Penalties in Pennsylvania for Driving Without Insurance

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  • Penalties in Pennsylvania for Driving Without Insurance

In most states, Pennsylvania included, having some degree of car insurance when you get behind the wheel is legally required. Drivers in the Keystone State must always maintain financial responsibility (that means auto insurance) while on the road.

In Pennsylvania, auto insurance can get expensive, and the short-term savings of skipping out on a policy entirely can be enticing, but the penalties are far more expensive than a full coverage policy.

Let’s take a look at what might happen if you’re caught driving uninsured, the risks you face, and why it’s essential to maintain continuous coverage on your auto insurance policy in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Driving Without Insurance Risks

Most notably, driving without insurance in Pennsylvania is illegal, so if you lack adequate coverage, you may be at risk of legal repercussions. Driving without sufficient coverage also puts you and others at financial risk. If you don’t have insurance and cause an accident, you’re on the hook for all expenses you and the other party incur in medical bills and vehicle repairs.

Carrying the legal minimum amount of car insurance in your state is extremely important for your safety and the safety of others on the road. In Pennsylvania, car insurance laws and requirements mandate all drivers to carry at least $15,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $30,000 of bodily injury liability per accident, $5,000 of property damage liability, and $5,000 of personal injury protection (PIP).

The legal repercussions you may face for driving without insurance in the Quaker State are hefty fines, license suspension, and registration suspension. Not only might you have to pay a fine for breaking the law, but you may have to pay to restore your license or registration. 

If you’ve previously committed a moderate or severe traffic violation, like reckless driving or driving while intoxicated, you may have to carry an SR-22 form. This form proves you have the legal amount of required auto insurance in Pennsylvania. If you’re required to carry this form but are caught without it, you risk even heavier fines and even longer license suspension. 

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What Can Happen With No Car Insurance in Pennsylvania?

You may be liable for a pretty hefty fine for driving without insurance in Pennsylvania, on top of other serious legal and financial repercussions. Fines for driving uninsured typically start at about $300 but can range based on the severity of the incident. Not only will you be liable for that fine, but you may also be on the hook for medical expenses and vehicle repairs for you and the other party involved.

If you’re in an accident while driving uninsured, the other party may sue you for their expenses or pain and suffering. When signing up for auto insurance in Pennsylvania, drivers have the option to opt for full or limited tort on their policies. Opting for full tort allows drivers to maintain their right to sue another driver in the event of an accident. Limited tort severely impacts a policyholder’s right to sue.

Say you’re driving without insurance on the way to an Eagles game in Philadelphia when you cause an accident with another driver with a full coverage policy with a full tort option. That driver breaks their arm in the crash, their vehicle is damaged, and they have lasting psychological distress from the accident. 

Not only will you be on the hook for whatever legal repercussions you face for driving without the legally required amount of insurance, but you’re also responsible for the other party’s medical bills and vehicle repairs. If they choose to sue, you’re responsible for paying the amount they feel you owe.

It’s much more cost-effective to pay for car insurance than to run the risk of instantly losing a large sum of your savings. The average premium for a full coverage policy in Pennsylvania is about $1,660 annually, which is on par with the national average of about $1,670 annually. Plus, many insurers in the state offer cheaper base rates or opportunities for discounts. 

A minimum coverage policy with only the legally required coverage is even cheaper, costing about half of what a full coverage policy costs. All this to say, the annual cost of a premium is nothing compared to what you could potentially owe if you drive uninsured.

Is It Legal To Be Uninsured in Pennsylvania?

It’s illegal to be an uninsured driver in Pennsylvania. Driving without liability insurance in Pennsylvania is breaking the law, as well as lacking any PIP coverage, as it is a coverage mandated by the state’s no-fault law. Drivers who violate the state’s car insurance laws and requirements risk losing their license, registration, and a chunk of their savings to fines and restoration costs. 

