Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Pennsylvania requires at least $5,000 of property damage coverage on your auto insurance policy for property damage to another driver’s vehicle for an accident in which you are at fault. You can elect to maintain a higher amount of coverage

Property Damage Coverage:
Property damage is only available against the other driver’s policy and is based upon fault. In other words, you do not have property damage for yourself on your own policy; it is only there to reimburse someone else if you cause damage, much like liability limits for personal injuries. If someone causes you damage, you would make a claim against their property damage coverage, not against your own, as your own is not available to you as a first party benefit. (You can have collision coverage and make a claim against that coverage, which is discussed below.) The claim can be made for the fair market value of the vehicle up to the maximum of the coverage chosen by the insured driver.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage:
These optional coverages offer you additional protection against different damage. Collision coverage applies to damage caused by an auto accident, minus your deductible. Comprehensive coverage applies to damage caused by other incidents such as theft or falling branches, minus a deductible.

If your car has been damaged in an auto accident caused by another driver, the easiest approach is to make the claim directly against their auto policy if the insurance company is accepting 100% liability. Then it is just a matter of negotiating the fair market value of the vehicle.

If, on the other hand, there is a disagreement over liability, sometimes it is best to make the claim against your own policy, IF you have collision coverage. Then your company pays you for the damge, minus your deductible. What then happens is that your insurance company makes a claim against the policy of the other driver which is resolved by way of an intercompany arbitration, where it is decided what percentage of negligence on the part of each driver caused the accident. If you were 0% liabile then you would get the deductible returned to you at that time. If it is found that you were partly at fault, your insurance company does have the right to refund your deductible at a prorated amount.

The “made whole” doctrine “requires that an insured recover the full amount of his losses before his insurer may demand reimbursement for any payments previously made to the insured under an insurance policy.” Harnick, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43126 at *9. Jones v. Nationwide , 2010 PA Super 90 (2008) http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Superior/out/a05017_10.pdf

Property damage is usually resolved without litigation, even where there are personal injuries for which a claim is later made by way of a lawsuit. Additional damages such as rental car expenses and towing/storage costs are covered immediately if the other driver has this coverage or under your own policy.

In PA, the general rule is that the insurance carrier or the defendant need only pay the cost of repair or the cost of replacement value on the vehicle, whichever is less. It is general wisdom that when the repair cost exceeds 80% of the value of the car, it will be totaled. The most common method to value the car is the “blue book” and other online resources below:

Kelley Blue Book http://www.kbb.com/

Sometimes you can keep the totaled vehicle by agreement with the adjuster. They may want to pay less, which represents the fair salvage value of the car. However, you may want the car because you know someone who can repair it for use.Some states require a certificate to show that a vehicle has been previously totaled.

People are often confronted with the situation that they still owe more on the car loan than what is being paid out as the fair market value of the car. The best way to insure against this is to purchase gap coverage when you buy the car. Gap coverage would pay the difference between the outstanding balance on the loan and the fair market value at the time of accident.

Once the damage on a vehicle has been assessed and a market value has been established, the PIP carrier will want to settle quickly to cut their costs for storage of the vehicle.

The standard policy will be a set amount of money per day for "up to 30 days of use." Once a settlement has been reached for property damage, the rule of thumb is to allow use of a rental car for 3 to 4 days after settlement. This is a bit flexible and may depend on the individual adjuster and circumstances. However, the fact that a policy states that a rental car will be covered for up to 30 days does not mean that the full 30 days will always be allowed.

The defendant is responsible for reasonable rental while Plaintiff has the damaged vehicle repaired. Sometimes, you can negotiate payment for rental up front with the adjuster. Sometimes, they will attempt to limit the time period. If you cannot get full coverage, you may have to cover the cost yourself and claim as damages later the amount you had to put out for rental. If you have your own rental provision in your first party coverage, it may be better to use that and then let your carrier go to the defendant for subrogation.


  1. In this kind of case you really need to have a good lawyer. They can do all the things that you need to do. Thank you for sharing this post.

  2. Great Blog!! That was amazing. Your thought processing is wonderful. The way you tell the thing is awesome. You are really a master.

    Insurance Agency Framingham MA

  3. I’m glad to find so many useful and informative data on your website.

  4. Most people which acquire insurance Agents coverage by a agent don't understand that the majority of agencies on the market do love their customers. On the list of big problems I've discovered over the last 20 -five many years in your promises side connected with insurance coverage is actually that after agencies increase from time to time the private effect side of the enterprise may be tough to keep up.

  5. You have shared the best blog. This is what I really need immediately.car insurance quotes

  6. If you're in the Wilmington, MA area or if you live in the surrounding communities you should not be paying top dollar for car insurance. Learn more about your options when it comes to car insurance in Wilmington MA and request a free instant-quote from Marchionne Insurance, one of the top local providers in Massachusetts.

    Hope this helps!

  7. Very informative post. I'd also like to mention that if you are looking for great car insurance in Gardner MA check out Foster Insurance. They have a great team that will help you through claim process like these.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. It is always important to know who is to blame for the accident. A lot of time, nerves and money can be saved because you know the right information. I certainly got the right information from the car insurance company in Norwood MA that I got my insurance from.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Great post. It is extremely difficult to find a car insurance company that will stand by you and always be on your side. Fortunately I was able to find a great company that provides exceptional car insurance in Assonet MA. Hadley Insurit Group is one of the best local agencies I've worked with and I would strongly recommend them to anyone in need of a new insurance policy.

    - Amelia

  13. This is definitely true. Pennsylvania drivers must carry minimum auto insurance before they can register or drive their vehicles. While it is mandatory, the auto insurance will protect drivers from liability they may incur if they’re in an accident.

    If you're in need of a business insurance, life insurance, auto insurance or home insurance in Reading MA> or its neighboring cities, I highly recommend Gilbert Insurance. Check out their site for more details.

  14. Normally, in a lawsuit of this size, the court will try liability first, and then hold a series of trials on damages for each one of the victims. At this time, there are 25 victims listed in the suit. Each will be entitled to a separate trial on damages. Read Full Report