Full Coverage vs. Full Tort Insurance

Full Coverage vs. Full Tort Insurance

blue car smallThe Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) took effect in Pennsylvania in July of 1990. It created the concept of limited tort and allowed consumers to select that coverage on their auto policies. Although we have been governed by this law for over 25 years, it still is a source of great confusion for most consumers.

One particular problem I have experienced with many clients is the confusion between “full tort” and “full coverage.” Understanding the distinctions between these terms can make a real difference in a potential recovery for accident victims.

What is Full Coverage?

“Full Coverage” is not defined in the law, but to consumers the term typically has meant that your auto policy includes collision coverage. In other words, your policy includes coverage to replace or repair the insured vehicle when it is damaged in an accident, even if the accident was entirely your fault. Your policy can also include comprehensive coverage, which will provide for repair or replacement of a vehicle which becomes damaged, but not by operation of the vehicle (namely, theft, fire, a falling branch, etc.). Many people opt not to purchase collision coverage because it is typically the most expensive coverage, particularly when the insured vehicle is older and the policy payment is less.

What is Full Tort?

“Full Tort,” on the other hand, refers to the ability of the insured to pursue a claim for injuries without restriction in the event of an accident. Thus, a policy may have both full tort and full coverage. Conversely, it may have neither. The two terms are distinct and should not be interchanged. You need not include collision coverage on your policy, but you should not confuse this with whether or not you have a full tort election.

To learn more about “full tort” versus “limited tort” car insurance, please read our article on Understanding Car Insurance Coverage. If you were in an accident in which you suffered injuries, call our office for a free consultation.

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