Is Pennsylvania a No-Fault Car Insurance State?

October 12, 2020

If you didn’t pay much attention when you bought your auto insurance coverage, after an accident you may wonder, is Pennsylvania a no-fault car insurance state? Commonwealth law requires that you purchase specific minimum coverage, but you can decide whether or not to have no-fault insurance. If you’ve been injured in an accident and have questions about your insurance coverage, Wapner Newman can help.

Auto insurance is a contract between you and your insurance carrier. You pay premiums and they protect you against covered financial losses if you have an accident. There are minimal coverages you must purchase, but you may have many options for what you want to have covered and how much coverage you want. Pennsylvania no-fault law allows you to choose cheaper coverage, but it could drastically reduce your legal rights if you’re injured in an accident.

Insurance Has Its Own Language

Do you speak insurance? If not, here are some terms to know:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: This pays for the costs when an accident you cause injures someone else.
  • Medical Payments, Benefits or Personal Injury Protection: The coverage is for accident-related medical expenses for you and your injured passenger, no matter who is at fault.
  • Property Damage Liability: This pays for damages to another’s property caused by an accident for which you are at fault

In addition to understanding terms, you should know some dollar amounts that apply to auto insurance policies. Pennsylvania requires you to buy at least this coverage:

  • Medical Benefits: The minimum limit is $5,000 of coverage.
  • Bodily Injury Liability: $15,000 for injuries to one person and there’s a $30,000 limit for one accident.
  • Property Damage Liability: The minimum limit is $5,000.

Pennsylvania No-Fault Law Gives You Options

Though “no fault” is a common phrase used to describe a type of insurance coverage, Pennsylvania uses different terms. If you want “no fault” coverage you should choose “limited tort” as an option. If you want more traditional coverage, “full tort” should be your choice. State law mandates that you choose between the two. If you don’t, the policy automatically becomes full tort coverage.

Under no-fault coverage, after an accident your insurance coverage pays for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses incurred by anyone covered under the policy, up to coverage limits, regardless of who caused the accident. This applies to costs related to injuries, but not to vehicle damage claims. Claims for vehicle damage can be made against the at-fault driver without limitations.

Choosing to skip inclusion of no-fault coverage will save you on premiums but could cost you dearly if you’re involved in an accident. Without no-fault coverage, you could recover out-of-pocket medical and other expenses. However, you cannot get compensation for other damages — like for pain and suffering — unless your injuries fall under an exception in Pennsylvania law. That exception applies if you suffer a “serious injury” severely impairing a body function, or permanent and serious disfigurement.

Does Asking “Is Pennsylvania a No-fault Car Insurance State” Matter?

It is helpful to know that in Pennsylvania, you can choose whether or not to purchase no-fault coverage in your auto policy. It’s important to weigh your options when it comes to insurance coverage: Do you want to pay more premium to have better coverage, or pay less in premiums up front to have less coverage, and less compensation for damages, in the event of an accident?

No-fault insurance doesn’t cover vehicle or property damage. That would need to be covered by your own collision insurance and/or the liability policy of the other driver in the accident. You have additional legal options, as well. A lawsuit against the other driver could be filed if you’re not satisfied with the coverage.

If you choose full tort coverage, under the Pennsylvania no-fault law your premiums will be higher, but you have unrestricted rights to file a car accident claim against the responsible party. You could seek compensation for all medical treatment, out-of-pocket losses, pain, suffering, and other nonmonetary losses caused by the accident, whether your injuries are “serious” or not.

Wapner Newman Knows Insurance Law and How to Get the Most from Insurance Companies

For many reasons, we’ve successfully represented victims of vehicle accidents, including the fact that we know insurance law so well. An attorney unfamiliar with how insurance works can’t effectively help clients with personal injury claims.

If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident, our skilled and experienced car accident attorney are committed to giving you and your case individual attention. We will listen to you and treat you with the respect you deserve. We can provide you with dependable guidance and strong legal strategies. Hundreds of our clients have benefited from our ability to navigate insurance issues and negotiate fair settlements with insurance carriers.

Even if you think your injuries are minor, contact us as soon as possible so we can determine whether you’re entitled to compensation. Time is too valuable to waste. If you miss Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations, your case will be dismissed. Evidence of car accidents becomes harder to find. Witnesses forget what happened or can’t be tracked down.

Vehicle accident cases are a reminder of how quickly life can change. A quick trip to a grocery store can result in a car accident on a side street or in a parking lot. If you need help with a Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury case, call Wapner Newman today at (215) 569-0900 for a no-obligation consultation, or fill out our online form.