Most of Pennsylvania enjoys relatively cheap state car insurance rates, but Philadelphia is another story, with rates many times higher. You can see below how every city, town and hamlet in Pennsylvania compares, along with the potential savings for choosing the cheapest carrier in that ZIP code. Learn how to buy the best Pennsylvania car insurance policy for your particular situation, what the average car insurance rates are for your neighborhood and how Pennsylvania car insurance laws work.
Pennsylvania car insurance rates
The average car insurance rate in Pennsylvania is $1,201. Your location is one of the major factors car insurance companies consider when setting your rate. Additionally, your age, your driving record, your credit history, the model of car you have, the severity and frequency of claims in your neighborhood are all accounted for when insurance companies decide price your policy. But every company uses its own method for assessing risk. That’s why the cost for the same policy can vary significantly among insurance companies – and why you should compare rates. For example, drivers in Philadelphia ZIP code 19132 can save $1,854 by shopping around. That’s the difference between the highest rate among six carriers surveyed ($3,931) and the lowest ($2,077).
Cheap car insurance in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania car insurance requirements
State law requires the following coverages:
Minimum bodily injury liability
Minimum property damage liability
First party benefits (medical)
Pennsylvania mandates purchase of first party benefits medical coverage. This pays medical expenses for you and anyone on your policy up to its limits, even if the accident was your fault.
Pennsylvania's minimum liability insurance requirements are extremely low compared with those in other states. For example, its mandatory $5,000 liability for property damage would not repair or replace many of the cars you are most likely to hit. And even a minor injury can rack up $15,000 in medical expenses.
Once bills hit those low limits, you are legally responsible for the balance. We suggest anyone with a home or savings to protect consider raising liability coverage limits.
You’ll pay more for more coverage, but as you’ll see in the chart below, additional protection typically won’t break the bank. Powering up your policy to full coverage with a $1,000 deductible costs, on average, $867 more, or $72 a month.
Average annual rate
Liability Only – state minimum
Liability Only - 50/100/50 BI/PD
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $1,000 Comp/Collision deductible
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $500 Comp/Collision deductible
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $250 Comp/Collision deductible
*The table shows the average annual rate of 10 ZIP codes in the state from the following carriers, in no particular order: Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, GEICO and Farmers. Data was provided for CarInsurance.com by Quadrant Information Services.
Recommended car insurance coverage
When deciding how much car insurance to buy, you need to assess your particular situation. To drive legally, you must buy at least the minimum liability insurance required by your state. If you didn’t borrow money from a lender to buy your car and you don’t have a lot of money or assets to protect, that might be a wise choice. If, however, you don’t own your car outright, you will be required to get comprehensive and collision coverage. Additionally, if you have a home and savings to protect, it’s wise to buy more coverage.
The more money and assets you have, the more likely it is that you may be sued following a car accident. Unless you are determined to pay the lowest car insurance rate possible, we recommend you buy higher than minimum liability coverage. If your net worth is:
less than $50,000, choose at least 50/100/50
between $50,000 and $100,000, choose at least 100/300/100
more than $100,000, choose at least 250/500/100
If you're leasing or financing your car, you automatically need coverage of 100/300/100 or higher.
Collision and comprehensive
Collision coverage pays for damage to your car after an accident that you cause. Comprehensive insurance pays to replace stolen cars and for damages from vandalism, flooding, hail, fire and animal strikes. These coverages are optional. Collision for Pennsylvania drivers costs, on average, $301 a year; comprehensive costs $132, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If your car is:
less than 10 years old, you should strongly consider buying collision and comprehensive.
more than 10 years old, only buy collision and comprehensive if your car is worth $3,000 or more, if you couldn’t afford to replace your car if it’s wrecked, or if you just want more protection on your policy.
Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage pays for damages if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance or a driver with coverage that’s insufficient to pay for your repairs and medical expenses. These should match the liability limits you choose.
Pennsylvania requires that insurance companies offer you uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, but you may decline it. In the Philadelphia area, where the rate of uninsured motorists is high, you should consider keeping it.
Medical coverage (MedPay)
Medical payments coverage can help pay for the medical or funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident, regardless of fault, up to $25,000. In most states, including Pennsylvania, it's an optional addition to your car insurance policy. Pennsylvania requires $5,000 of firt-party medical benefits coverage, so you don’t need MedPay, though it can supplement your minimum coverage. MedPay does the following:
Covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses
Pays for expenses after health insurance limits are exceeded
Offers additional protection to insured drivers who are hit by a car while walking or biking
If you and your passengers:
Don’t have health insurance, or have a plan that doesn’t cover car accidents or has low limits, we recommend that you add medical coverage of at least $5,000 to your car insurance policy.
Do have health insurance, it’s still a good idea to have medical coverage if you want the best protection in your policy, as it can pay out after your health benefits are maxed out.
If you got a loan to pay for your car and have an accident, gap insurance pays the difference between the cash value of your car and the current outstanding balance on your loan or lease.
If you’re financing your car, your car is less than one year old and you’ve put less than 20 percent down on it, you should buy gap insurance. If not, you don’t need gap insurance.
If you’re leasing your car, it’s a good idea to buy gap insurance if you aren’t already required to in your lease agreement.
If you own your car outright, you don’t need gap insurance.
Car insurance companies in Pennsylvania
Scores are based on Insure.com’s “Best Insurance Companies” customer review survey of 3,700 customers. Companies not in the top 10 of market share do not qualify. All scores are out of 100.
Best car insurance companies in Pennsylvania
Best customer service:
USAA – 97.2
Allstate – 91.8
Nationwide – 90.4
Best claims service:
USAA – 100
Travelers – 97.5
Liberty Mutual – 96
Geico – 93.9
Progressive – 92.5
Best value for the price:
USAA – 91.3
Travelers – 88.8 Erie – 88.8
Progressive – 86.3
State Farm – 84.6
Nationwide – 83.2
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Largest car insurance companies in Pennsylvania
Direct premiums written
Market share %
Overall Customer Review Ranking
State Farm Insurance Group
Erie Insurance Group
Allstate Insurance Group
Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies
Farmers Insurance Group
Source: A.M. Best market share rankings are based on direct premiums written in 2015.
Customer review rankings based on Insure.com's 2016 "Best Insurance Companies" survey of 3,700 customers. Scores are out of 100.
Pennsylvania car insurance laws
Driver's license points
Pennsylvania removes three points from your motor vehicle record when 12 months pass without a violation. If you hit six points on your record, you are required to take a written examination of your knowledge about safety and regulations. Two points are deducted from your total if you pass. Your driver's license is suspended at 11 points.
You'll have to produce proof of current insurance in Pennsylvania:
if you are stopped for a traffic violation
if you are involved in a reportable traffic accident
when you register your car
when your car undergoes its safety inspection
In addition, your insurance company will report a cancellation or nonrenewal to the state.
Lapse in coverage
If your Pennsylvania auto insurance policy lapses, your vehicle registration will be suspended for three months. If the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) determines that you drove your vehicle without insurance, your driver's license will also be suspended for three months. To serve the suspension your registration plate, sticker, card and driver's license need to be surrendered to PennDOT. The one exception to this is if the lapse was for less than 31 days and you can prove that the vehicle wasn't operated during this time.
To drive legally in Pennsylvania, you must have liability insurance with at least limits of:
15 / 30 / 5
Bodily injury liability limits of $15,000 for yourself and $30,000 for all others involved in an accident, and property damage liability of $5,000.
Pennsylvania also mandates purchase of first-party benefits medical coverage of $5,000. This pays medical expenses for you and anyone on your policy up to its limits, even if the accident was your fault.