Pennsylvania ranks 31st in the nation for car insurance costs, with the average premium costing $1,468 annually. These rates are substantially lower than neighboring areas like New York, New Jersey and Maryland. People moving to Pennsylvania from a neighboring state may see their rates decrease as a result of the move. By understanding the factors influencing the cost of auto insurance, drivers can make wise choices when purchasing auto insurance.

Factors Influencing Car Insurance

Dozens of factors are assessed by car insurance companies in order to set insurance premiums for an area. Individual drivers may have car insurance that is higher or lower than the state average due to personal driving habits, credit score or other factors. On a large scale, a state’s population sets auto insurance rates through statistics like number of DUIs in a year and percentage of drivers without insurance.

Weather plays an important role in determining auto insurance costs. Areas prone to catastrophic weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes will have higher insurance premiums than states with temperate climates. The population of an area and the number of drivers on the road at any given time also factors into insurance premiums; the more drivers commuting at any given time, the higher the likelihood of an accident occurring between them.

The Influence of Uninsured Drivers

One of the largest factors influencing auto insurance is the percentage of drivers without auto insurance. Uninsured motorists cost insurance companies money for claims that cannot be reimbursed. If a driver without insurance causes an accident, the other party’s insurance must absorb the cost. This leads to rate increases to counteract the phenomenon.

Pennsylvania has a low rate of uninsured motorists, just 10 percent. While not the lowest in the country, this is still substantially lower than many states, and the insurance premiums reflect this. The state also has a low incidence of drunk driving, ranking 35th in the nation for DUI-related deaths. In 2011, Pennsylvania had 433 DUI-related automobile fatalities, accounting for 33 percent of all traffic deaths in the state.

Auto theft also plans a role in determining the cost of insurance premiums in a given area. Some areas, especially California, Washington and Texas, are at high risk of auto theft. Other states have a much lower incidence of theft and the insurance rates reflect this. Pennsylvania has a low risk of auto theft due to its position away from international borders.

Auto insurance premiums also vary from one state to the next due to state laws. Some states require higher levels of coverage than others, making those states less affordable on average than other states with lower requirements. When equal premiums are compared, however, the price gap between these states narrows tremendously.

Pennsylvania State Car Insurance Requirements

Pennsylvania requires all drivers to carry at least $5,000 for property damage liability insurance; this coverage pays for damage caused to another person’s vehicle or property. Drivers must also maintain at least $15,000/$30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance for each accident. These insurance limits are rather low, and it’s always a good idea to purchase as much liability insurance as you can afford. If you ever cause more damage than your insurance can cover, you might be held responsible for paying the difference out of your pocket.

No Fault Car Insurance

Pennsylvania is also a no-fault state, meaning that there are limitations as to whether a driver can file suit for injuries received in an auto accident. Because of no-fault laws in the state, all drivers must maintain medical payments coverage with a limit of at least $5,000. However, not all drivers have to operate under no-fault car insurance laws in Pennsylvania. You can choose between a limited or full tort policies; full tort policies are more expensive but allow drivers more freedom in filing suits for lost wages, pain and suffering, and other medical claims.

Do I need full coverage car insurance in Pennsylvania?

Drivers in Pennsylvania can choose whether or not to carry full-coverage auto insurance. Collision and comprehensive coverage are necessary for vehicles that are being financed. Autos owned outright by the driver do not require full coverage, but it may be a wise investment if the vehicle is still new or valuable.

Other coverage available in the state includes uninsured motorist, rental reimbursement, towing and gap insurance. Several types of medical coverage are also available, such as death benefits, lost wages and funeral benefits. These can be purchased in addition to the regular medical payments coverage and help to pay for medical expenses that exceed the usual policy limits.

Whether you’ve moved to Pennsylvania from another state or just need to purchase a new policy, you can get the best deal on auto insurance by getting a free quote online. Comparison shopping for car insurance will help you find the best company to meet your needs without breaking your budget. By taking the time to understand why your insurance costs what it does, you can choose the best policy for your family no matter where you live.