Penalties For Driving Without Insurance In Pennsylvania


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: DECEMBER 13, 2022 | 3 MIN READ

Driving without insurance is never a good thing. When someone gets caught driving illegally without insurance, different states have their own unique set of fines and penalties they enforce to discourage motorists from doing it again. Furthermore, insurance companies will financially penalize any driver who has a coverage lapse on their driving record.

Pennsylvania has a unique way of handling motorists caught driving without insurance. We will get into the details down below. But most motorists can easily afford the bare minimum liability coverage required to drive legally and avoid the hassle. That coverage consists of:

  • Bodily injury per person: $15,000
  • Bodily injury per accident: $30,000
  • Property damage liability: $5,000
  • First-party benefits (personal injury protection): $5,000

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not require drivers who get caught driving without insurance to file an SR-22 certificate once they obtain coverage. Neither does the state force, uninsured motorists to serve time in jail. But there is a high likelihood that a convicted driver will lose both their license and the ability for anyone else to drive their vehicle for several months.

Type of OffenseLicense and/or Registration Suspended?Jail TimeSR-22 RequirementsMaximum Fines
No Proof of Insurance (Can Prove Coverage)NoNoNoCan be dismissed with proof of insurance
1st Offense With No CoverageBothNoNo$300
Repeat Offense (No Coverage)BothNoNo$300

License and/or registration suspensions for the type of offense

If a driver gets caught driving without insurance in Pennsylvania, their driver’s license and vehicle registration will be suspended for three months. This means that the driver can’t drive any other motor vehicle and that the driver’s vehicle must stay off the road also (nobody else can drive it for them).

Jail time for each type of offense

Drivers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that driving without insurance will not land them in jail, no matter how many times they violate this law. 

SR-22 requirements

Pennsylvania motorists who drive without insurance are also off the hook when it comes to SR-22 insurance. The state doesn’t require drivers with serious violations on their records to carry this certificate. 

Fines and fees for each type of offense

Pennsylvania treats the first offense and repeat offenses the exact same way. The fines and restoration fees a motorist will have to pay to have their license and registration reinstated at the end of the three-month suspension will be at least $300 (per offense). Alternatively, a driver could pay a $500 civil penalty to skip the three-month suspension if they have the money and can’t afford to wait that long.

Appealing fines

Motorists caught driving despite a lapse in their insurance coverage have no legal recourse – they will have to pay their fines and/or fees no matter what. But if a driver who had insurance at the time they were ticketed failed to prove it, there’s hope. They have five days to bring their proof of insurance to court if they want to get everything dismissed.

Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Minimum Requirements for Insurance

The minimum insurance requirements for driving legally in Pennsylvania are bodily injury and property damage liability and first-party benefits (FPB) medical benefits coverage. The minimum coverage limits drivers must purchase for bodily injury liability are $15,00 per person/$30,000 per accident, and the minimum for property damage liability is $5,000 – which is also the minimum for FPB coverage.

Avoiding License Suspension After an Accident

A driver’s ability to avoid a license suspension depends on the length of their coverage lapse. If they can obtain proof of financial responsibility within 31 days of the first day of the coverage lapse (not within 31 days of being ticketed), they can get the suspension waived. If not, they will have to refrain from driving for three months or risk further legal consequences.

Scenarios When You Can Still Get Insurance in Pennsylvania  

Uninsured

Driving uninsured isn’t the end of the world for Pennsylvania motorists. Some auto insurance companies will still provide coverage for motorists who get caught driving during a coverage lapse – but they will charge at least 15% higher premiums. Those companies are:

  • GEICO
  • State Farm
  • Nationwide
  • USAA (for military members and their families)

High-Risk

Pennsylvania motorists with more than one driving violation could see their premiums spike by 33% or more. Drivers having trouble finding affordable coverage should contact the non-profit AIPSO or use their search tool to find local insurance providers who want to take on high-risk drivers.

Driving someone else’s car

It’s not technically illegal to drive someone else’s car if you don’t have insurance because the insurance policy follows the car, not the driver. Still, purchasing non-owner auto insurance coverage can protect you financially. You can get the best non-owner car insurance from:

  • The General
  • GEICO
  • Nationwide
  • State Farm

FAQs

Are there many uninsured drivers in Pennsylvania?

Truthfully, no, there are not. According to the Insurance Information Institute, fewer than 7% of Pennsylvania drivers on the road are currently experiencing a coverage lapse. 

How much does liability insurance cost in Pennsylvania?

The average liability auto insurance policy in Pennsylvania costs less than $450 per year. That means motorists can drive legally for as little as $38 per month! 

What happens if an uninsured driver causes an accident in Pennsylvania?

The injured party is within their legal right to sue the uninsured driver for damages in civil court. If the plaintiff wins, the uninsured driver could have their assets liquidated and their wages garnished in order to pay for the damages they caused. 

How To Get Pennsylvania Insurance After You’ve Been Caught Driving Without It

Any motorist who can prove they were insured at the time of their citation (or who can prove that their coverage lapse is less than 31 days old) won’t suffer legal consequences for driving without auto insurance in Pennsylvania.

For those who can’t, proof of insurance will be required in order to restore their suspended registration and license. Their insurance premiums will likely be anywhere from 15% – 33% more expensive after the fact, though. But using our comparison tools will help any driver get the best possible deal on car insurance in Pennsylvania.