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Property Damage & Car Accidents in Pennsylvania

Posted on May 10, 2022

If your car is damaged in a collision in Pennsylvania, you are entitled to recover compensation for its repair or replacement. Although not all accidents are reportable by law, filing an accident report may still be beneficial even if you sustained minor property damage and no injuries.

Is There a Minimum Amount of Damage Required To Report a Car Accident in PA?

In property damage only collisions in Pennsylvania, a car accident must be reported if the extent of damage or other traffic elements prevent a vehicle from being driven away from the scene. However, there is no minimum amount of damage required to report an accident that involves an injury or death. In other words, whenever someone is injured (no matter how minor) or killed in a crash, the police must be notified, and a Driver’s Accident Report must be filed. 

When law enforcement is called to the scene, a police officer will investigate and complete an accident report. However, you may be required to submit a supplemental report, but Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will request it when necessary. Suppose law enforcement does not investigate an accident that requires it. Under Section 3747(a) of Title 75, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes of the Vehicle Code, you must file a Driver’s Accident Report within five days of the collision. 

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Who Pays for Property Damage After a Car Accident?

Pennsylvania is a “choice” no-fault car insurance state. As a result, your no-fault coverage will pay for medical bills and expenses related to any injuries up to policy limits regardless of who caused the collision. However, whether your property damage is covered by your insurer will depend on if you carry collision coverage, which is optional. If you do not have collision coverage, you probably have the option to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer to cover the repairs or replacement of your vehicle. 

In regards to any injuries and if you have “limited tort” coverage, a claim against the at-fault driver is only possible when your injuries meet certain “serious injury” thresholds set by state law. If your policy has “full tort” coverage, you can pursue compensation from the at-fault driver for property damage and any other losses, no matter how minor your injuries are. 

What are Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Pennsylvania?

Drivers in Pennsylvania are required to carry the following minimum amounts of car insurance coverage: 

  • $5,000 in “medical benefits” coverage, pays your medical bills regardless of who was at fault.
  • $15,000 for bodily injury liability per person if you are at fault. 
  • $30,000 total bodily injury liability per accident if you are at fault.
  • $5,000 property damage protection per accident if you are at fault. 

In some cases, the costs of repairs or replacing your vehicle might exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits, especially if they only carry the minimum $5,000 in property damage protection. In that case, the at-fault driver may be personally responsible for the difference . However, if you carry optional coverage, such as collision coverage or Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance, you may still be able to pay for the full cost of the property damage you sustained under your policy.