• Cheap car insurance could leave drivers with big bill


    PITTSBURGH - There's a controversial part of Pennsylvania's auto insurance policy that could impact you if you ever get into an accident. It's called the minimum insurance requirement in the state for bodily injury per person, and some drivers told Channel 11 it is costing them a lot of money.

    Kevin Porter remembers every detail from a summer afternoon in 2015, when he left a business lunch and got rear-ended.

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    "A young boy got out and was all flustered and wanted to hand me cash," Porter said. "Because he didn't have a license. He was on his mom's insurance, which was minimal."

    The boy's $300 wasn't going to cover a totaled car and Porter's medical bills. He thought the boy's mother's insurance would help but found out that wasn't going to do much either.

    That's because of the minimum insurance requirement provision for Pennsylvania, which is $15,000. Since 1974, that's been the standard minimum in the state. 

    Here's what it means. If a driver buys an insurance policy with that minimum for bodily injury per person, that means their insurance only covers up to $15,000 if the driver they hit is injured. We took the issue to Mark Sisson, the vice president of insurance sales at AAA East Central.


    "From a state's perspective, they want people to be covered," Sisson said. "They want people to be insured."

    While Pennsylvania is one of only six states requiring $15,000 or less, Sisson said it can also help more people afford insurance. Only Florida and New Jersey require smaller minimums than that. State lawmakers tried to make a change in 2016 and again in 2018, but the bills failed in Harrisburg.
    So what can you do to protect yourself? 

    • Consider increasing your bodily injury coverage, which may only cost a few dollars.
    • Protect yourself from other drivers by getting better uninsured/underinsured coverage.
    • Read and understand your policy before an accident.

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