What to do in case of an accident
Automobile Insurance Terms
Collision. Comprehensive. Full Tort. Limited Tort. What do these terms-and
others-really mean? Are they necessary for your auto insurance
Some coverages are required by various states. Others aren't mandatory,
but are simply a good idea to protect you and those you care about.
Use this information to find the coverage that's right for you-and
COLLISION Often required by lenders if you have
financed or leased your car, this coverage pays for damage to your vehicle
caused by an auto accident.
(OTHER THAN COLLISION) Pays for damage resulting from causes other
than collision. These can include such things as vandalism or even natural
disasters. Once again if you have a car loan, your lender may require you to
carry this coverage.
Injury) If you're responsible for injuring someone in an auto
accident, this protection pays your legal defense if you are sued and may pay
monetary damages for injuries to injured persons up to the limit of liability
Damage) If you are held liable for damaging someone's Property or
vehicle, this coverage pays any claims against you, as well as covering your
legal defense costs up to the limits of liability you select.
UNINSURED MOTORISTS Covers you and your passengers
for injury or damage in the event you're involved in an accident with a
motorist who has no auto insurance and is legally liable for your injuries.
Also protects you if you're victimized by a hit-and-run driver.
UNDERINSURED MOTORISTS protection pays you in the
event you're injured by someone who is legally liable for your injuries and
whose limits of liability are insufficient to cover your injuries or
DEDUCTIBLE This is a dollar
amount you choose that you must pay toward repairs or other costs before your
auto insurance will begin to cover a loss. If you select a $500 deductible on
your collision or comprehensive coverage, you'd pay the first $500 for any
repair work made necessary by a collision, and the insurance would pay the
remaining charges. In general, the higher your deductible, the lower your
FULL TORT vs.
Full Protection vs. Almost No Protection
important aspect of your automobile insurance policy is your choice of limited
tort coverage or full tort coverage. While your insurance policy generally
provides for payment of your liabilities to-others and coverage for some of
your own losses, the choice between full and limited tort is really unrelated
to coverage issues but instead is an election of your legal rights.
means private or civil wrong or injury. It is a wrongful act for
which you have the right to sue. It is not as serious as a crime but more
serious than a mere incivility. Negligent driving is a tort.
not you remember, you have chosen a full tort option or a limited tort option
under your existing insurance policy. If you selected the full tort option, you
have the right to sue anyone whose negligence relating to the use of an
automobile has injured you. You may sue for any of your uninsured or uncovered
medical expenses or lost wages. You may also sue for your pain and suffering,
for other economic losses, and for the permanent or continuing limitations on
your activities and income that may result over the long term from your
If you elected the limited tort option, you cannot sue someone
who negligently injures you in an automobile accident unless you seek only
actual out-of-pocket losses. You cannot sue to recover compensation for your
pain and suffering or future limitations unless your injuries led to serious
impairment of a body function, permanent and serious disfigurement, or death.
The most recent Pennsylvania court decisions set a very high threshold
for determining when an injury is serious. These recent court decisions make it
very difficult if not almost impossible for most people who have opted for
limited tort coverage to recover compensation for their pain and suffering or
future limitations if they are injured in an automobile accident.
are a few specific exceptions to your relinquishment of rights under the
limited tort option. You can still sue if the negligent driver was drunk, was
driving an out-of-state vehicle, injured you intentionally, or was uninsured.
You can also sue if you were an occupant of a vehicle that is not a private
passenger car or if you are suing a business responsible for a motor vehicle
defect that caused your injury.
Your election of the limited tort option
limits the rights of all members of your household unless they have their own
separate insurance policies.
In deciding whether to opt for limited or
full tort coverage, pay careful attention to the difference in the costs of the
policies. Be sure to carefully consider whether the small reduction in your
insurance premiums justifies your relinquishment of very important legal
rights. We urge you to select full tort coverage for you and your loved