Surely at some point in your life you have driven out of your home state. Ever wondered if your car insurance follows you the same way it does in your home state? The answer may surprise you.
Each state has what is referred to as state minimums when it comes to auto insurance. These are the minimum liability and property damage limits allowed by the state, and believe it or not, each state is different. This means that your own coverage and the coverage of those around you can change with each state line you cross.
Let’s explain this a little deeper. Let’s say you are driving to Pennsylvania to visit some family next week. On the way to Grandma Sue’s, a distracted driver hits you. Your car is totaled. You’re late to Grandma Sue’s. But luckily, everyone is unharmed. Not luckily, though, this driver has the Pennsylvania state minimum coverage limits. In Indiana, state minimum would mean that driver’s policy would pay $10,000 toward replacing your vehicle. But, in Pennsylvania, this means the driver’s policy will only be paying $5,000 toward replacing your vehicle. Chances are, neither of those numbers are making you very comfortable. This brings us back to the information from the previous post about having uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Having this coverage as a part of your auto policy may be even more necessary when traveling out of state.
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. Let’s say someone from Pennsylvania is driving to Indiana to see Uncle Bob and his cornfield. He is in such a rush to see Uncle Bob that they blow through a red light and hit you, again totaling your vehicle. This time, you’re hurt. Really hurt. And so is your car. His state minimum coverage in Pennsylvania isn’t going to even begin covering your expenses. It will only pay $15,000 per person’s injuries, $30,000 liability for the whole accident and $5,000 for the car itself. But, because they were in Indiana territory, their coverage limits expanded to fit Indiana’s the second they crossed the state line. Now, their policy will pay $25,000 for bodily injury, $50,000 liability for the whole accident and $10,000 for the car itself. While state minimum coverages can expand from state to state, this is by no means adequate coverage for a devastating injury or loss. All this being said, this situation will never work the opposite way. Meaning, your coverage limits will never drop, only expand, when travelling into other states.
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