According to the 2017 United States Census, Pennsylvania is the fifth most populous state in the country, with a total of 12,805,537 residents. Pennsylvania’s cities have a population density of 286.2 people per square mile. Out of the top 10 most populated states, only New York and Florida have a higher urban population density.
In 2016, the state of Pennsylvania had 8,996,815 licensed drivers. Though Pennsylvania has only one of the country’s 10 most populated cities, Philadelphia, the state’s urban population density means that the streets are packed with cars in these areas. More cars typically mean more crashes, and higher car insurance rates are the result. We took a look at Pennsylvania’s rates as compared to other states.
Pennsylvania has higher-than-average insurance premiums of $1,731 per year. That’s lower than Michigan, which is the most expensive state in the country with average insurance premiums of $2,239. Pennsylvania drivers who really want to save on car insurance could consider moving to Vermont, which has the lowest insurance premiums in the country, at $932 on average.
We’re not actually suggesting that you pack up and move just to get cheaper car insurance, especially since your state is only one of many factors that contributes to your insurance premiums. Your location within that state also has an impact on your auto insurance rates. For example, there is a difference in the frequency of car-related crime in urban and rural areas. Your location might also determine whether you park on the street or in a secure area, like a garage. Your age, gender, and marital status play a pretty significant role as well. Insurance companies tend to perceive older and married people to be more responsible overall, and therefore, more responsible drivers. Other factors include the age and type of the car you drive as well as your actual driving record. We’ll take a closer look at data related to some of these factors and how it pertains to finding the cheapest car insurance in Pennsylvania.
Average Annual Car Insurance Rates in Pennsylvania
How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance in Pennsylvania
U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies. The rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 17, 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2018 Honda Civic, 2018 Toyota RAV4, 2018 Ford-F-150, 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage of 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only. Individual rates will differ.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Pennsylvania?
See the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies
Drivers insured with Travelers have the highest average auto insurance rates in Pennsylvania, at $7,842. Liberty Mutual comes next, with an average rate of $6,055. Progressive follows that with an average rate of $4,4451.00. Next up is Allstate, with average rates of $3,984. Nationwide ($2,800), State Farm ($2,744), and Geico ($2,605) are on the low end for the state. USAA has the cheapest rate in Pennsylvania, at $1,793 on average.
Married 60-year-old women and men generally pay the lowest rates in Pennsylvania, though there are a handful of exceptions. Geico, for example, has a lower average rate for married 35-year-old men ($1,773) than for married 60-year-old women ($1,932). Travelers has an average rate of $1,747 for married 35-year-old women and married 35-year-old men, but a higher-than-average rate of $1,882 for married 60-year-old women and married 60-year-old men.
Married 35-year-old people generally have the next lowest average rates in Pennsylvania. That is followed by single 25-year-olds, then 17-year-old singles. There is a moderate decrease from age 25 to 35 and again from age 35 to 60, but the decrease from age 17 to 25 tends to be staggering. Let’s look at USAA as an example. It has the lowest average rates for single 17-year-olds and single 25-year-olds. Yet, the difference from the 17-year-olds’ average rate ($3,463) to the single 25-year-olds’ rate ($1,524) is more than $2,000. On the high end, we have Liberty Mutual, which charges single 17-year-olds an average of $11,576 and single 25-year-olds an average of $5,037. That’s a difference of about $6,539. Travelers is an interesting case because this company’s average rate for single 17-year-olds is an eye-opening $25,635. Customers aged 25 see that average rate drop to $2,104. Aside from the rate for teens, Travelers happens to be one of the more affordable auto insurance companies in Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, most auto insurance companies have identical average rates for women and men in the same age groups. The exception is Geico, which had higher-than-average rates for women across the board. The smallest difference between women and men was in the married 60-year-old demographic, where women paid about $263 more than men. The largest difference was in the single 17-year-old demographic, where women paid about $681 more than men. For every age group in this section of the study, the average rates for men were equal to or lower than the average rates for women, and that’s with the same auto insurance company.
