What is the Difference Between Limited Tort and Full Tort?

B. Miller
B. Miller
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

Full tort and limited tort are options that are offered on certain car insurance policies; not all car insurance companies give customers the option to choose limited tort, but it is important to understand the risks and benefits of this choice if it is offered. In car insurance, a policy with full tort allows the policy holder to sue the operator of the other vehicle in a car accident for damages related to pain and suffering, if that person was responsible for the accident. In limited tort, the policy holder waives his or her right to sue for pain and suffering, but other expenses related to injuries or property damages are still covered.

Limited tort and full tort are solely related to suing for damages for pain and suffering. As a result, many car insurance companies have made full tort an optional coverage for policy holders. Individuals are free to choose this coverage, or not, based on the likelihood that they will sue someone for pain and suffering if they are involved in a car accident. Many people choose limited tort coverage if it is available because it can help to reduce car insurance premiums by a certain percentage.

This percentage is usually no more than 10 or 15 percent, but it can vary among different car insurance companies. Opting out of full tort coverage will generally require policy holders to sign a form acknowledging that they have waived their coverage. If an individual changes his or her mind later on, full tort coverage can be added back on, typically by simply calling the company and paying the difference in premium. The option one chooses is a personal decision, though car insurance companies will often recommend choosing the full tort option for obvious reasons; people on a budget often find that limited tort is acceptable for them, however.

It is important to remember that this option will only come into play if an accident, caused by another person, causes you pain and suffering, and you decide to sue them for this mental or emotional distress. Actual injuries requiring medical treatment will generally be covered by car insurance policy no matter what tort option is chosen. Keep in mind that if the policy holder causes the accident, the tort options carried make no difference; they only apply to the policy holder's ability to sue the operator of the other vehicle that caused the accident.

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