July 2010 - Bradford PA Insurance - Williams Insurance Agency

No Auto Insurance Coverage in Pennsylvania?

July 30, 2010 in auto insurance, auto insurance coverage, pennsylvania department of transportation, property damage

If you have a registered vehicle in the state of Pennsylvania, then you must maintain vehicle liability insurance.  Liability insurance will cover property damage or injuries that you may cause others in a vehicle crash.


What will happen if I don’t have auto insurance?

So what happens if you own a registered vehicle in Pennsylvania and do not have insurance?  That depends on you.  To avoid any potential penalties, if you do not have an in-force auto insurance policy, you should surrender your registration plate to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) immediately. 

To surrender your registration plate, you can mail it to:

Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Return Tag Unit
P.O. Box 68597
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597

Do I have to surrender my plates if my vehicle isn’t being driven?

Yes, you must surrender your registration plates, stickers and card.  Even if your vehicle is in storage, not being driven, or is in the repair shop, you must maintain auto insurance coverage as long as the vehicle retains a registration plate.

What are the penalties of not maintaining the required insurance?

First, it is important to state again that you will not face any penalties if you turn in your plates.  If your insurance lapses, the state allows you 31 days to provide proof that you did not operate your vehicle during this time.  If you are unable to provide proof or you fail to surrender your plates, you may face the following penalties:

  • A $300 or more fine (for driving without insurance)
  • Suspension of your driver license privileges for three months

If your license is suspended, you will receive a letter from PennDOT. In addition, after being assessed penalties and once you acquire the mandatory insurance, you will be charged a $50 vehicle registration reinstatement fee and a $50 driver license reinstatement fee.  You will also need to submit proof of your recently acquired auto insurance.

What if my vehicle was taken to a salvage yard?

If you “junked” the vehicle and therefore cancelled your insurance, then you must send to PennDOT a copy of the salvage yard certificate or a “letter of salvage” from your insurance company detailing the new owner.

What should I do if I canceled my insurance because my vehicle was repossessed?

In the state of Pennsylvania you must still keep the mandatory insurance on a reposed vehicle as long as it is still registered with the state.  If you cancel the insurance on a reposed vehicle, then you must surrender the registration plate from the vehicle with 30 days of the cancellation date to avoid suspension.

How will PennDOT know I don’t have the proper car insurance?

Insurance companies in Pennsylvania are required to notify PennDOT when an insurance policy is cancelled by the owner of the policy.  An owner initiated cancellation includes when your policy cancels because of non-payment.  Auto insurance companies in Pennsylvania are not required to send notification to PennDOT when a vehicle owner purchases a new insurance policy, whether it be with the same company or a different insurance company.  If PennDOT sends you a “proof letter” it is your responsibility to provide PennDOT with proof of your insurance

Mandatory Auto Insurance Laws in Pennsylvania

July 29, 2010 in assigned risk plan, auto insurance laws in pennsylvania, auto liability coverage, liability coverage, mandatory pennsylvania car insurance coverage, minimum liability coverage, pennsylvania department of transportation, Pennsylvania insurance department, uninsured/underinsured motorists

There are mandatory auto insurance laws in Pennsylvania that every driver who operates a vehicle in Pennsylvania must follow. When looking into pa auto insurance rates, keep these in mind.

  • In the state of Pennsylvania all drivers must carry a minimum of auto liability coverage in the amount of $15,000 for bodily injury (BI) per injured person
  • In the state of Pennsylvania all drivers must carry a minimum of auto liability coverage in the amount of $30,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • In the state of Pennsylvania all drivers must carry a minimum of auto liability coverage in the amount of $5,000 property damage liability coverage and $5,000 personal injury protection (PIP)
  • All drivers operating in Pennsylvania must carry proof of insurance at all times
  • The Pennsylvania Insurance Department holds that if you are stopped by law enforcement for a moving violation and law enforcement officials determine that you are operating your vehicle without insurance, you can be subject to the following penalties and expenses:
    • a minimum of $300 fine for driving uninsured
    • a three-month suspension of your vehicle registration
    • a three-month suspension of your driver’s license
    • renewal fees to renew your vehicle registration
    • renewal fees to renew your driver’s license
    • vehicle impoundment.

In addition to the above penalties, no other person may drive your vehicle during the time the registration is suspended.

 Mandatory auto insurance laws in Pennsylvania also pertain to rental cars. Rental cars must also carry the minimum liability coverage required by Pennsylvania law. Most Pennsylvania auto insurance policies include coverage for car rentals as a matter of course. In addition, if you pay for your rental car with your credit card, most credit cards have automatic coverage for car rentals.  Drivers would be wise to check their auto insurance policy and/or check with their credit card issuer. In the case that your credit card will not insure your rental car, then you must purchase car rental insurance from the car rental provider. 

Auto insurance laws in Pennsylvania do not require that drivers purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  However, most insurance companies recommend carrying this coverage to protect you from an at-fault driver who does not have the proper insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages.

Und mandatory auto insurance laws in Pennsylvania, the policy holder may exclude other persons in the household from their auto insurance policy.  A policy holder may only do this if the excluded person can establish that they have purchased and maintained auto insurance with either another insurance provider or through the Pennsylvania assigned risk program.

In the state of Pennsylvania, a lapse  in insurance coverage longer than 30 days can result in the suspension of your vehicle’s registration for a period of three months.  In addition, the driver must be able to prove to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that he or she did not operate the vehicle during the period of the lapsed coverage.

Limited Tort Option in Pennsylvania Car Insurance

July 28, 2010 in full tort, limited tort, pa auto insurance

I’ve lived in Florida all my life.  That is until 3 years ago when I moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I’ve also only driven an automobile in Florida.  I truly don’t think  I ever drove a car outside of the state of Florida until I moved to Philly. 

