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In Pennsylvania, what is the legal notice time for an insurance company to cancel an auto policy for reasons other than non-payment? What are the legal reasons to allow cancellation of auto policy mid-term?


A

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department notes, if your insurance company does not receive your premium payment by the due date, the company is permitted to cancel your policy for non-payment. Pennsylvania law does not require companies to extend a grace period for premium payments. So if you fail to pay your PA insurance company for your auto insurance policy by the due date they can cancel you immediately.

As for other reasons for cancellation or non-renewal of a policy there are PA laws in place. Pennsylvania Code Section 59.6 gives information on insurance companies' requirements for their notice of cancellation or refusal to renew a policy. Here it states that notices of cancellation or refusal to renew shall meet the following requirements including (only a partial list you can read this area of PA law for more detailed information):

  • The form shall be clearly labeled: ''Notice of Cancellation or Refusal to Renew.''
  • Space must be provided for the insurer to provide the specific reason or reasons for the cancellation or refusal to renew and the reasons given for cancellation or refusal to renew shall be clear and complete.
  • The form shall include advice to the insured that he or she may be eligible for insurance under the Pennsylvania Fair Plan Act or the Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Plan.

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes (referred to as PS) also includes insurance laws. Title 40 PS 991.2004 (under Article XX. Automobile Insurance Issuance, Renewal, Cancellation and Refusal) gives valid reasons to cancel policy. Here it states that an insurer may not cancel a policy except for one or more of the following specified reasons:

  1. Nonpayment of premium.
  2. The driver's license or motor vehicle registration of the named insured has been under suspension or revocation during the policy period; the applicability of this reason to one who either is a resident in the same household or who customarily operates an automobile insured under the policy shall be proper reason for the insurer thereafter excluding such individual from coverage under the policy but not for cancelling the policy.
  3. A determination that the insured has concealed a material fact, or has made a material allegation contrary to fact, or has made a misrepresentation of a material fact and that such concealment, allegation or misrepresentation was material to the acceptance of the risk by the insurer.

Title 40 PS 991.2006 notes that a cancellation or refusal to renew by an insurer of a policy of automobile insurance shall not be effective unless the insurer delivers or mails to the named insured at the address shown in the policy a written notice of the cancellation or refusal to renew. The notice shall:

  1. Be in a form acceptable to the Insurance Commissioner.
  2. State the date, not less than sixty (60) days after the date of the mailing or delivery, on which cancellation or refusal to renew shall become effective. When the policy is being cancelled or not renewed for the reasons set forth in section 2004(1) and (2), however, the effective date may be fifteen (15) days from the date of mailing or delivery.
  3. State the specific reason or reasons of the insurer for cancellation or refusal to renew.
  4. Advise the insured of his right to request in writing, within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the notice of cancellation or intention not to renew and of the receipt of the reason or reasons for the cancellation or refusal to renew as stated in the notice of cancellation or of intention not to renew, that the Insurance Commissioner review the action of the insurer.
  5. Either in the notice or in an accompanying statement advise the insured of his possible eligibility for insurance through the automobile assigned risk plan.
  6. Advise the insured that he must obtain compulsory automobile insurance coverage if he operates or registers a motor vehicle in this Commonwealth, that the insurer is notifying the Department of Transportation that the insurance is being cancelled or not renewed and that the insured must notify the Department of Transportation that he has replaced said coverage.
  7. Clearly state that when coverage is to be terminated due to nonresponse to a citation imposed under 75 Pa.C.S. 1533 (relating to suspension of operating privilege for failure to respond to citation) or nonpayment of a fine or penalty imposed under that section coverage shall not terminate if the insured provides the insurer with proof that the insured has responded to all citations and paid all fines and penalties and that he has done so on or before the termination date of the policy.

If you have received a cancellation or non-renewal notice from your Pennsylvania insurance provider you can contact your insurance producer (agent) or company for specific details about why. Pennsylvania law allows companies to cancel or non-renew policies for certain reasons, such as an insurance company may non-renew a policy for two or more accidents of certain types within 36 months, when the amount paid in claims for both accidents exceeds the current threshold amount after the insured pays any applicable deductible.

Cancellation or non-renewal by an insurance company is also justified if you have more than two moving traffic violations or for certain accidents in which the insured is at fault.

In Pennsylvania, if you are convicted of driving under the influence, whether or not you take the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (ARD), your driver's license will be suspended. A license suspension is a valid reason for cancellation or non-renewal of your insurance policy. An insurance company in fact can cancel your policy if the premiums are not paid or if your driver's license or vehicle registration is suspended or revoked.

If you are not satisfied with your company's explanation you can submit a statement detailing the reasons you disagree with the action to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. To appeal your insurance company's decision regarding your policy the PA Insurance Department must receive the statement within 30 days of the company's cancellation or non-renewal notice to you.

The PA insurance regulator notes that motorists in Pennsylvania may not be surcharged or have their policy non-renewed if the claim(s) resulting from the accident(s) in the preceding three years do not add up to more than the current threshold amount after payment of any deductible, or if the insurance company is reimbursed for at least 60 percent of the total amount of the paid claim.

Pennsylvania insurance laws, statutes and administrative regulations are complex and not only regulate how insurance can raise rates, cancel or non-renew a policy but also provide procedures by which premium increases, cancellations, and non-renewals can be challenged by insureds. You should contact the PA Insurance Department for more information on the insurance laws and to get detailed information about cancellation mid-term or at the end of the term of your policy.


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