The law in Pennsylvania requires that every registered vehicle be covered with a policy of auto insurance. The law specifies certain types of coverages and sets minimum limits of coverages.
Auto insurance is generally referred to as either "first-party" coverage (insurance that is purchased to benefit the policy owner, his family and guest passengers) and "third-party" coverage (insurance that provides coverage for pedestrians or people travelling in other vehicles).
The following is a basic listing of different types of auto insurance coverages:
Medical Expenses - This is the "no-fault" portion of auto insurance. Regardless of who causes an accident, the insurance policy that you purchase or the policy that insures your vehicle pays for your medical expenses. Pennsylvania law requires minimum "first-party" medical expense coverage of $5,000.00.
Wage Loss - This optional "first-party" coverage that you can purchase as part of your auto policy reimburses you for lost wages if you are unable to work due to injuries you sustained in an auto accident regardless of who caused the accident.
Collision Coverage - This type of auto insurance is not required by state law. If purchased it provides benefits to repair your car following an accident, regardless of whose fault caused the accident.
Uninsured Motorist Benefits - If you are injured in an accident that was caused by a driver who did not have any insurance, the uninsured motorist coverage in your own insurance policy will compensate you for your pain, suffering and inconvenience. This type of coverage is not mandated by Pennsylvania law.
Underinsured motorist benefits - If you are seriously injured in an auto accident and the person who caused the accident has insufficient insurance coverage to compensate for your losses (in other words, the responsible person is underinsured), the underinsured motorist coverage on your policy will compensate you for losses that are in excess of the responsible person's coverage. This type of coverage is optional.
Liability - This is the "third-party" portion of your auto insurance policy. If an accident occurs and you were the cause, any people who were injured will seek compensation from you and this portion of your insurance policy will provide coverage. State law requires you to carry a minimum of $15,000.00 in liability coverage.
Full Tort/Limited Tort - This is a selection that you must make when you purchase your insurance policy. Full tort gives you the right to file suit to receive compensation for the pain, suffering and inconvenience that you sustain in an auto accident that is caused by someone else. The limited tort option may prevent you from seeking compensation for your losses unless your injuries are serious and permanent.
Understanding the ins and outs of auto insurance is complicated and time consuming. At Silberblatt Mermelstein, we spend a lot of time reading and reviewing different types of insurance policies. We make it our policy to understand the insurance coverages at issue in our cases. Sorting out the applicable insurance coverages is our first step in representing our clients who have been involved in automobile accidents.
If you have questions about your auto insurance, please feel free to call us.