Drivers in Pennsylvania are required to maintain financial responsibility, which means they carry car insurance with no-fault medical benefits and vehicle liability coverage.
How much car insurance do I need in Pennsylvania?
Here's the minimum amount of insurance all drivers must carry:
- $5,000 in medical benefits
- $15,000 for bodily injury per person
- $30,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $5,000 for property damage
There are two main ways Pennsylvania might find out about your lapsed coverage: You can't show proof of insurance when asked by a police officer, or your insurance carrier notifies the state.
Penalties for driving without insurance
If caught, you may have to surrender your driver's license and vehicle registration and pay fees to get them back. And while your driving privileges are suspended, no one else can drive your car.
Penalties for first and subsequent offenses
If you're caught driving without insurance and it's your first offense, the state will fine you $300 and suspend your registration and driver's license for three months.
Your vehicle may also be impounded. Plus, you'll pay a $94 fee to restore your vehicle registration and another fee to reinstate your driver's license. The cost to reinstate your license varies, but would typically be around $100.
The penalties increase if you're caught driving without insurance more than once. Here's what you can expect:
|Driving uninsured fine||$300|
|Suspended for 3 months||Cost varies|
|Suspended for 3 months*||$94|
|*Suspension waived if you choose to pay a $500 civil penalty|
Statement of nonoperation of motor vehicle (MV-221)
If you know your insurance is going to lapse, surrender your registration immediately to the state — and you avoid any penalties.
But if your coverage has lapsed for fewer than 31 days, you still have options. You may choose to pay a one-time $500 civil penalty and waive the registration suspension. You'll need to send proof of current coverage to the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles, show you didn't drive the car while your policy lapsed and file a MV-221 form to avoid restoration fees.
It's also a good idea to update your auto insurance information with the DMV when you know there has been a short lapse.
Civil penalty option
Under state law, Pennsylvania may waive your registration suspension if you choose to pay a $500 civil penalty plus an $88 reinstatement fee. Your driver's license will still be suspended, but this may help if your family members need to drive the car.
This option is only available once every 12 months. So if you're caught driving without insurance again within that year, you'll have to surrender your driving privileges.