|Company||Single 17-year old female||Single 17-year old male||Single 25-year old female||Single 25-year old male||Married 35-year old female||Married 35-year old male||Married 60-year old female||Married 60-year old male|
|Liberty Mutual (as First Liberty Ins Corp)||$11,576.65||$11,576.65||$5,037.26||$5,037.26||$3,969.70||$3,969.70||$3,637.16||$3,637.16|
The next factor impacting Pennsylvania’s insurance rates that we will consider is how much customers drive in a year. We broke mileage down into two categories: average travel of 6,000 miles annually or a 10-mile daily commute, and 12,000 miles annually or a 25-mile daily commute. Three of the eight car insurance companies – Nationwide, Progressive, and Travelers – had the same average rate for customers in both groups. Five of the eight companies had higher-than-average rates for customers who drove more. The disparity was most significant with Liberty Mutual, which had average rates of $5,900 for the shorter commute and $6,210 for the longer commute, a difference of about $310. Geico had the smallest variance – less than $100 – between its shorter commute average rate of $2,562 and its longer average commute rate of $2,647.
|Company||6000 miles annually (10 mile daily commute)||12,000 miles annually (25 mile daily commute)|
|Liberty Mutual (as First Liberty Ins Corp)||$5,900.25||$6,210.14|
Next, let’s take a look at average car insurance rates in Pennsylvania depending on the level of coverage. We looked at low, medium, and high rates of coverage for the eight biggest insurance companies in the state. In most cases, customers paid the lowest average rates for low coverage and the highest average rates for high coverage. However, the reverse was true for customers insured with Travelers. Average rates were lowest for high coverage, and low-coverage plans had the highest premiums. Nationwide is another anomaly, with lower rates for high coverage than for low and medium coverage. Generally, in cases where rates increased from low to medium coverage and again from medium to high coverage, the gap between low and medium coverage tends to be higher than the gap between medium and high coverage. This means that if you are considering increasing your insurance coverage, you’ll pay a lot more to go from low to medium coverage and probably a little more to go from medium to high coverage. Therefore, you should evaluate the benefits afforded by the higher coverage and consider adjusting your budget accordingly.
|Liberty Mutual (as First Liberty Ins Corp)||$5,760.21||$6,098.96||$6,306.41|
Credit history is another factor that plays a role in average car insurance rates in Pennsylvania. Each of the eight major auto insurance companies we looked at charged the lowest rates to customers with good credit history, increased rates to customers with fair credit history, and even higher-than-average rates to customers with poor credit history. In every case, the increase between fair and poor credit history was higher than the difference between good and fair credit history. In other words, having a fair credit history is bad, but having a poor credit history is much worse in the eyes of an insurance company. USAA had the smallest difference between the three groups, with a total increase of just $768. Liberty Mutual had an increase of about $2,800 from good to poor, which was the highest of all eight companies in the study.
|Liberty Mutual (as First Liberty Ins Corp)||$4,895.54||$5,542.85||$7,727.18|
Your driving record is the next factor. We took a look at average insurance costs for customers with a clean driving record and those with a single speeding violation, a single accident, and a DUI. In all three cases, customers with a single DUI paid the highest rates of the group, and the companies that charged higher rates to those customers are Nationwide, Travelers, and USAA. Travelers had the biggest increase in this group, with DUI customers paying more than $2,000 over customers with one speeding violation or one accident. The other five companies charged the highest average rates to customers with one accident. In most cases, those rates were on par with what customers with speeding or DUI violations paid, though Allstate charged almost $700 more to customers with an accident and Progressive charged about $1,400 more.
If you live in Pennsylvania and have one speeding violation, you’ll pay the lowest rates with USAA ($1,612) and Geico ($2,653). You’ll find that the highest average rates are with Liberty Mutual at $6,183 and Travelers at $7,914.
With a single accident on your record, USAA ($1,992) and Nationwide ($2,703) offer the lowest average rates in Pennsylvania. The highest rates in this category are from Liberty Mutual at $6,328 and Travelers at $7,914.
Pennsylvania drivers with a DUI will pay the lowest average rates by far with USAA ($2,126) and Geico ($2,568). The highest rates for customers with a DUI record are from Liberty Mutual at $6,183 and Travelers at $9,974.
|Company||Clean record||With 1 speeding violation||With 1 accident||With 1 DUI|
|Liberty Mutual (as First Liberty Ins Corp)||$5,525.34||$6,183.64||$6,328.15||$6,183.64|
We also looked at how average insurance rates vary across 20 different cities in Pennsylvania. From most to least expensive, the ranking is as follows: Philadelphia ($7,482), Chester ($5,723), Pittsburgh ($4,323), Reading ($4,322), Allentown ($4,300), Wilkes-Barre ($4,217), Erie ($4,147), Bethlehem ($4,043), Scranton ($4,032), Easton ($3,990), Hazleton ($3,956), McKeesport ($3,947), Harrisburg ($3,894), Johnstown ($3,829), Altoona ($3,855), New Castle ($3,781), Sharon ($3,766), York ($3,688), Lancaster ($3,585), Lebanon ($3,547). While all of these rates are much higher than the statewide average, rates can vary considerably in less populated areas.
Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements
Pennsylvania has specific minimum car insurance coverage requirements. First is bodily injury liability coverage, which has a minimum coverage amount of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per crash. Next is property damage liability coverage. This coverage starts at $5,000. In some states, uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage are considered the same thing, but not in Pennsylvania. Each is required with a minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per crash. However, the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage requirement may be waived at the driver’s request. Finally, Pennsylvania requires first party benefits medical payments coverage of $5,000 or more.
When shopping for car insurance in Pennsylvania, you must also consider whether you prefer full tort or limited tort coverage. Limited tort means that if another driver injures you in an accident, you may not be allowed to sue that driver for damages related to pain and suffering, though you can still sue to recover actual financial losses incurred by the accident. This restriction applies mainly to medical payments. Suing to recover losses related to vehicle damage is unrestricted.
If you choose limited tort, you must sign paperwork to confirm that you understand the restrictions on this type of auto coverage. According to some law firms in Pennsylvania, choosing limited tort auto insurance in Pennsylvania can shave about 15 percent off your premiums.
Cheapest Car Insurance in Pennsylvania
The cheapest types of coverage in Pennsylvania are low coverage and low mileage. Opting for these two types of insurance should save you the most money.
USAA is the least expensive company for low coverage, at $1,662. Geico is next, at $2,375. State Farm ($2,566), Nationwide ($2,813), Allstate ($3,794), Progressive ($4,058), Liberty Mutual ($5,760) and Travelers ($7,896) round out the list.
There are a couple of other factors that can help you get cheaper coverage in Pennsylvania. First, decide whether limited tort coverage is worth the savings. You have to consider whether saving money now is worth giving up your ability to recover damages in court if you are seriously injured in an accident you did not cause. You can also consider moving to a less expensive area or getting a less expensive car, but your ability to save money through these strategies depends a lot on your current circumstances.
Why Car Insurance Rates Vary in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is not unlike other states that have higher car insurance rates for drivers in urban areas and drivers perceived to be of higher risk. That is because urban areas have a higher likelihood of traffic accidents and typically have higher rates of car-related crime. When auto insurance companies provide quotes based on your zip code, they check your zip code for the frequency and types of insurance claims common in your area.
Car insurance rates also vary based on your perceived risk, which is based on data collected and analyzed by insurance companies. It looks a lot like the factors analyzed above, including driving record, age, gender, and marital status.
Pennsylvania has the additional factor of full tort or limited tort insurance, which affects rates based on customer choice.
How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in Pennsylvania
Two of the easiest ways to get the cheapest car insurance in Pennsylvania are to get only the minimum required coverage and to opt for a limited-tort policy. Although choosing these coverage types will lower your premiums, you could end up paying more in the long run if you are in an accident.
Next, check to see if you qualify for any common car insurance discounts, either from your current insurance company or from a competitor. A very common discount is a bundling or multipolicy discount that you get from having more than one policy with the same company, like multiple vehicles, homeowners insurance, or renters insurance. See if you or anyone in your household qualifies for good driver discounts or student discounts. Teachers, active military members, and military veterans often get car insurance discounts from major carriers. You can check to see if you qualify for a group rate through your employer or through a group or club you’re affiliated with. These are called affinity discounts.
Check to see if your specific vehicle qualifies for any discounts. For example, some insurers will offer you a break if your car comes equipped with a theft deterrent or a theft tracking device.
Opting in to a tracking device is an increasingly popular way to potentially get a discount on car insurance. Several companies offer potential discounts in exchange for using a tracking device or a smartphone app that measures and analyzes your driving habits. It can measure your driving habits, how often you drive, and how far you drive. Driving habits include rates of acceleration and braking, which can indicate whether or not you tend to drive recklessly. This might sound tempting, especially if you consider yourself a good driver, but you give up a lot of privacy to participate in such a program. Furthermore, whether or not you get a discount with these programs is up to the insurance company. Insurance companies usually reserve the right to actually raise your rates if they think your driving habits make you a bigger risk.
