Auto insurance is confusing for many people, with many different types of coverage available and requirements varying from state to state. Nearly every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of coverage, but that isn’t adequate for every driver. Here’s how to know whether to choose the bare minimum or opt for full coverage.
State Minimum Coverage
Pennsylvania requires drivers to carry $15,000 bodily injury liability per person ($30,000 per accident), plus $5,000 property damage liability and $5,000 first party medical benefits. Drivers should also choose between limited or full tort coverage. This is the least amount of coverage a driver can have to drive legally, so it’s usually the cheapest option. It does not protect the driver’s own vehicle. While carrying minimum coverage is better than driving uninsured, it usually won’t cover all accident-related expenses. In 2016, the average bodily injury liability costs were above $16,000, with property damage liability costs nearing $4,000, per accident, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Accidents involving multiple vehicles—or expensive ones—will be more expensive. Drivers without sufficient auto insurance could be sued for that money.
While not a type of auto insurance itself, “full coverage” refers to having enough coverage to also protect the driver and their vehicle in nearly every case. Full coverage is often made of coverage including bodily injury liability, property damage, and the following:
- Collision coverage, which fixes the driver’s vehicle in a collision
- Comprehensive coverage, which covers scenarios including storm damage, theft, etc.
- Medical payments to cover the driver’s medical expenses if he is a named insured or resident relative of the named insured
- Uninsured motorist coverage, which kicks in if an at-fault driver has no insurance
- Underinsured motorist coverage, which kicks in if an at-fault driver has too little insurance to cover the accident
Some policies may offer additional coverage, like roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement. Although it comes with a higher premium, carrying full coverage is the best way to ensure complete protection in the event of an accident.
What Coverage Do I Need?
In Pennsylvania, you’ll need at least the state minimum. Any additional coverage will depend on your personal situation. If you’re unemployed, rarely drive, or drive a 20-year-old vehicle, the minimum may be all you need. If you drive a brand new car, you’ll likely want full coverage. If you own substantial assets like a home, business, or savings account, full coverage is also a wise investment. If you aren’t sure which option to choose, let Balliet Gilmartin Insurance help you decide. We’ll learn about your assets, vehicles, and driving habits, then we’ll shop around with more than a dozen carriers to find the best coverage for you. Contact us or call Balliet Gilmartin Insurance today at 570-386-8001 to learn more.