Combination First-Party Auto Insurance Benefits
By Joyce Novotny-Prettiman, Esq.
Imagine having insurance coverage that you can adjust to fit your needs. That is a nice idea but it usually is not an option. While it is rarely used, the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law does provide for flexible coverage that is called a combination benefit.
First, let’s talk about first-party benefits. These are the benefits that you purchase from your own insurance carrier so that you have coverage available to you if you or a family member is involved in an automobile accident … regardless of who may be at fault. The law in Pennsylvania requires that everyone purchase $5,000 of medical coverage. Beyond that requirement, Pennsylvanians may decide if they want to purchase wage loss coverage, accidental death benefits, funeral benefits and/or extraordinary medical benefits.
You have to understand what first-party benefits are and how they work before you can appreciate the combination benefit. The combination benefit allows you to purchase flexible first-party benefits. This means that you purchase, for example, $10,000 of first-party insurance. If you are in an accident, you can decide if you want to use the $10,000 of coverage for any combination of payment of medical or wage loss benefits.
There are certain limits with the combination benefit. For example, accidental death benefits cannot be more than $25,000, and the limit on the funeral benefit is $2,500. Otherwise, you decide how to use the insurance you have purchased. Therefore, if you have a lot of medical bills but no wage loss, you can devote the entire amount of the benefits to pay your medical bills.
With a combination benefit, you can only claim benefits for a period of up to three years after an accident. Traditional first-party benefits do not have this three-year limitation. The most practical advantage to purchasing a combination benefit is that you will have the ability to choose how you would like to use the benefits after you have a car accident and you know which benefits you need. Ask your auto insurance agent about a combination benefit or contact our office for more information.
At QuatriniRafferty, we can help you with questions about your auto insurance coverage. To review your auto insurance coverage or inquire about a car accident, please email a Pennsylvania car insurance attorney today, or call us at 724-837-0080 in Greensburg or toll free at 888-534-6016.
For more information on Pennsylvania auto insurance, please visit our Car Accidents Information page.
For more information on auto accidents, please visit our Motor Vehicle Accident Information Center.
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