There are a few other common discounts you can check for as well. See if your insurance company will give you a discount if you pay upfront or if you opt in to paperless billing or automatic billing. Some approved defensive driver or driver training courses might save you some money. If you don’t drive often, see if you qualify for a low mileage discount.
Start with your current insurance company to find discounts you qualify for, but it may also pay off to shop around and get quotes from competitors, even if they don’t all offer the same discounts.
Important Laws Around Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania
Let’s take a look at some Pennsylvania laws about auto insurance, as well as common causes of accidents in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Driving Laws and Punishments
Driving laws and penalties can vary from state to state, and moving violations and other offenses can result in higher auto insurance rates.
Texting While Driving and Distracted Driver Laws in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania prohibits a driver from sending, reading, or writing a text-based communication on a mobile device while the vehicle is in motion. The penalty is a $50 fine, plus court costs and other fees.
DUI Laws in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent. Pennsylvania has three tiers of DUI. A BAC of .08 to .099 percent is rated general impairment. A high BAC is from .10 to .159 percent, and the highest BAC category is .16 percent or higher. If any driver is involved in an accident that injures someone or causes property damage, Pennsylvania’s DUI law may subject the driver to high BAC penalties even if their BAC doesn’t fall under the high category. Furthermore, those suspected of a DUI who refuse to cooperate with testing may be penalized under the highest BAC tier.
If you are determined to be under general impairment and have no prior DUI offenses, the penalties are an ungraded misdemeanor, up to six months of probation, a $300 fine, alcohol highway safety school, and treatment when ordered. Those with one prior DUI offense face an ungraded misdemeanor, a 12-month license suspension, five days to six months of jail time, a $300 to $2,500 fine, alcohol highway safety school, treatment when ordered, and a one-year ignition interlock. With two or more previous DUI offenses, offenders face a second-degree misdemeanor, a 12-month license suspension, 10 days to two years in prison, a $500 to $5,000 fine, treatment when ordered, and a one-year ignition interlock.
Offenders at the high BAC level and no prior DUI offenses face an ungraded misdemeanor, a 12-month license suspension, 48 hours to six months’ prison time, a $500 to $5,000 fine, alcohol highway safety school, and treatment when ordered. One prior DUI will result in an ungraded misdemeanor, a 12-month license suspension, 30 days to six months in prison, a $750 to $5,000 fine, alcohol highway safety school, treatment when ordered, and a one-year ignition interlock. For two or more DUI offenses, offenders face a first-degree misdemeanor, an 18-month license suspension, 90 days to five years in prison, a $1,500 to $10,000 fine, treatment when ordered, and a one-year ignition interlock. This level adds a category for three or more previous DUI offenses, consisting of a first-degree misdemeanor, an 18-month license suspension, between one and five years in prison, a $1,500 to $10,000 fine, treatment when ordered, and a one-year ignition interlock.
Finally, offenders at the highest BAC level, which also includes controlled substances, face their own set of punishments. Those with no prior DUI offenses face an ungraded misdemeanor, a 12-month license suspension, 72 hours to six months in prison, a $1,000 to $5,000 fine, alcohol highway safety school, and treatment when ordered. Offenders with one prior DUI offense face a first-degree misdemeanor, an 18-month license suspension, 90 days to five years in prison, a $1,500 to $10,00 fine, alcohol highway safety school, treatment when ordered, and a one-year ignition interlock. Those with two or more prior DUI offenses face a first-degree misdemeanor, an 18-month license suspension, one to five years’ prison time, a fine of $2,500 to $10,000, treatment when ordered, and a one-year ignition interlock.
Uninsured Motorist Laws in Pennsylvania
A 2017 report from the Insurance Information Institute revealed that in 2015, 13 percent of motorists across the country were uninsured. Estimates put the number of uninsured motorists in Pennsylvania at 7 percent, which is lower than the national average but still a risk. Before you decide to waive uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, make sure you can afford to cover your losses if you are hit by a driver who cannot compensate you.
Uninsured motorists in Pennsylvania face stiff penalties, including fines, a revoked driver’s license, and a revoked vehicle registration.
