High-Risk and SR-22 Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania Explained

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  • High-Risk and SR-22 Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania Explained

Picture this: you’re on the freeway heading home from an Eagles game in Philadelphia when you accidentally hit another driver who happens to be a Giants fan. Little did you know your insurance policy expired last week, and you forgot to renew it, so you were uninsured when you caused the accident. 

Those with a history of driving uninsured, at-fault accidents, or other risky choices behind the wheel are classified as high-risk drivers and may face legal consequences and expensive premiums on their car insurance policies in the Quaker State

Keep reading to find out who’s considered a high-risk driver in the state, what types of policies are available to drivers in this category, and how the high-risk insurance marketplace works in the state.

High-Risk Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania Explained

Auto insurance for high-risk drivers in Pennsylvania isn’t actually a separate type of insurance or coverage but rather a category a driver is placed in by their insurer that helps the insurer determine the driver’s premiums. A driver may be considered high-risk for various reasons, like having a history of at-fault accidents, driving without insurance, driving while intoxicated, or making otherwise risky decisions behind the wheel. 

While insurers mostly use these driving factors to deem a policyholder a high-risk driver, some other non-driving factors may contribute to this categorization, like one’s age, gender, ZIP code, or credit score. Insurers use these factors in tandem with a policyholder’s driving record to assess the risk they take by binding a policy with a driver. If a policyholder has several driving and non-driving factors that land them in a high-risk category, they will see higher premiums for their policy. 

For example, drivers that live in densely populated cities like Pittsburgh or Philadelphia typically pay higher premiums because they’re at higher risk of being involved in an accident and filing a claim with their insurer. So, insurers charge these policyholders higher premiums to compensate for the risk they take by insuring such a driver. 

What Is Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Auto Insurance?

In Pennsylvania, assigned risk auto insurance is a type of policy a high-risk driver can bind through a non-standard insurer. Many insurers won’t bind a policy with a high-risk driver, so they decline to cover drivers in this category. This means those who need coverage the most can’t get it through a standard insurer and must search elsewhere. Luckily, other insurers, often called non-standard or specialized insurers, offer assigned risk car insurance policies for those with difficulty binding with a standard insurer.

The Pennsylvania assigned risk auto insurance plan, or PA ARP is a pool in which high-risk drivers can enroll to be selected by a non-standard insurer willing to bind a policy with the driver. Both non-standard and standard insurers participate in this pool, but getting a policy with a standard insurer through the PA ARP isn’t the same as binding a policy with a standard insurer directly. 

While the PA ARP sounds like a perfect compromise for high-risk drivers, it has a downside. Assigned risk plans are often costly, making them a last resort for high-risk drivers. Since an assigned risk plan is so expensive, drivers aren’t allowed to enroll until they’ve proven they can’t get a policy directly from any standard or non-standard insurers. 

What Is SR-22 Insurance in Pennsylvania?

SR-22 insurance isn’t required in Pennsylvania. Instead, financial responsibility filing in Pennsylvania is verified by paying one’s insurance premiums to the full amount when they’re due. In states that require them, an SR-22 is a document a high-risk driver’s insurer files with the state on behalf of the policyholder to certify they have an active and sufficient car insurance policy and the financial means to pay the costs associated with the policy. While the document doesn’t exist in the Keystone State, drivers are still legally required to maintain an adequate policy at all times.

All drivers must have the minimum amount of coverage legally required in the state, which is $15,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $20,000 of bodily injury liability per accident, $5,000 of property damage liability per accident (15/30/5 liability coverage), and $5,000 of personal injury protection or PIP. 

Those who finance or lease their vehicles may be required by their lender or leaser to carry collision coverage and comprehensive coverage as a facet of their legally binding agreement. Drivers who fail to carry this coverage or fail to pay the premiums associated with this coverage will eventually run into serious legal trouble and face difficulty when attempting to bind a new policy.

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How To Find Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers in Pennsylvania

Finding high-risk car insurance in Pennsylvania can be tough because many insurers avoid binding policies for drivers highly likely to file multiple claims. However, high-risk drivers can get the coverage they need in a few different ways. 

The first place to start your search for high-risk auto insurance is with one of the state’s top insurers, like State Farm or Geico, as they offer policies for some high-risk drivers. Starting your search with a standard insurer will eliminate any extra steps you may not need to take and guarantee you’re getting a policy through a highly reputable insurer with plenty of perks like optional coverages and an array of discounts. 

If you can’t find a standard insurer that will take you on as a policyholder, you may want to start searching for a non-standard insurer specializing in car insurance for high-risk drivers. Non-standard insurers are a great option for those who can’t find coverage elsewhere. Still, policies with such insurers typically come with an added cost and fewer benefits than those offered by standard insurers. 

As a last resort, those who can’t bind a policy directly with a standard or a non-standard insurer may need to enroll in the PA ARP. This system will randomly assign a driver to an insurer participating in the program. This is often a last resort because it’s typically the most expensive and restrictive option, as drivers at this stage have no choice but to bind a policy with the insurer to which they’re assigned. 

How To Get Affordable Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers in Pennslyvania

The lowest cost car insurance for a high-risk driver in Pennsylvania can be found in several places. The best way to lower your premiums significantly is to have a minimum coverage policy that only contains the legally required amount of coverage in the state. The average premium for a full coverage policy in the Quaker State is about $1,660 annually for a low-risk driver, so the average premium for a minimum coverage policy will be about $830 annually. While high-risk drivers typically pay double or triple what a low-risk driver pays, a minimum coverage policy will always cost less than full coverage.

However, the cheapest policy in the state isn’t always the best option. Many drivers, especially those who’ve had at-fault accidents, prefer full coverage over minimum coverage. A policy that exceeds the legal coverage limits is always safer for the driver, their passengers, and other drivers on the road than a minimum coverage one. While a full coverage policy is more expensive than one that only meets the legal limits, it’s still possible to lower your premiums while maintaining adequate legal coverage.

The best way for drivers with a poor record to have a full coverage policy that doesn’t break the bank is to utilize discounts. Many insurers offer a variety of discounts, ranging from criteria-based to enrollment-based. Typically, criteria-based discounts like those for good students, those who bundle multiple policies, or those with multiple cars on the same policy may take up to 15% off your annual premium.

Enrollment-based discounts require a bit more from the policyholder but typically have a larger payoff, sometimes up to 20% off the policyholder’s annual premium. Some insurers offer drivers the option to enroll in a usage-based driving program in which they can use a telematics device to track and send their driving data to their insurer to receive a discount based on their driving score. With such programs, the better the score, the better the discount. 

Some insurers also offer pay-per-mile programs for drivers who drive below the national average of 12,000 miles annually. These programs allow drivers to only pay for what they need if they drive infrequently or don’t use their car for several months during the year.

If you’re a high-risk driver in Pennsylvania and you’re having a tough time finding a policy, the best way to start your search is to get and compare quotes online. By getting and comparing quotes online, you can ensure you’re getting a policy that meets all your needs but doesn’t break the bank.

Lucky for you, we have a free quoting tool right here at Clovered. Simply input some basic information about you, and in minutes, you can access quotes from a range of insurers across the Keystone State. If you prefer to speak with an agent about your quote or have any questions about high-risk insurance, you can contact one of our licensed agents at 833-255-4117 or agent@clovered.com.

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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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