Pennsylvania is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means that the auto insurer will cover its customer’s injuries and damages in the case of an accident, regardless of who is at fault. If you’re a motorist with a car registered in Pennsylvania who doesn’t have or maintain coverage, you risk having your vehicle registration and driver’s license suspended for 3 months, plus paying a fine and fees to reinstate your registration and license.
High risk drivers, who may struggle to find coverage in the standard voluntary market, can seek an alternative like the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan (PA ARP) that will provide them with auto insurance. However, a policy obtained through the PA ARP will almost always cost more than an identical policy you find directly with any given insurance company. As soon as you've built a better driving record, go back to the regular market for better auto insurance rates in Pennsylvania.
What is the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan (PA ARP)?
The Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan allocates high risk drivers, who have been unable to find an insurer willing to cover them in the voluntary market, to an auto insurance carrier. PA ARP is a last resort for motorists, and facilitates insurance for thousands of high risk drivers every year.
When motorists enroll in the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan, they are placed in a residual pool, and then randomly distributed to insurance companies based on a quota system. Every insurer authorized to write auto insurance in Pennsylvania must participate in the PA ARP and provide coverage to a certain number of motorists in the residual pool based on their market share. For example, if GEICO has 15% of the Pennsylvania auto insurance market, that means that 15% of the high risk drivers in the residual pool will be assigned to GEICO.
PA ARP Eligibility
To be eligible for insurance through the PA ARP, you must certify that you have tried and failed to find auto insurance in the voluntary market in Pennsylvania, or that you have been unable to find auto insurance with rates lower than those offered under the PA ARP, within the last 60 days.
You could be ineligible for insurance through the PA ARP if you:
- Failed to pay any auto insurance premiums to your previous insurance company during the immediately preceding 12 months
- If your insurance policy (with a company other than PA ARP) has been canceled within the past 12 months for failure to make your vehicle(s) available for a safety inspection
- If any person who usually drives the motor vehicle does not have a valid driver’s license
- Own an antique automobile (25 years or older)
Your assigned insurer must continue to insure you for at least 3 years. If you are able to find an insurer in the voluntary market that will offer you coverage, you can cancel your PA ARP policy at any time for no charge. At the end of the 3 years, if you are still unable to find coverage in the voluntary market, you can reenter the PA ARP residual pool and be reassigned to another insurer. Another possibility at the end of the 3 years is that your insurer could rewrite your policy in the voluntary market. For example, if State Farm is your assigned insurer through PA ARP for those 3 years, and you have been evaluated as a safer driver, State Farm could offer to insure you outside of the PA ARP program.
Because high risk drivers are more likely to incur losses and expenses, rates written for those who enter the residual pool in the PA ARP tend to be significantly higher than the same policies in the voluntary market. If you find the PA ARP to be too expensive, and you have exhausted your options in the voluntary market, it will be best for you to enroll in the PA ARP for a short time while you work to become a safer driver and improve your driving record.
If you allow your coverage to lapse, you risk having your vehicle registration and driver’s license suspended for 3 months, plus paying a fine and fees to reinstate your registration and license.
PA ARP Coverage
Your assigned insurer must provide you with the minimum liability, no-fault, and uninsured coverages as required by Pennsylvania law. Additionally, your assigned insurer must offer you the option of purchasing higher amounts of coverage than the minimum.
Pennsylvania mandates that all motorists be insured for:
|Pennsylvania Minimum & PA ARP Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$5,000|
|Medical Benefits (PIP)||$5,000|
Pennsylvania law also offers drivers the opportunity to purchase uninsured motorists insurance. You may reject this, in writing, if you choose. Comprehensive and collision coverage are not required by Pennsylvania, but you do have the option of purchasing them through the PA ARP. You can get up to $35,000 in coverage against physical damages and choose between several deductible options. Medical payment coverage is also available for purchase.
PA ARP Premiums and Payments
Premiums will vary for each driver depending on where you live, your age, your driving record, the type of car you drive, your level of coverage, and countless other factors. Pennsylvania has a “Financial Responsibility” law that allows your insurance carrier to cancel your insurance if you don’t pay your premiums on time.
Generally there are 2 payment options for PA ARP coverage:
- Pay in full: You can pay 30% down of the total estimated premium, and the rest within 30 days of receiving the premium notice, if you choose to pay annually in a lump sum.
- Pay in installments: You still pay 30% of the premium upfront, and then pay the rest in 5 installments over 5 months. There is a service charge for choosing the installment plan.
Again, if you allow your coverage to lapse, you risk having your vehicle registration and driver’s license suspended for 3 months, plus paying a fine and fees to reinstate your registration and license.
If you are insured through the PA ARP, you may be cancelled or non-renewed if you:
- Commit fraud or make “material misrepresentations” in your application.
- Don’t pay your insurance premium.
- Demonstrate a substantial increase in the risk insured against, like driving drunk or having an accident.
If your policy through PA ARP is cancelled or non-renewed, you can re-apply for insurance through PA ARP immediately, as soon as the problem is resolved, like paying an overdue premium.
How to Get Insurance through PA ARP
To get a quote for the PA ARP, contact the plan’s customer service office at (215) 531-7910. For more information about how to apply to the PA ARP, visit their website here: http://paarp.org/.