Here’s what Pennsylvania drivers need to know about getting affordable car insurance.
Pennsylvania is a state rich in history, from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to the steel mills of Pittsburgh to the Gettysburg Battlefield. Pennsylvania is also a state with nearly nine million licensed drivers, all of whom need the protection of car insurance.
The average cost of car insurance in Pennsylvania is actually close to the national average. In 2015, the average annual cost of car insurance in Pennsylvania was $970.51 , not too far off the U.S. average that year, which was $1,009.38.
That said, how much you pay for car insurance in Pennsylvania will vary company to company. It also depends on individual factors like ZIP code, age, driving history, credit score, and the kind of car you drive.
As far as state-specific car insurance considerations for Pennsylvania drivers, every driver in the Keystone State must carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, as well as a minimum amount of personal injury protection.
But the state requirements are just a starting point — Pennsylvania drivers should consider much higher coverage limits than the state requires, as well as additional coverage to protect their own vehicles from damage.
So which car insurance company should Pennsylvania drivers trust to protect their cars? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular car insurance options in Pennsylvania, and how they compare across metrics like available coverage options and claims satisfaction ratings.
In 2015, the average annual cost of car insurance in Pennsylvania was $970.51, just below the national average in the U.S. that year, which was $1,009.38. Here’s that information broken down by the average cost of different types of coverage in Pennsylvania and in the entire U.S.
|Insurance Company||J.D. Power Claims Satisfaction Rating||Market Share||A.M. Best Rating|
_Methodology: These five insurers represent the largest auto insurers operating in the state of Pennsylvania, according to the NAIC. The claims satisfaction ratings are according to J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study.
Coverage and claims: Eerie - Eerie is the second-largest insurer in Pennsylvania, which is one of only twelve states it serves. Eerie also happens to have stellar claims satisfaction ratings — earning an industry-leading score of 891 on the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. So if top-notch customer service and claims satisfaction are a priority for you, Eerie is a great pick for car insurance.
Low rates and discounts: Nationwide - Nationwide’s simple online quote generator makes it easy to see which discounts have been added to your policy. It also offers a discount for joining the Nationwide SmartRide program, which tracks your driving through an app and awards discounts for save driving behavior. While it’s difficult to predict which carrier will offer you the lowest rates, Nationwide is a good bet for drivers looking for affordable coverage.
Digital tools: Allstate - Allstate’s website and online quoting tool are both sleek and easy to use. The Allstate site also offers extra features like informational quizzes. And then there’s the Allstate smartphone app, which lets drivers report and follow claims, take photos of damage, and contact an Allstate representative with the push of a button. The Allstate app also includes a cheap gas locator and a parking space reminder.
Teen drivers: State Farm - Young, inexperienced drivers are notoriously pricey to insure, but State Farm offers some tools to help offset the cost of adding a teen driver to your policy. Its Steer Clear program, for all drivers under 25, lets younger drivers use an app to track their driving, take educational quizzes and watch informational videos. Completing the program can earn teen and young adult drivers a discount on their rates.
Nearly every state in the U.S. requires drivers to have at least a minimum amount of car insurance. Some states require just liability coverage, some require more. Pennsylvania requires drivers to have liability coverage and personal injury protection, which pays for medical expenses for you or your passengers after an accident. Here’s a closer look at the car insurance requirements in Pennsylvania:
Bodily injury liability coverage per person: $15,000
Bodily injury liability coverage per accident: $30,000
Property damage liability coverage: $5,000
Personal injury protection: $5,000 per person in medical benefit coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Optional
Remember, the state insurance minimums are a starting point, not an ending point. Pennsylvania’s required property damage liability coverage is very low at $5,000. If you set your coverage limit there and then cause $50,000 worth of damages in an accident, you would be on the hook to pay nearly all of it out of pocket.
And if you also want your insurance to cover damage to your own vehicle, either from an accident or some other kind of incident, you should include comprehensive and collision coverage in your policy.
If you lease or finance a car, your lessor or lienholder may require you to add comp and collision to your car insurance policy.
In addition to the required coverage in Pennsylvania — liability coverage and personal injury protection, or PIP, here are some of the other types of car insurance coverage to consider.
Liability coverage - Covers you if you damage someone’s property or injure someone in a car accident.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage - Covers you if you’re in an accident caused by someone who doesn’t have insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of the damage they caused.
Personal injury protection - Often shortened to PIP, this covers medical expenses and lost wages if you or your passengers are injured in a car accident.
Collision coverage - Covers damage to your vehicle from an accident, regardless of which driver was at fault.
Comprehensive coverage - Covers damage to your vehicle that can happen when it’s not being driven, like damage from extreme weather, falling objects, fire, flood, vandalism and theft.
Snowstorms, heavy rains and high winds are extreme weather phenomena that some Pennsylvanians will have to deal with. That’s why Pennsylvania drivers should include comprehensive coverage as part of their policies. Comp coverage, which goes hand-in-hand with collision coverage, pays for damage to your vehicle that didn’t happen while driving, like damage from fire, flood, extreme weather, falling objects, vandalism and theft.
While the average cost of car insurance in the state of Pennsylvania is around average for the country, things are different in Philadelphia. Philly drivers face extra-high car insurance costs for all the same reasons car insurance is more expensive in any big city: Higher crime rates, more traffic, and more people creates more risk. That means it's all the more important for Philadelphia drivers to compare quotes while shopping for car insurance, and shop around each year to ensure they’re still getting affordable rates.
High-risk drivers who can’t afford auto insurance in Pennsylvania should look into the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan. The Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan, or the PA ARP, provides low-cost car insurance for drivers who are unable to secure affordable car insurance on the regular market. Standard car insurance companies offer subsidized insurance through PA ARP.
Pennsylvania is what’s called a no-fault car insurance state, meaning that drivers are required by law to have personal injury protection, and each driver should seek compensation for injuries and related expenses from their own insurance company. (As opposed to an at-fault state, where the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for any medical expenses)
You must maintain car insurance coverage in Pennsylvania. If you own a vehicle and let your coverage lapse, you may face having your vehicle registration suspended for three months, or paying a fine and a restoration fee. You should always carry proof of insurance while driving in Pennsylvania, in the form of your insurance ID card, your declarations page or a letter from your insurance provider.
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