§ 1786. Required financial responsibility.
Additional penalty: 3 month suspension of vehicle registration, per Title 75 – §1786(d)(1)
– No conviction if proof of financial responsibility is produced at office of issuing authority within 5 days of violation, per Title 75 – §1786(g)(1)
Suspension of 3 months if owner operated or permitted operation of a non-insured vehicle, per Title 75 – §1786(d)(1).
§ 1786. Required financial responsibility.
(a) General rule.–Every motor vehicle of the type required to be registered under this title which is operated or currently registered shall be covered by financial responsibility.
(b) Self-certification.–The Department of Transportation shall require that each motor vehicle registrant certify that the registrant is financially responsible at the time of registration or renewal thereof. The department shall refuse to register or renew the registration of a vehicle for failure to comply with this requirement or falsification of self-certification.
(c) Consent to produce proof of financial responsibility.–Upon registering a motor vehicle or renewing a motor vehicle registration, the owner of the motor vehicle shall be deemed to have given consent to produce proof, upon request, to the Department of Transportation or a police officer that the vehicle registrant has the financial responsibility required by this chapter.
(d) Suspension of registration and operating privilege.–
(1) The Department of Transportation shall suspend the registration of a vehicle for a period of three months if it determines the required financial responsibility was not secured as required by this chapter and shall suspend the operating privilege of the owner or registrant for a period of three months if the department determines that the owner or registrant has operated or permitted the operation of the vehicle without the required financial responsibility. The operating privilege shall not be restored until the restoration fee for operating privilege provided by section 1960 (relating to reinstatement of operating privilege or vehicle registration) is paid.
(2) Whenever the department revokes or suspends the registration of any vehicle under this chapter, the department shall not restore the registration until the vehicle owner furnishes proof of financial responsibility in a manner determined by the department and submits an application for registration to the department, accompanied by the fee for restoration of registration provided by section 1960. This subsection shall not apply in the following circumstances:
(i) The owner or registrant proves to the satisfaction of the department that the lapse in financial responsibility coverage was for a period of less than 31 days and that the owner or registrant did not operate or permit the operation of the vehicle during the period of lapse in financial responsibility.
(ii) The owner or registrant is a member of the armed services of the United States, the owner or registrant has previously had the financial responsibility required by this chapter, financial responsibility had lapsed while the owner or registrant was on temporary, emergency duty and the vehicle was not operated during the period of lapse in financial responsibility. The exemption granted by this paragraph shall continue for 30 days after the owner or registrant returns from duty as long as the vehicle is not operated until the required financial responsibility has been established.
(iii) The insurance coverage has terminated or financial responsibility has lapsed simultaneously with or subsequent to expiration of a seasonal registration, as provided in section 1307(a.1) (relating to period of registration).
(3) An owner whose vehicle registration has been suspended under this subsection shall have the same right of appeal under section 1377 (relating to judicial review) as provided for in cases of the suspension of vehicle registration for other purposes. The filing of the appeal shall act as a supersedeas, and the suspension shall not be imposed until determination of the matter as provided in section 1377. The court’s scope of review in an appeal from a vehicle registration suspension shall be limited to determining whether:
(i) the vehicle is registered or of a type that is required to be registered under this title; and
(ii) there has been either notice to the department of a lapse, termination or cancellation in the financial responsibility coverage as required by law for that vehicle or that the owner, registrant or driver was requested to provide proof of financial responsibility to the department, a police officer or another driver and failed to do so. Notice to the department of the lapse, termination or cancellation or the failure to provide the requested proof of financial responsibility shall create a presumption that the vehicle lacked the requisite financial responsibility. This presumption may be overcome by producing clear and convincing evidence that the vehicle was insured at all relevant times.
(4) Where an owner or registrant’s operating privilege has been suspended under this subsection, the owner or registrant shall have the same right of appeal under section 1550 (relating to judicial review) as provided for in cases of suspension for other reason. The court’s scope of review in an appeal from an operating privilege suspension shall be limited to determining whether:
(i) the vehicle was registered or of a type required to be registered under this title; and
(ii) the owner or registrant operated or permitted the operation of the same vehicle when it was not covered by financial responsibility. The fact that an owner, registrant or operator of the motor vehicle failed to provide competent evidence of insurance or the fact that the department received notice of a lapse, termination or cancellation of insurance for the vehicle shall create a presumption that the vehicle lacked the requisite financial responsibility. This presumption may be overcome by producing clear and convincing evidence that the vehicle was insured at the time that it was driven.
