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Have You Reduced Your Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Coverage To Save Money?

Posted by Sandra Worthington | Mar 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

During this prolonged COVID pandemic, many folks are buying the cheapest auto insurance coverage possible as they struggle to find work and pay the rent.  Some are even canceling their auto policy altogether.  In Pennsylvania, driving without car insurance is against the law.  You must have, and be prepared to show, your financial responsibility card evidencing your current auto insurance to a law enforcement officer if requested to do so.

Many drivers, worried about putting food on their table, have cut their policy coverages to the bare minimum of $15,000/30,000.  What exactly does this mean?  This means that if you are in an accident, your insurance will only cover $15,000 per person for another person's injuries and $30,000 total in bodily injury per accident.  Any damage or injuries above these limits will come out of your pocket.

What happens if you and your car are damaged in an accident, and the other driver has no insurance or has inadequate insurance to cover the harm done to you?  You will have to rely, at least in part, on your own insurance to make yourself whole.

Smart drivers buy insurance that covers them even if the other driver does not have any insurance or does not have enough – meaning is “underinsured.”  Buying good auto insurance with at least $100,000/300,000 coverage, plus underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage as well as collision coverage protects you in case you are involved in an accident with someone holding paltry coverage or no coverage at all.

And what about damage to your car?  Should you insure your old junker of a car by buying collision coverage?  Or has your insurance agent told you not to waste your money on that?

 The insurance agent might be assuming that you have set aside $3,000 to $5,000 to replace your junker if it is totaled in an accident.  However, one who is driving an old vehicle may be doing it to be frugal but more often, someone driving a junker likely does not have the resources to set aside $3,000-$5,000 to buy a replacement car in case of an accident.  If you cannot set aside that kind of money, you need collision insurance in case your car gets totaled. 

Do not let your agent talk you out of it. Remember that your agent wants to sell you insurance and that is how he makes his money.  If you don't like his quote because it includes coverages you need but cost a bit more money, he knows you will shop around to find an agent who will sell you a lousy, inadequate policy for a lot less.  So, agents are in the position of often having to sell you what you might ask for:  the cheapest policy that complies with the law and nothing more.  That is a disservice to you, but you can see the agent's dilemma.

Review our explanatory chart below to see what coverage is available, how it protects you in case of an accident, and when and if you should purchase it.

Coverage

What it means

Whom it protects

$15,000/$30,000 bodily injury

Your insurance policy will pay someone else involved in an accident no more than $15,000 per person for their injuries.

Someone other than yourself who is injured in the accident.

 

Your insurance will pay others involved in an accident a total of $30,000 per accident.

Assume medical bills and pain and suffering related to injuries to others in the accident total $65,000.  Your insurance would only provide $30,000 to make the others whole.  The remaining $35,000 would have to come out of your pocket. 

$100,000/$300,000

This is the minimum coverage to protect your assets in case of a serious accident. And even this is not nearly enough should your negligence kill someone like a pedestrian.

Your insurance policy will pay someone else involved in an accident a maximum of $100,000 per person for injuries caused by your negligence.

Someone other than yourself who is injured in the accident.

 

Your insurance will pay others involved in an accident a total of $300,000 per accident.

Assume damage and injuries to others in the accident total $300,000.  Your insurance would cover the full amount of these damages, up to a cap of $300,000 to make the others whole.  If this is not sufficient, the injured parties will come after your personal assets.

Collision Coverage

This covers any damage to your vehicle.

This is insurance that you buy for yourself.  It protects you and reimburses you for any harm to your vehicle that is not covered by the other party's insurance. You can increase your deductible to keep this premium lower.

Underinsured Coverage

This covers any harm to you caused by the other driver if they have insufficient funds to cover 100% of your pain and suffering and out of pocket loss.

This is insurance you buy for yourself and it will compensate you for any damages exceeding the other driver's coverage.

Uninsured Coverage

This covers any harm to you caused by the other driver if they have no insurance coverage.

This is insurance you buy for yourself and it will compensate you for any damages caused by the other driver's fault for which they have no insurance.

So, rather than being penny wise and pound foolish during these challenging times, arm yourself with the facts, and make sure you carry sufficient insurance to protect you and others in case of an accident. 

We strongly recommend coverage of $100,000-$300,000 + Collision coverage for your car + Uninsured motorist coverage + Underinsured motorist coverage.  Then, and only then, will you have sufficiently protected yourself in case of an accident while driving in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

For more information on protecting your rights in case of an auto accident, read Sandra's comprehensive guide, The Pennsylvania Accident Book.  Available at our website, the book is free to any reader who is not an employee of an insurance company.  And if you or someone you know has been in a serious accident, please do not hesitate to give us a call.  We are happy to offer a free consultation.  Call today at 215-576-5150.  We look forward to speaking with you and to lending a hand.

About the Author

Sandra Worthington

I am all about YOU. You have been in an accident, and you need a lawyer who understands you and your injuries. Many of my clients are active folks of all ages who are or were involved in walking, running, biking, skateboarding, surfing, yoga, weight-lifting, racquet sports, and countless other a...

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