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Understanding Full and Limited Tort Coverage

February 4th, 2019
Car Insurance Papers and Car Keys

In Pennsylvania, there is a choice when it comes to selecting full or limited tort in an auto insurance policy. But, the tort coverage chosen – full or limited – can significantly impact your ability to seek compensation if injured in an accident. In fact, it’s one of the most important decisions to make when selecting or renewing automobile insurance.

Let’s start by defining a key term: tort. You’ve probably seen the term in the language of your insurance policy, but do you know what it means in plain English?

“A tort is something that allows you to sue for damages,” says David Pollick, personal injury attorney and managing partner at Dale E. Anstine. “Let’s call it what it is: limited right to sue and full right to sue.”

This is an important distinction to make; limited tort coverage may seem more attractive at first glance due to a slight decrease in the cost of the premium, but it can prove very expensive if an auto accident occurs.

Check out the video below to learn more about the differences between full and limited tort insurance and what it means to you if you’re injured in an accident.

What’s Covered: Full vs. Limited Tort

Here in Pennsylvania, full tort coverage reserves your right to sue for all damages, including non-medical expenses, lost wages and what is commonly called “pain and suffering” in a personal injury claim. With full tort coverage, there are no limitations placed on your ability to seek compensation.

With limited tort coverage, more distinctions come into play. Compensation for pain and suffering is confined to “serious injury,” which is defined as “death, significant deformity or impairment of body function.”* Under this narrow definition, broken bones and similar injuries, while painful, don’t meet the requirements. If you carry limited tort coverage on your insurance policy and are injured in an accident, you waive your right to compensation for pain and suffering unless you meet the legal definition of serious injury.

At Dale E. Anstine, we strongly recommend choosing the full tort coverage on an insurance policy. Choosing limited tort to save on your insurance premium is a risky proposition. Seeking compensation for your injuries after an accident should be your choice, not your insurance policy’s.  Be sure to read your policy closely and ask your insurance provider to explain any sections or language that’s unclear or confusing. If you’re still unsure about what your insurance policy covers, contact our office today. We’ll review your policy and explain what it means FREE of charge.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, reach out to the specialized accident and personal injury attorneys at Dale E. Anstine. Get an attorney on your side who has a full understanding of insurance policies and coverages to know what you may be facing in court. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community. Consultations are always free, we’re available 24/7, and there’s no fee unless we win for you.

*Chapter 17, Title 75, Consolidated Statues of Pennsylvania