When Pennsylvania drivers buy car insurance, many do not know and/or understand what type of coverage they have on their policy. When drivers are involved in car accidents in Philadelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania, they often come to the realization that they do not have adequate coverage to protect themselves.
Some drivers think that their auto liability coverage compensates them when they are injured in car accidents. Unfortunately, this is not the case. An insured driver’s liability coverage compensates another injured driver, passenger or pedestrian when the insured driver causes an accident.
PIP Medical Coverage
Many drivers who are injured in car accidents caused by at-fault drivers believe that the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for their medical expenses incurred as a result of the car accident. Again, this is not the case. Per Pennsylvania’s no-fault law, an injured driver’s own PIP medical coverage pays for their medical expenses up to the limit purchased. The law requires insured drivers to carry a minimum of $5,000 in PIP coverage.
What happens if the PIP coverage is exhausted? Some may think that if their own PIP coverage is exhausted, then the other driver’s medical coverage would come into play next. This is not accurate. Rather, after an injured driver’s PIP medical coverage is exhausted, the next level of coverage is their own private health insurance. If an injured driver has copays, they would be able to recover the copays from the at-fault driver in a car accident lawsuit as part of the damages claim.
Underinsured Motorist/Uninsured Motorist (UIM/UM) Coverage
Another misconception many drivers have is that they don’t need UIM/UM coverage. Many drivers decline this coverage because having this coverage increases the annual premium. However, UIM/UM coverage is one of the most important coverages for insured drivers. UIM coverage kicks in when the at-fault driver’s liability coverage is not enough to compensate the injured driver for their injuries. UM coverage kicks in when the at-fault driver does not have any insurance coverage.
If an injured driver has multiple vehicles in the household, they may stack UIM/UM coverage depending on the policy. This means that if a driver has 2 cars, and each insured vehicle has $100,000 in UIM/UM coverage, he may stack the UIM/UM coverage on both cars, i.e., $100,000 from the first car and $100,000 from the second car. The driver may receive up to $200,000 in a UIM/UM claim.
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