Pennsylvania Car Insurance FAQs
Is car insurance required in Pennsylvania?
Yes, car insurance is required in Pennsylvania. Specifically, carrying liability insurance is a mandatory. To comply with state law, your policy must have a minimum coverage limit of $15,000 for injury or death of one person, $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person, and $5,000 for damage to property of another person. Furthermore, the state requires coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists, though drivers can request a waiver.
Which cars are required to be insured in Pennsylvania?
Drivers must have liability insurance for all registered cars, vans, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, trucks, and buses.
When should I get car insurance in Pennsylvania?
You should be prepared to get car insurance in Pennsylvania when you register a vehicle. You should also have insurance before driving the vehicle on public roads.
What happens if my car is not properly insured in Pennsylvania?
If your car is not properly insured in Pennsylvania, your driver’s license and vehicle registration will be revoked. There is a $300 fine for driving without insurance, and when your license and registration are reinstated after a three-month suspension, you’ll pay $88 for each. You can opt to pay an additional $500 civil penalty to avoid having your vehicle registration revoked, though you’ll have to provide proof of insurance to exercise this option, and it won’t stop your license from being suspended. This option may be used only once in a 12-month period.
If your lapse in insurance coverage is less than 31 days and you can prove the vehicle was not driven during that time, the state Department of Transportation will waive the penalty.
Is Pennsylvania a no-fault state?
Most states are either an at-fault or a no-fault state. In a no-fault state, each driver’s insurance is responsible for covering medical treatment and other financial losses caused by the accident, up to each driver’s coverage limits. This happens regardless of who caused the accident. In an at-fault state, a driver who was hit in an accident can sue the driver who caused the accident.
It’s a little more complicated than that in Pennsylvania. As mentioned earlier in this piece, drivers in Pennsylvania can opt for full tort or limited tort car insurance coverage, effectively making Pennsylvania a “choice” no-fault state. That is, based on whether you choose full tort or limited tort auto insurance coverage, you are effectively choosing whether you are abiding by at-fault or no-fault insurance rules. With full tort coverage, which gives you the right to sue for pain and suffering, it’s similar to the way insurance works in an at-fault state. Limited tort coverage, which restricts your ability to go after certain types of damages, is similar to no-fault rules.
Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania requires uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. A lot of states treat uninsured and underinsured motorists as the same thing, but Pennsylvania is an exception and expects motorists to carry enough auto insurance to be prepared for both scenarios. However, the state also allows motorists to request to waive this coverage. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are not available as standalone policies. You should expect to bundle this coverage with your required liability coverage.
Pennsylvania’s minimums for uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for each type of coverage. Before you request to waive this coverage, consider why you might need it. About 7 percent of drivers on the road in Pennsylvania are uninsured. That is lower than the nationwide average of 13 percent, but it still poses a considerable risk. If you are ever hit by someone who is uninsured or who does not carry enough coverage to compensate you for your losses, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage will help you out.
Is liability insurance required in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania requires motorists to carry two types of liability coverage: bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury liability coverage minimums are at least $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. The minimum for property damage liability coverage is $5,000. These minimums required by the state may not adequately cover you if you cause a serious crash, which could put you at risk of being sued for additional damages. That is why many insurance companies and law firms recommend that you consider carrying more than the minimum liability coverage.
If you let your insurance policy lapse, your insurance company notifies the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. If you drive without proper insurance in Pennsylvania and are caught, the penalties are steep. You’ll pay a fine of $300 for driving uninsured, your driver’s license will be suspended for three months, and your car’s registration will be suspended for three months. You will have to pay $88 each to reinstate your license and car registration at the end of the suspension. However, you can pay an additional $500 fee to waive the vehicle registration suspension if, for example, other licensed drivers in your household plan to insure and drive the vehicle. These penalties apply for the first offense as well as subsequent offenses.
Does Pennsylvania accept digital insurance cards?
Digital insurance cards are a relatively new and convenient way to ensure you have your insurance information available at all times, but they’re not available or accepted in every state. Digital insurance cards usually take the form of a smartphone app provided by your insurance company. They are accepted in Pennsylvania, and this service is offered by most major insurance companies. If you live in Pennsylvania and want to use a digital insurance card, check with your auto insurance company to see if this feature is available.