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Auto Insurance Myths and Realities

In Pennsylvania, you are required by law to carry auto insurance. Auto insurance may be complicated and confusing at times. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department wants you to know the facts - not the myths - about your auto insurance.

1. Myth: I have a grace period beyond the due date on my auto insurance bill.

Fact: Pennsylvania law does not require companies to give you a grace period. If you don't pay your auto insurance on time, a company can cancel your insurance.

2. Myth: I can buy insurance for any type of car.

Fact: Insurance companies do not have to sell you insurance for all types of vehicles. Check on the availability of insurance before you buy a vehicle.

3. Myth: If I am in an accident, my insurance company will automatically pay for a rental car until my car is fixed.

Fact: If you have rental car coverage then your insurance company will pay up to the amount of coverage you purchased for the amount of time it takes to get your car repaired. You must act promptly to get your car repaired and you may have to pay the difference between the cost of the rental car and the amount of your coverage.

4. Myth: If I pay the bill, my auto insurance rate will be based on my driving record.

Fact: All driving records in a household are used to determine your insurance rate no matter who pays the bill. Also, other factors affect rates, including geographical location; age and nature of the vehicles insured; and coverages selected.

5. Myth: If my car is totaled, my settlement will be based on full replacement cost of the vehicle.

Fact: A consumer's settlement is based on actual cash value at the time of the loss which may not be equal to replacement cost.

6. Myth: If an insurance agent gives me a quote on my insurance premium, that's what I will be charged.

Fact: An insurance company may only use a rate which has been approved by the Insurance Department. An agent's quote is an estimate of your premium and is not validated until after the company reviews your driver's profile and operating history.

7. Myth: The Pennsylvania Insurance Department can resolve any consumer problem.

Fact: Department employees do their very best to help citizens solve their insurance problems, but they can only enforce existing insurance laws and regulations.

Remember, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has an Erie Regional Office which you can call if you have insurance questions. They will be glad to answer any questions or investigate complaints which you may have. The office is located at P.O. Box 6142, 808 Renaissance Center, Erie, PA 16512, and the telephone number is 814/871-4466. Consumers may also log onto the Insurance Department’s website at  2/18