What is the penalty for driving without insurance in Pennsylvania?

Any lapse in car insurance in PA is punishable by a three-month registration suspension, which can be mitigated once per year with a $500 civil fee.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jul 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law governs motor vehicle insurance requirements in Pennsylvania
  • After more than a 31-day lapse in insurance, the penalties get harsh
  • A driver is required to send their license plate to the Department of Transportation after dropping insurance on a motor vehicle

In Pennsylvania, the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law is located in Title 75, sections 1701 through 1799, of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

The Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law contains the rules that govern vehicle insurance requirements in the Commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania financial responsibility laws require that drivers maintain insurance, so drivers can respond in damages for liability that arises out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle.

In Pennsylvania, there is a minimum financial responsibility requirement for liability, and each insurer doing business within the Commonwealth must make available for purchase a policy with only the minimum requirements.

It’s important for drivers in Pennsylvania to realize that carrying at least the minimum amount of liability insurance required under the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law is a legal mandate, and it’s not an option.

A lapse in coverage will not only subject drivers to penalties under Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, but a lapse in coverage might also make it difficult for drivers to find another auto insurance carrier willing to write that driver an insurance policy.

Furthermore, if a driver who has a lapse in coverage does find a willing carrier, it might mean that the driver is paying a much higher premium than he or she otherwise would have paid without the lapse in coverage.

Compare car insurance quotes today to make sure you have the coverage you need at the best rate possible. Enter your zip code above to get started.

When a driver in Pennsylvania decides to let coverage lapse voluntarily because he or she will not be driving a vehicle, the only way to avoid the penalties under the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law is to remove the vehicle’s license plates.

The removed plates then need to be sent to the Department of Transportation.

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Pennsylvania

When a driver in Pennsylvania has a lapse in coverage for more than 31 days, the penalties get harsh.

In any case, where there is a failure to maintain insurance on a vehicle in Pennsylvania, a three-month registration suspension is instated.

The three-month registration suspension stands even when a driver secures insurance on a vehicle before the imposition of the suspension or before the expiration of the suspension.

However, a driver does have the option of paying a $500.00 civil penalty fee instead of the three-month registration suspension.

A person can only utilize the $500.00 civil penalty fee instead of suspension once within a 12-month period.

Furthermore, after the three-month registration suspension ends a Pennsylvania driver must furnish to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) proof of insurance, and the driver must pay an $88.00 restoration fee.

Drivers in Pennsylvania who face a vehicle registration suspension will receive notice from the PennDOT. After receipt of the notice, a driver only has 30 days to file an appeal and challenge the suspension.

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Acceptable Proof

Under Title 75, section 1786 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, when required to provide evidence of insurance on a vehicle, a driver can provide an identification card in either paper or electronic form as proof.

A police officer requesting proof of financial responsibility shall only review the electronic content necessary to demonstrate insurance on a vehicle.

Pennsylvania Minimum Car Insurance Coverage and Avoiding Penalties

Every insurance company that does business in Pennsylvania must make a minimum coverage policy available. A driver in Pennsylvania must carry the following limits:

  • bodily injury liability insurance for $15,000 per person
  • bodily injury liability insurance for $30,000 per accident
  • $5,000 in property damage liability and first-party medical benefits

Minimum coverage policies in Pennsylvania also require underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage for $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. However, a driver can request to reject underinsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage.

When a driver in Pennsylvania does shop for car insurance, one area of coverage that is unique to Pennsylvania is that insurance laws in the Commonwealth allow drivers to opt for a limited tort option on their insurance.

Limited tort restricts a driver to medical and out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident, and it excludes the right to pursue pain, suffering, and other non-monetary damages should a driver get into an automobile accident.

Stay Covered and Safe with Pennsylvania Car Insurance

You might think you’re saving money by driving without insurance, but given Pennsylvania’s harsh penalties if you get caught, it’s not worth it. One small accident or getting pulled over for something like speeding could result in marks on your driving record and massive fines.

Rather than risk financial devastation in the event of an accident, compare free quotes online today and find a car insurance plan that meets Pennsylvania state minimum car insurance requirements so you can drive with peace of mind.

Enter your zip code below today to find and compare quotes.

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