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Full Tort vs. Limited Tort in Car Insurance: What's the Difference?

September 8, 2023

When it comes to car insurance, there are a plethora of options and choices to make. One of the fundamental decisions you’ll encounter is whether to opt for full tort or limited tort coverage. These options can significantly impact your ability to seek compensation after an accident. Let’s dive into the differences between the two, and help you make an informed decision that suits your needs and potentially saves you money down the road.

Full Tort vs. Limited Tort: What Are They?

Full Tort Coverage

Full tort coverage, often considered the “traditional” option, provides policyholders with the unrestricted right to sue for pain and suffering damages after a car accident. This means that, regardless of the severity of your injuries, you have the legal freedom to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You can seek compensation for a wide range of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Limited Tort Coverage

On the other hand, limited tort coverage comes with restrictions. When you choose limited tort insurance, you retain the right to sue for economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, but you typically waive your ability to sue for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, unless your injuries meet certain criteria. These criteria usually include severe injuries, such as permanent disfigurement, significant impairment of bodily function, or death.

The Pros and Cons

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of each option:

Full Tort Coverage


1. Full Compensation

You have the potential to receive compensation for the full spectrum of damages, including pain and suffering, providing greater financial security.

2. Flexibility

You can choose to file a lawsuit regardless of the severity of your injuries, giving you more control over your legal options.

3. Peace of Mind

Full tort coverage ensures you’re covered for all possible losses in the event of a severe accident.


1. Higher Premiums

Full tort coverage typically comes with higher monthly premiums, which can be a financial burden for some policyholders.

2. Potential for Lawsuits

While having the freedom to sue is an advantage, it can also lead to lengthy and costly legal battles.

Limited Tort Coverage


1. Lower Premiums

Limited tort policies generally have lower monthly premiums, helping you save money on your car insurance.

2. Stress Reduction

You may have less concern about potential lawsuits, as limited tort can discourage litigation for minor injuries.


1. Restricted Rights

You may forfeit your ability to seek compensation for pain and suffering, even if your injuries are more severe than initially anticipated.

2. Complex Criteria

Meeting the requirements to sue for non-economic damages under limited tort can be challenging and may involve legal disputes.

Which Option is Right for You?

Choosing between full tort and limited tort coverage depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Your Risk Tolerance

If you want to ensure maximum protection and are willing to pay higher premiums, full tort coverage may be the better choice.

2. Budgetary Constraints

Limited tort can be a cost-effective option, making it suitable for those on a tight budget.

3. Health Insurance

If you have comprehensive health insurance that covers accident-related medical expenses, limited tort coverage might suffice for your needs.

4. Anticipated Risk

Consider your driving habits and the likelihood of being involved in a severe accident. If you believe the risk is low, limited tort coverage may suffice.

In the full tort vs. limited tort debate, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Your choice should align with your financial situation, risk tolerance, and comfort level with potential legal processes. Take the time to carefully evaluate your options, and consider consulting with Sablich Insurance Group for personalized guidance. Ultimately, the decision you make today can profoundly impact your ability to seek compensation in the future, so choose wisely.

When selecting the appropriate coverage, be sure to also consider other factors like the specific terms and conditions of the insurance policy, the minimum requirements in your state, and any additional endorsements or riders that may be available to enhance your coverage. By making an informed decision, you can ensure that you have the right car insurance protection for your needs.

Sablich Insurance Group is licensed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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