In my last article, I explained automobile insurance coverage you must carry to drive legally in Pennsylvania. Today, I will talk about optional coverages.

The optional Physical damage coverages are Comprehensive coverage, Collision coverage, Emergency Road Service coverage and Car Rental and Travel Expenses coverage.

Comprehensive is the broadest coverage. It protects your vehicle for loss from everything but collision. Examples would be theft, vandalism, windstorm, fire, flood, hailstorm and glass breakage.

Collision provides protection for loss if your vehicle is hit by another vehicle or your vehicle hits another object.

Emergency Road Service provides protection for loss if your vehicle breaks down. It will allow you to be towed to the nearest garage that can repair your vehicle. It will pay for changing of flat tires, having gasoline brought to you if you run out, and an hour’s worth of labor at the site to repair your vehicle.

Car Rental provides you with a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired because of a Comprehensive or Collision loss. Travel Expenses coverage will pay for travel expenses incurred by insureds as a result of a Comprehensive or Collision loss.

Deductibles (the dollar amount you must pay first) and limits will apply to Physical damage coverages.

The optional First Party coverages are Extraordinary Medical Payments, Loss of Income, Death, Dismemberment and Loss of Sight, Funeral Benefits, Uninsured Motor Vehicle and Underinsured Motor Vehicle.

Extraordinary Medical Payments provides for medical expense for bodily injury to an insured, caused by an accident arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle. It has a lifetime aggregate limit of $1 million for those reasonable medical expenses that exceed $100,000.

Loss of Income will pay income loss benefits with respect to bodily injury to an insured, arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle.

Death, Dismemberment, Loss of Sight and Funeral Benefits speak for themselves.

Uninsured Motor Vehicle coverage will pay compensatory damages for bodily injury an insured is legally entitled to recover from the owner or driver of an uninsured motor vehicle. In the simplest of terms, if someone operating a vehicle with no insurance causes you or a family member bodily injury, you can use this coverage to recover your loss.

Underinsured Motor Vehicle coverage will pay compensatory damages for bodily injury an insured is legally entitled to recover from the owner or driver of an underinsured motor vehicle. If someone operating a vehicle with the state minimums 15/30/5 causes you or a family member bodily injury, and your injuries exceed the amounts you can recover from them, you can use this coverage to recover your loss.

First party coverages are sold with different limits and should be discussed with your insurance agent.

In my next article, I will discuss how to choose Limits and Deductibles for mandatory and optional coverages.

Bob Hollick is a State Farm Insurance agent based in Washington.

To submit columns on financial planning, investing or business-related matters, email Rick Shrum at rshrum@observer-reporter.com.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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