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You may have heard these terms during your last discussion with your insurance agent. While the choice of limited or full tort does have an effect on your monthly premiums, it is important to know the difference in coverage each provides before making a decision. So, what’s the difference between limited and full tort?

What Does Tort Mean?

First off, it is helpful to know what tort means. Tort is defined as a wrongful act, not including breach of contract, that results in injury to another’s person, property, or reputation, for which the injured party is entitled compensation. Simply put, tort refers to your right to sue for compensation in the result of an accident. If you are in an accident, you would be able to sue for non-medical injuries, such as pain and suffering, or other expenses. There are 38 states (Pennsylvania included) that operate under a tort based system, where you are given the option of limited or full tort.

Limited Tort

While limited tort may seem appealing, due to the lower cost on your monthly premium, selecting this option means you are “limiting” your right to sue for pain and suffering caused by an accident. The only claims you would be able to make would be to cover your medical expenses directly related to the injuries you sustain from the accident. You are limited to only being able to sue for “serious injury”, as defined in your auto insurance policy, which typically includes death, dismemberment, permanent disability, or significant deformity. For example, if someone hits your car, breaking your leg, you may be forced to miss work, but you would not be able to sue the other driver for compensation, as a broken leg is not considered a serious injury, you would only be able to make a claim to cover your medical expenses. Often in the case of auto accidents, saving a small amount each month on your premium does not outweigh the damages caused as a result.

Full Tort

Your other option is full tort, which does not limit your right to sue for pain and suffering to only serious injury. This option does come with a higher monthly premium, but the difference is often not substantial for more experienced drivers.  With full tort, in the result of an accident, you would be able to sue for compensation, up to the limit of the at fault driver’s liability coverage, if you experience a loss of wages or mental anguish due to the injuries you sustain as a result.


While limited tort does offer immediate savings, it could leave you with a lower quality of life as the result of an accident, and those savings might not be the best choice in the long run. It is recommended that you carry full tort coverage, if possible, to better protect yourself if you are injured in an accident. If you have any questions or would like to discuss these options further, please call 724-929-2300 to speak with one of our insurance experts who will help you find the right coverage for you at the best price possible. They would be happy to discuss your options and answer any questions you have regarding the tort system or your current policy in general.