Pennsylvania Auto Insurance: Bodily Injury Liability and Medical Expense Benefits -- Why Are They So Important?

patient in hospital

In my previous blog, I talked about the types and amounts of Pennsylvania auto insurance coverage we recommend at Edgar Snyder & Associates. Oftentimes, however, short descriptions aren't that helpful when you want to understand how a type of insurance coverage will protect you after an accident.

So, today we're going to talk more in depth about two types of coverage that you're required to have in Pennsylvania: Bodily Injury Liability and Medical Expense Benefits.

Bodily Injury Liability: What it is and Why You Need More Than the State Minimum

Bodily injury liability coverage protects you if a person files a claim against you after you're found responsible for an auto accident that injured them or killed a family member. It's meant to protect your personal financial security and your assets.

Your coverage will pay money to that person up to the maximum amount of coverage you selected on your policy. Pennsylvania state law requires drivers to have $15,000 per person and $30,000 per occurrence of coverage. It also covers anyone else responsible for an accident while driving your car (as long as they were doing so with your permission).

However, medical bills add up fast. Maybe you know someone who has had surgery recently or ended up in the hospital for an illness or injury. Costs for hospital stays, doctor appointments, rehab or therapy, and medications can create a mountain of financial burden – easily tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. That's why we recommend $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence. Otherwise, you may be personally responsible for paying what Bodily Injury Liability doesn't cover.

Medical Expense Benefits: How They Protect You

You've read about how to protect yourself if you are at fault for an accident that caused other people's injuries. Now need to learn how to protect yourself if you suffer injuries in an accident.

Pennsylvania is a "first-party benefits" state, which means that your car insurance policy pays for your own medical treatment if you're injured in a car accident. These benefits are called "Medical Expense Benefits."

Again, Pennsylvania law requires a much lower amount – $5,000 – that you likely will need if you're injured in an accident, especially if you don't have a personal insurance plan or coverage provided through your employer. Your own insurance kicks in after you reach the maximum you selected for your Medical Expense Benefits, and you even may be required to pay your health insurance provider back if you receive compensation for your injuries from a settlement. For these reasons, we recommend a minimum coverage amount of $10,000 or possibly even more.

You Can Change Your Policy at Any Time

As you review your policy and compare your current coverage to our recommended coverage, you may want to make changes. All you need to do is contact your insurance agent and tell them what you'd like to update. Remember, you can change your auto insurance policy at any time. A few extra dollars now could save you from financial disaster later.

If you have questions in the meantime, I encourage you to download our free e-book, For Pennsylvania Drivers: How to Choose Auto Insurance.

Don't miss the next blog on reviewing your auto insurance: Full Tort vs. Limited Tort.