While driving uninsured in the Keystone State is illegal, it’s also financially reckless. Those who drive without sufficient car insurance coverage put themselves at financial risk because they will be liable for any costs associated with an accident they cause. Plus, if you’re caught driving without insurance, then decide to bind an auto insurance policy, you will likely face much higher premiums than the average, continuously insured driver.

Insurers use several factors to determine your premiums, like age, gender, ZIP code, driving record, and many others. All these facts about you allow your insurer to determine the risk they take by insuring you.

If your insurer sees a previous violation on your record for driving without insurance, they’ll likely deem you risky to insure and increase your premiums. If you were caught driving uninsured several times, you might have to purchase high-risk auto insurance, which can be more expensive than a standard policy.

Driving Without Insurance in Pennsylvania Penalty Explained

There are several penalties for driving without sufficient insurance in Pennsylvania. In the Keystone State, as with many others, if you’re caught driving without insurance, you may face fines and license suspension, not to mention the costs you may be liable for if you caused an accident while uninsured. 

One unique penalty for driving without insurance in Pennsylvania is registration suspension. Depending on the severity of the incident and if this is your first violation of the state’s car insurance laws, your vehicle may be impounded and inaccessible by anyone until you pay the time and the fine associated with this penalty.

Other penalties you may face for driving uninsured in the state are:

  • Minimum $300 fine
  • License suspension for at least three months
  • License restoration fee (about $90 or higher)
  • Registration suspension for at least three months
    • This means your vehicle’s registration and plates are suspended, and the car is rendered unusable by any driver for the duration of this consequence
  • Registration restoration fee (about $90 or higher)

You may be able to pay a $500 penalty plus the $90+ fee to prevent your registration from being suspended. However, after all these costs are totaled, you may look at upwards of $1,000 in fees. Many insurers offer minimum coverage policies in the state for under $1,000, so it’s ultimately a more cost-effective decision to carry at least the minimum amount of required auto insurance in the state.

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Can You Get Arrested for Driving Without Insurance in Pennsylvania?

You can’t get arrested or face jail time for driving uninsured in Pennsylvania. The punishments for lacking sufficient auto insurance in the state are severe but not as severe as jail time. If you’re caught driving uninsured, you may face fines, license suspension, and even registration suspension. Plus, a note will be made in your driving record about the violation.

Is Driving Without an Insurance Card in Pennsylvania Illegal?

Driving without registration and insurance in Pennsylvania is illegal. Suppose you have a legally registered car and a valid insurance policy but don’t have the documentation with you when you’re pulled over. In that case, you may get a ticket or a fine, but the repercussions are far less severe if you have an insurance policy than if you don’t.

If you’re pulled over while uninsured and fail to produce a valid insurance card or policy, your license or vehicle registration may be immediately suspended. The severity of the punishment for driving uninsured in the Keystone State varies depending on the severity of the incident and whether it’s your first offense.

What Happens When Driving Without Insurance in Pennsylvania in an Accident?

If you’re in an accident while driving uninsured in Pennsylvania, you put yourself at pretty severe legal and financial risks. Legally, you may be hit with a fine, license suspension, or registration suspension, which prohibits any driver from using your vehicle for the duration of the penalty. Plus, you’ll be expected to foot any bills you or the other party in the accident accrue, like medical expenses or vehicle repairs. 

Loss of wages is another severe risk you run by driving uninsured. Without a car, you may not have another way to get to your job. So, while you owe a large sum of money to the state and the other party in an accident, at the same time, you may also halt your flow of income. All in all, driving uninsured is far riskier than the short-term savings of not paying premiums.

If you’re currently uninsured but are interested in getting a car insurance policy, you’ve come to the right place. A great way to find the best coverage in the state while also finding the policy with the best rates is to get and compare quotes online.

Here at Clovered, we have a free quoting tool you can use to find the Pennsylvania auto insurance policy that best suits your needs. If you prefer to speak to an agent, we have those too! Just call us at 833-255-4117 or email us at agent@clovered.com to speak to someone directly.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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