provider must cover up to:
- $15,000 per person for bodily injury/ death
- $30,000 per accident for bodily injury/ death
- $5,000 per accident for property damage
In addition, Pennsylvania also requires all drivers to have a small amount for their own personal injuries (called medical benefits coverage). Pennsylvania requires all drivers to have at least $5,000.
Pennsylvania is unique in that it is among a small handful of states that are no-fault states. If you get into an accident, your insurance is responsible for your medical costs and lost wages – no matter who caused the crash.
However, Pennsylvania is even more unique in that you can choose to opt-out of fault-based insurance if you want. This means you can choose, when initially signing up for insurance, to have the option to sue an at-fault driver for emotional distress as well as pain and suffering if you get into an accident.
A full tort policy (or at-fault policy) is more expensive than a limited tort policy (or no-fault policy). If it sounds unusual, there is a rhyme and reason for limited tort policies. They were created to both lower insurance costs and decrease frivolous lawsuits, which they’ve done, but they do limit your options if you are hurt in a serious car accident.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has a variety of penalties for driving without insurance. They are:
- A minimum of a $300 fine.
- Suspension of your vehicle’s registration for 3 months and a restoration fee of $76 after the fact. Vehicle registration suspension means that no one, including you, may drive the car.
- Suspension of your driver’s license for 3 months as well as a restoration fee of $76 after the fact.
It’s possible to prevent a vehicle registration suspension by paying a civil penalty fee of $500. This will prevent you from having to wait three months to drive your car. However, you will still have to pay a restoration fee with PennDOT. Currently, the restoration fee is the same amount as if you had waited 3 months— meaning $76.
Getting into an accident without insurance
If you get into an accident without insurance in Pennsylvania, the first thing that is going to happen is you will be given a ticket for no insurance. Once you appear in court, the judge will most likely suspend both your driver’s license and your vehicle registration, as well as fine you $300.
Next, if you are found at fault and are taken to court, you will be responsible for any property damage and injuries you caused. Moneywise, this translates to tens of thousands of dollars. If you don’t have that kind of money, your assets will be liquidated— meaning if you have a home or another car, they will be sold as compensation to the injured party.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance in Pennsylvania?
Deciding which company offers ‘the best’ car insurance in Pennsylvania is actually a lot harder than it may sound. This is because every driver has different needs and wants. You may need specific coverage, certain discounts, and, of course, a premium that fits into your budget. For an in-depth dive into this very subject, please read our Best Car Insurance Companies in Pennsylvania page.
Does Pennsyvlania have a high amount of uninsured drivers?
No, it doesn’t. In fact, Pennsylvania is the ninth lowest state for uninsured drivers in the nation. As of the Insurance Information Institute’s latest study, Pennsylvania only had an 8% uninsured driver rate.
Does Pennsylvania have a lot of licensed drivers?
Pennsylvania is the 5th most populated state in the United States, so yes it does. With a population of 12,802,503 people, 8,942,967 of that amount are licensed to drive. This means that approximately 70% of Pennsylvanians are on the road.