Most states require drivers to purchase auto insurance before they can legally operate a motor vehicle. Pennsylvania is one of those states. If you decide to drive without current car insurance, you could face severe penalties and challenges.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Pennsylvania
To drive legally in Pennsylvania, vehicle operators must purchase two types of car insurance – medical benefits or no-fault coverage and vehicle liability insurance. Additionally, the state requires minimum coverage amounts, which currently include:
- $5,000 medical benefits
- $15,000 bodily injury per person
- $30,000 bodily injury per accident
- $5,000 property damage
Loss of Driving Privileges
You may think that a short lapse in car insurance won’t matter because you’re a safe driver. However, your insurance company could notify the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) when your insurance coverage lapses. You may also get caught if you’re involved in an accident or stopped for a moving violation and fail to show current proof of insurance. There are consequences for driving without insurance so be prepared.
The biggest penalty involves the loss of your driving privileges, and your vehicle registration could be suspended for three months. In this case, you must surrender your vehicle’s registration plate and card plus your driver’s license. You’ll also owe a fine and must pay to restore your vehicle’s registration after the suspension ends. Even worse, no one can drive the vehicle during the suspension period, and it may even be impounded.
If you face a suspension, you do have the option to appeal the decision but only if your insurance lapsed within the past 31 days. You must prove in this case that you haven’t driven the vehicle during the insurance lapse.
As an alternative to the suspension, you may pay a civil penalty. While this option does not restore your driver’s license, it does waive your vehicle registration suspension and allows someone else in your family to operate your vehicle until you regain your driving privileges.
Note that you can only pay one civil penalty in a 12-month period. That means that you may pay the civil penalty for the first offense but must serve the suspension if you’re caught driving without insurance a second time within 12 months.
Other Risks of Driving Without Car Insurance
In addition to losing your driving privileges, you face additional risks if you drive without current car insurance.
- You could get a ticket in addition to other penalties and fees.
- You could lose valuable assets. After an accident, you will be responsible for any property damage or injuries, which may exceed tens of thousands of dollars. If you don’t have the funds to cover these expenses, you might lose your car, house and other assets.
- You could jeopardize your job. If you can’t access public transportation or get a ride to work, you may lose your job.
- You could experience inconvenience. Instead of driving to the grocery store, doctor or a friend’s house whenever you want, you must wait for a ride or stay home.
To drive legally in PA and avoid these penalties and risks, maintain current car insurance. Purchase adequate coverage and pay your premiums on time. Contact your insurance agent today for a quote or for more information on the valuable car insurance you need.