(5) An alleged lapse, cancellation or termination of a policy of insurance by an insurer may only be challenged by requesting review by the Insurance Commissioner pursuant to Article XX of the act of May 17, 1921 (P.L.682, No.284), known as The Insurance Company Law of 1921. Proof that a timely request has been made to the Insurance Commissioner for such a review shall act as a supersedeas, staying the suspension of registration or operating privilege under this section pending a determination pursuant to section 2009(a) of The Insurance Company Law of 1921 or, in the event that further review at a hearing is requested by either party, a final order pursuant to section 2009(i) of The Insurance Company Law of 1921.
(e) Obligations upon lapse, termination or cancellation of financial responsibility.–
(1) An owner of a motor vehicle who ceases to maintain financial responsibility on a registered vehicle shall not operate or permit operation of the vehicle in this Commonwealth until proof of the required financial responsibility has been provided to the Department of Transportation.
(2) An insurer who has issued a contract of motor vehicle liability insurance, or any approved self-insurance entity, shall notify the department in a timely manner and in a method prescribed by the department’s regulations. Upon request of an owner or registrant in the case of an appeal brought by an owner or registrant for suspension under this section, an insurer shall provide a copy of the notice of cancellation or a copy of the insurer’s filing procedures with proof that the notice was written in the normal course of business and placed in the normal course of mailing. The department shall not be required to produce such copy or any other proof that notice of termination, lapse or cancellation was provided to the owner or registrant in order to satisfy the burden of proof in a proceeding under this section.
(3) An insurer who has issued a contract of motor vehicle liability insurance and knows or has reason to believe that the contract is only for the purpose of providing proof of financial responsibility shall notify the department if the insurance has been canceled or terminated by the insured or by the insurer. The insurer shall notify the department not later than ten days following the effective date of the cancellation or termination.
(4) A person who, after maintaining financial responsibility on the vehicle of another person, ceases to maintain such financial responsibility shall immediately notify the vehicle’s owner who shall not operate, or permit operation of, the vehicle in this Commonwealth.
(5) In the case of a person who leases any motor vehicle from a person engaged in the business of leasing motor vehicles, the lessee shall sign a statement indicating that the required financial responsibility has been provided through the lessor or through the lessee’s motor vehicle liability insurance policy coverage. The lessee shall submit the statement to the lessor.
(f) Operation of a motor vehicle without required financial responsibility.–Any owner of a motor vehicle for which the existence of financial responsibility is a requirement for its legal operation shall not operate the motor vehicle or permit it to be operated upon a highway of this Commonwealth without the financial responsibility required by this chapter. In addition to the penalties provided by subsection (d), any person who fails to comply with this subsection commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $300.
(1) No person shall be convicted of failing to produce proof of financial responsibility under this subchapter or section 3743 (relating to accidents involving damage to attended vehicle or property) or 6308 (relating to investigation by police officers) if the person produces, at the office of the issuing authority within five days of the date of the violation, proof that he possessed the required financial responsibility at the time of the violation.
(2) No person shall be penalized for maintaining a registered motor vehicle without financial responsibility under subsection (d) if, at the time insurance coverage terminated or financial responsibility lapsed, the registration plate and card were voluntarily surrendered to the department, a full agent designated by the department to accept voluntarily surrendered registration plates and cards pursuant to regulations promulgated by the department or a decentralized service agent appointed by the department. If a seasonal registration, as provided in section 1307(a.1), has been issued for the vehicle, return of the registration plate and card shall be required only if the insurance coverage terminates or financial responsibility lapses prior to the expiration of the seasonal registration. The department, a full agent or the decentralized service agent, as the case may be, shall issue a receipt showing the date that the registration plate and card were received. The designated full agent or the decentralized service agent shall return the registration plate and card to the department accompanied by a copy of the receipt.
(Feb. 7, 1990, P.L.11, No.6, eff. July 1, 1990; Dec. 7, 1990, P.L.635, No.164, eff. imd.; Apr. 16, 1992, P.L.169, No.31, eff. 120 days; Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1247, No.165, eff. 60 days; July 2, 1993, P.L.408, No.58, eff. imd.; Feb. 10, 1994, P.L.10, No.2, eff. imd.; Dec. 7, 1994, P.L.820, No.115, eff. imd.; July 11, 1996, P.L.660, No.115, eff. 60 days; Dec. 9, 2002, P.L.1278, No.152, eff. 60 days)
2002 Amendment. Act 152 amended subsecs. (d) and (e)(2).
1996 Amendment. Act 115 amended subsec. (g)(2) and added subsec. (d)(3).
1994 Amendment. Act 115 amended subsecs. (g) and (h).