There are a lot of things very different about the driving experience in Pennsylvania.  Unlike Florida, there are hills, there can be snow, and let me just say that nothing in Florida can compare to the Schuylkill Expressway.

But one of the most striking differences I found about driving a car in Pennsylvania is the pa auto insurance system.  And I really didn’t learn this fully until I got in an accident that totaled my car.  I was broadsided on the Pennsylvania turnpike and my car ended up in a rollover.  No critical injuries, thankfully, but as you can imagine in a rollover accident, I was seriously banged and bruised.  I was sent to the hospital to be checked over and was sent home several hours later with instructions to rest because in the next several days I would begin to really feel the trauma of the accident.

The driver had insurance so I really wasn’t worried that I would be compensated.  It tool several weeks to get the insurance claim rolling, but also after weeks had passed, I was still unable to sit up in a chair for more than two hours at a time without my back having painful cramping spasms.  Thus, I was unable to put in more than half days at work.

So I though surely I would be compensated for my lost wages.  I was wrong.  And moreover, because I had purchased limited-tort insurance in Pennsylvania I had forfeited my right to file a lawsuit to claim lost wages. 

I absolutely asked about the difference between full-tort and limited tort insurance in Pennsylvania when I purchased my coverage.  I was told that I would still be able to sue for things like pain and suffering or lost wages for a “serious” injury.  But what was never explained to me was just how “serious” the injury had to be in order to collect under a limited-tort policy. 

Yes, it was my burden to investigate further.  And I’ll be honest.  My agent had me at “lower premiums.”  But now I realize that any savings I may have experienced through cheaper premium, in the long run, cost me a lot more.

When you purchase limited-tort insurance in Pennsylvania, your savings over full-tort insurance are generally only about 15% in premium costs.  But for the 15% savings you are giving up your right to file a lawsuit to recover losses you experienced through absolutely no fault of your own.  And the coverage you choose extends to your children as well.  For example, if my son had been in the car with me and had experienced an injury not qualified to meet the exception, then my son would have had to suffer for my insurance choices.

I urge you to change your limited-tort insurance in Pennsylvania to full-tort and do it today.

Five Ways to Lower Your Pennsylvania Car Insurance Rates

July 27, 2010 in best rates on pennsylvania auto insurance, deductible, Pennsylvania Car Insurance, Pennsylvania car insurance rates

This summer, millions of Americans are choosing to vacation at home.  And this year thousands upon thousands of Pennsylvanians will choose “staycations” as well.  After all, we Pennsylvanians have the most wonderful vacation spots right here in our own backyards.  We can make our own adventure travel in the mountains, explore the finest historical sites, or take the scenic route by heading to Amish country. 

But before trekking down the highway, take a moment to think about what the summer vacation season means for driving in the state of Pennsylvania.  The price of gasoline is up and traffic seems to be much more congested.  So there couldn’t be a better time to review your pennsylvania car insurance to look for savings. 


1.    Review your deductible.

Almost every auto insurance policy requires you to pay a deductible.  The thing is, the lower deductible you select on your policy, the higher your premiums will be.  And in the opposite, the higher a deductible you agree to take on, the lower your monthly premiums will be.  And sometimes the difference can be significant.  When you agree to purchase a policy with a higher deductible, your premium savings generally start at 10 percent and go up from there.   This savings can seriously add up year after year.  And if you have a clean driving record and you know you do not have a propensity for careless driving, then why not agree to an addition $100 or $200 on your deductible.  Do the math, and realize the savings.


2.    Add an additional driver.

Here’s a little known fact that may surprise you.  When you add another driver to your policy, you may actually lower your car insurance rates rather than raise them. For example, my husband is a seasoned driver with a fantastic driving record.  In fact, he has never been in an accident and hasn’t had any moving violations in over ten years. By adding him to my policy, my annual premiums were reduced by around $50 a year.


3.    Protect your car.

You can obtain a discount from your insurance carrier by taking some small steps to safeguard your car.  For example, reduce the risk of accidental damage to your car or theft by keeping your car in your garage.  That may mean having to spend a Saturday cleaning it out, but you could save 5 percent on your premiums by having a garage-kept vehicle.


4.    Pay annually, not monthly.

If you can afford it, do it.  Many insurance companies offer meaningful discounts for paying your policy in one lump some.  Many auto insurers charge monthly billing fees just to send you a monthly invoice.  This fee can be as much as an additional $10 a month.  Get rid of that excess and pay it all up front.  It’s one of the easiest ways to lower your car insurance rates.


5.    Do some shopping around.

Do not just renew your existing policy without doing some price comparisons first.  Obtain several quotes from several different companies.  You can present cheaper quotes to your current insurer and they may reduce your rates. We’d be glad to give you our best rates on pennsylvania auto insurance from many companies we represent.

Should I feel Guilty ?

July 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

The summer of Dan….yeah I borrowed that from Seinfeld


Spending the week here on Harreras Island has me looking at my girls and thinking “I won’t be doing this too much longer” 10 and 12 year olds grow up too quickly. If I remember right it was about age 13 my son Brett got his visit from the “knowledge fairy” Then dear old dad became just another adult who didn’t know anything.  Maybe that’s why Barack is having such a hard time figuring out our recession woes…maybe a team of young teenagers could plan our country’s financial future:)


Oh well…enough of my rant. If I’m not around the office take your calls it’s because I’m enjoying a little “down time” with my loved ones. Trust me…I’m thinking of you !! Okay…another lie !!! I just can’t stop myself today…must be the salt air.


Take care and be sure to call my office and get your low rate on pennsylvania car insurance while I’m gone.