Do I Need Personal Injury Protection Car Insurance in Philadelphia?
All people who own and drive a vehicle in Pennsylvania are required under law to carry specific minimum amounts of auto insurance coverage on their vehicle. Because Pennsylvania follows the no-fault auto insurance system, besides liability insurance, all drivers must also carry medical benefits coverage, also called personal injury protection insurance. This means that yes—you need personal injury protection car insurance in Philadelphia.
When buying a personal injury protection car insurance policy, a crucial part of the buying process entails choosing between full tort and limited tort coverage since your choice will impact your legal options in case you get injured in an auto accident. This is why Pennsylvania, along with Kentucky and New Jersey, is known as choice a no-fault auto insurance state.
Required Personal Injury Protection Car Insurance Coverage in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law requires the following auto insurance coverage plans:
Also known as personal injury protection (PIP), medical benefits coverage covers the medical expenses for you and other individuals who are also covered under your policy if injuries resulted from an auto accident. This will cover you regardless if you or another driver caused the accident. $5,000 is the minimum coverage limit required by the state. You also have the option of a higher limit.
Bodily Injury Liability
This coverage covers damages of other individuals, such as medical expenses, in auto accidents for which you are at fault. $15,000/$30,000 is the minimum coverage limit, meaning that $15,000 covers injuries to one individual, while $30,000 is the total for one auto accident. You can also opt for higher limits.
Property Damage Liability
This coverage covers damage to another person’s property, which could be a vehicle or fence, gate, etc., in an accident for which you are at fault. $5,000 is the minimum coverage limit, but you can choose a higher limit.
Understanding Pennsylvania’s “Choice” No-Fault Auto Insurance System
Under the no-fault auto insurance system, your own personal injury protection car insurance coverage (your medical benefits or PIP coverage, in particular) should cover your medical bills and other qualified out-of-pocket costs you or anyone under your policy incurred, up to the policy’s limit, regardless of who was liable for an auto accident. For an injured victim to circumvent the no-fault rules and file a personal injury claim and/or insurance claim against the liable party (if you weren’t at fault for the accident), your injuries should meet the definition of serious injury under state law.
In Pennsylvania, however, vehicle owners are given a choice between limited tort and full tort coverage. Also, the no-fault rules only apply to injuries and not vehicle or property damage insurance claims. Property damage claims could be made against liable drivers without any limits. The state likewise requires auto insurance providers to tell consumers about all the different personal injury protection car insurance coverage options, especially when deciding between full or limited tort coverage.
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort Coverage
Limited tort coverage limits an injured policyholder’s coverage (including the rights of the people covered under the individual’s policy) to seek monetary compensation for injuries and accident-connected damages in an accident caused by another driver. With this personal injury protection car insurance coverage option, the policyholder can seek recovery for medical treatment and associated out-of-pocket costs. However, they will not be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering damages and other noneconomic or nonmonetary damages.
Only policyholders who have been seriously injured can sue for pain and suffering damages even if they only have limited tort coverage. That being said, “seriously injured” means suffering from a serious injury, which typically means something more serious than broken bones, for instance. Even a head injury might not be considered “serious” unless it is disabling. Under state law, serious injuries are those that cause severe impairment of a bodily function or significant and/or permanent disfigurement.
Full tort coverage, on the other hand, provides an injured policyholder and other individuals covered under the policy unlimited legal rights to recover financial compensation for their injuries and related losses in auto accidents caused by other drivers. This means that you'll be able to seek compensation for all your medical bills and out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering damages, and other accident-related nonmonetary damages. This applies even if you did not suffer serious injuries as defined under state law. Unsurprisingly, full tort personal injury protection car insurance coverage is more expensive.
Call Us Today to Talk to a Skilled Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer
Pennsylvania law requires drivers to obtain personal injury protection car insurance coverage, but gives them options. If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident and have any questions with your medical benefits or would like to file a claim against the negligent driver, reach out to our experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer here at Mattiacci Law, LLC.
You can arrange a free consultation with our skilled personal injury attorney in Philadelphia by calling 215-709-7915 or contacting us online.