Key Highlights
  • Any state with a tort insurance system requires drivers to have liability insurance to cover injuries the driver might cause in an auto accident.
  • Full tort law allows a motorist and policyholder to retain unrestricted rights to bring a lawsuit against the negligent party in an automobile accident.
  • Limited tort allows drivers to save on their premiums by waiving their right to recover certain damages, such as payments for pain and suffering.
  • Drivers in no-fault states must purchase liability insurance to cover their own and their passengers' bodily injuries and property damage.

What is tort insurance?

Tort insurance is an auto insurance system in which drivers can seek compensation from the other party in the case of an auto accident. It differs from a no-fault auto insurance system, a type of coverage that will pay for your medical costs and loss of income when you get into an accident, regardless of fault.

In a tort insurance system, any state with this kind of system requires drivers to have liability insurance to cover injuries the driver might cause in an auto accident.

Check out our experts’ recommendations for What is a tort state & what does it mean for my auto insurance policy

What is the difference between full tort and limited tort?

Full tort law allows a motorist and policyholder to retain unrestricted rights to bring a lawsuit against the negligent party in an automobile accident.

Limited tort allows drivers to save on their premiums by waiving their right to recover certain damages, such as payments for pain and suffering. Tort states require drivers to carry liability insurance to cover injuries they cause to others and for damages they cause in a crash.

Which is suggested for drivers to carry?

Since the tort system deals with injuries and not property damage, whether the car is financed need not influence your decision on picking full or limited tort insurance.

So, with full tort, you are keeping your right to file a suit to receive compensation for pain and suffering for injuries sustained in an accident that is someone else's fault.

Limited tort may prevent you from seeking compensation for these items, unless your injuries are found to be serious and permanent.

Is it safe to choose a limited tort when you are still making payments on vehicles?

The decision whether to go with full or limited tort is a personal one. You may take into consideration how likely you think you would use full tort insurance and if it is worth the increase in monthly or annual premiums. You should purchase as much insurance as you can afford.

The tort system varies from state to state, so find your state to see how your state's tort system is set up.

Note that drivers in no-fault states (Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah) must purchase liability insurance to cover their own and their passengers' bodily injuries and property damage.

Check out our detailed guide Which states are no fault and what does it mean