Required Auto Coverage
By Joyce Novotny-Prettiman, Esq. and Richard H. Galloway, Esq.
Every day most of us use a car to get to work or school, to get chores and errands accomplished, or just for fun. The Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) controls how car insurance works in the Commonwealth. The law takes its name from the concept that we all need to be “financially responsible” for the vehicles we operate on our roadways. Here are the minimum coverage required for all vehicles:
- $15,000 of liability coverage (which protects other motorists if harmed by a driver’s carelessness)
- $5,000 of medical coverage (which pays your medical bills as a result of an accident)
Liability coverage protects you if you are sued by someone you injured, but probably the most important coverage from your standpoint is the medical coverage. This coverage pays for medical treatment resulting from an auto accident. It is a surprise to most people that their own insurance company pays their medical bills without any consideration as to which driver may be at fault for an accident. The law is set up this way so that medical bills can be paid promptly. If you own a motor vehicle, your insurance will pay for any medical bills resulting from an accident even if you are not in your vehicle when an accident occurs. If you do not own a vehicle, your medical bills will be covered by the insurer of the vehicle you occupy at the time an accident occurs.
There are other coverage available but not required, which we recommend. Wage loss protection is coverage that you purchase from your own insurance company and, similar to the medical coverage discussed above, this coverage is paid regardless of who is at fault for an accident. Many people cannot comfortably pay their monthly bills if they have to go without a paycheck for even a few weeks. Wage loss coverage protects you and your family because it pays benefits quickly when you are unable to work because of injuries arising from an auto accident. Many of our clients at QuatriniRafferty who have had to use this coverage are thankful that they had the coverage available to them. This is the type of coverage that gives you peace of mind and pays the bills when the unexpected happens.
You should check with your insurance agent to be sure you have wage loss coverage. If you do not have this coverage, you might be surprised at how little it costs. While an automobile accident is never a pleasant experience, if you have the coverage you need, the effects of an accident are much less likely to be devastating.
A word of caution — we believe that no one should ever buy a policy with the limited tort option; you should always have the full tort option. Also, while $15,000 is the legal minimum for liability coverage, we believe it is far too low and you should consider raising it to $100,000. This will have the added effect of raising your uninsured and underinsured coverage, which can be very important if you are seriously injured.
We will review your policy. It is critically important that you maintain the right coverage. Call Joyce Novotny-Prettiman, Richard Galloway or Dennis Rafferty at 724-837-0080 or toll free at 888-534-6016. You may also wish to email a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer now.
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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