Written by: Isaac A. Hof, Esq.
Partner at Hof & Reid, LLC
Sadly, most individuals do not review their auto insurance coverage until after getting into a car accident. Needless to say, it is too late by that point. It is critical to understand today what exactly is covered by your auto insurance. Outlined below is an explanation of some of the more important coverages you will likely encounter when reviewing your auto insurance.*
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
Under Pennsylvania law, insureds may choose a “Limited Tort” option, which saves them a small percentage on their premiums each month. In exchange, those individuals are entitled only to receive compensation for economic loss arising from their personal injury following a car accident (e.g., unpaid medical expenses, wage loss, etc.). With some exception, unless the person who selects Limited Tort sustains serious injury from a car accident, that individual is precluded from maintaining a claim for any noneconomic damages (e.g., pain and suffering, loss of life’s enjoyment, etc.).
First Party Medical Benefits
Pennsylvania is a “no fault” state when it comes to medical coverage for auto accidents. That means even if someone else is at fault and causes you injury from a car accident, your own auto insurance company will cover the expenses for your medical treatment (up to a pre-selected maximum amount and so long as the treatment is considered reasonable, necessary, and related to the car accident).
Liability Limits and Uninsured / Underinsured Motorists Protection
Under Pennsylvania law, the minimal amount of liability coverage required to operate a vehicle is $15,000 per person. That means if someone with a “minimal limits” policy hits you with his or her vehicle, the most amount of insurance available to collect from that person for personal injury compensation is $15,000. Fortunately, in Pennsylvania, auto insurance companies offer protection known as Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage (“UM/UIM”), which offers additional coverage from your own insurance company if there is inadequate or no insurance coverage from the driver who hit you.
*Communication of information by, in, to or through this article and your receipt or use of it (1) is not provided in the course of and does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship, (2) is not intended as a solicitation, (3) is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and (4) is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney. You should not act upon any such information without first seeking qualified professional counsel on your specific matter.