Pennsylvania Assigned Risk – High Risk Car Insurance

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Pennsylvania’s Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law requires every driver and owner of a motor vehicle to be financially responsible for their actions. The statutory minimum limits of liability insurance in Pennsylvania are as follows:
There are four ways to accomplish financial responsibility:
Coverage by a motor vehicle or automobile liability insurance policy;
A cash deposit of $35,000 with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV);
A certificate of self-insurance issued by DMV to owners of fleets of more than 25 vehicles; or
A surety bond for $35,000 obtained from an insurance company licensed to do business in Pennsylvania.

All Pennsylvania drivers and owners must have at least the statutory limits of minimum liability insurance or an approved alternative way to pay for injury or property damage they may cause. Penalties are very severe for non-compliance with this section of the vehicle code.
When your car is in an accident for which you are found legally liable, bodily injury (BI) liability covers your liability to others for injuries to them. Property damage (PD) liability covers your liability for damage to someone else’s property.
A policy with BI of $15,000/$30,000 and PD of $5,000 will pay out as follows:
The maximum limit for one person’s injuries, medical expenses is $15,000 under the bodily injury portion;
If two or more people are injured, the maximum limit for the accident will be $30,000;
The maximum limit for damage to other people’s property (their car, their fence, etc.) is $5,000.

Comprehensive coverage (other than collision), uninsured motorist, medical payments and collision insurance are not required by law.
What are my Rights as a Policyholder?
Good Driver Provision
A Good Driver is a person who has been licensed for at least three consecutive years and has no more than one point on his or her driving record. Certain major violations may be considered for periods of seven, e.g., a DUI (Driving Under the Influence).
Every automobile insurance company licensed in Pennsylvania must offer coverage for Good Drivers. No insurer can refuse to offer coverage if you qualify as a Good Driver. If you are a Good Driver and you are denied the opportunity to buy insurance from the company of your choice, then call the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance for assistance. Also, it is important to note that your rates as a Good Driver must be at least 20% lower than a non-Good Driver’s rates would be at the same insurance company.
Cancellation/Nonrenewal Provisions
There are three reasons an automobile policy can be canceled/non-renewed once it is issued:
Fraud/material misrepresentation;
Non-payment of premium; or
Substantial increase in the hazard insured against.

Determination of Rates
The primary factors are as follows:
The operator’s driving safety record;
The number of miles driven annually;
The number of years of driving experience.

There are 16 secondary rating factors which may be used in any combination to determine your specific rates and calculate your individual premium based on an insurance company’s filing with the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance. The secondary factors must not be weighted as heavily as the primary factors in the rate premium calculation. These secondary rating factors may include marital status, frequency and severity of claims in the geographic area where your car is garaged, gender, vehicle type, etc.

When Must You Show Proof of Insurance?
The PA Legislature passed a law requiring motorists to produce proof of insurance before the Department of Motor Vehicles renews vehicle registration. The new legislation also requires motorists to display proof of insurance when they are stopped by a police officer for traffic violations. Drivers who can’t do so may be subject to fines and other penalties.

What Happens If I Don’t Carry Insurance?
In Pennsylvania, driving without insurance is a serious offense. Failure to show proof of insurance when requested may result in fines or a suspended license. Remember, driving is a privilege … not a right. If you are stopped by a police officer and asked for proof of insurance and you can’t produce it, you may receive a citation. You can have the ticket nullified by showing proof of insurance in court. You could, however, be assessed an administrative fee for expenses.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Liability Insurance?
Judges can impound the vehicles of frequent, flagrant violators. If you provide false evidence of insurance coverage and your driver’s license is suspended, the suspension cannot be lifted until you demonstrate genuine proof of insurance.

How Do I Prove I Have Insurance?
Your insurance company will send you a proof of insurance card listing the covered automobiles and drivers and showing the policy number and expiration date. Your policy or a temporary binder also is acceptable evidence of insurance.
When Must I Show Proof of Financial Responsibility?

Proof of financial responsibility must be shown when you:
Are asked for it by a law enforcement officer;
Have an accident,
Register your car or renew its registration, or
Get your car inspected.

Why Is It All Up to Me?
It is not the responsibility of the company or agent/broker to determine either the type or amount of coverage’s you need. You and the agent/broker should have an open exchange about the coverage’s that are available so that you can determine what best fits your needs. The time to discover that you do not have the necessary coverage is before you are involved in an accident, not after.

Now that you know what the Pennsylvania Law requires, you should determine whether you need coverage above the legal minimum in order to protect your assets. “How much is this going to cost me?” should not be the only question in deciding how much insurance you need. There are a variety of options regarding types of coverage and policy limits so you should shop carefully.
Ask yourself: Do I need higher limits? Since you may be personally responsible for damages above the policy limits, you should consider purchasing liability insurance with higher limits than the minimum required by law. With the increased cost of hospital stays, medical care, and car repair, it may be well worth considering the extra premium to purchase higher limits of coverage.
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What Other Coverage’s are Available?
Insurance companies must offer the following coverage with every automobile policy:

Uninsured /Underinsured Motorist
Provides liability insurance when the party at fault does not have the state required minimum liability coverage, or the minimum liability coverage is insufficient to cover the injuries sustained in the accident. Likewise, uninsured motorist property damage covers possible reimbursement for damages your car sustains (BI and PD).

Most insurance companies will also offer the following optional coverage’s:
Medical Payments
Provides for the payment of medical and similar expenses without regard for liability.

Physical Damage (collision and comprehensive):
Neither of these cover mechanical breakdown or normal wear and tear. Collision covers damage to your vehicle caused by collision with another vehicle or with any other object, regardless of fault. Collision insurance covers vehicle upset (overturn), but does not cover bodily injury or property damage liability. Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your car caused by reason other than collision, such as fire, theft, windstorm, flood, vandalism, etc.

Special equipment (i.e. after-market additions such as premium stereos, tires, and other misc. equipment), towing, and rental reimbursement.

Pennsylvania Insurance Department Toll-Free, Automated Consumer Hotline:  1-877-881-6388