Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 27, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • With full tort car insurance, policyholders reserve their rights to sue the other party for pain and suffering
  • Limited tort insurance is the cheaper alternative
  • Some auto insurance companies sell their full tort auto insurance policies for high rates

Full tort car insurance may be the better alternative when policyholders have the option to purchase either limited tort or full tort insurance.

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Limited Tort Car Insurance

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Limited tort insurance is the cheaper alternative. By purchasing limited tort insurance, policyholders will pay around 15 percent less for their premiums.

However, they will lose significantly if they are ever hurt in a car accident.

The limitations of limited tort insurance include:

  • The inability for the policyholder to sue another driver found at fault in a car collision for pain and suffering
  • The inability of the policyholders family members to sue for pain and suffering if ever injured in a car collision
  • Limited tort applies to the policyholders when they are injured in a car collision while riding as a passenger
  • Limited tort applies when the policyholder has been injured as a pedestrian
  • The policyholders’ children also cannot sue for pain and suffering as passengers or pedestrians in other people’s vehicles

Policyholders have to decide whether or not it would be worth it to them to save 15 percent on their auto insurance.

They must consider the fact that they and their children can sustain serious injuries during a car collision and may need medical care for years.

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What Limited Tort Car Insurance Offers

A policyholder who has been hurt in a car collision caused by another driver has the ability to sue the other driver; they just cannot sue for pain and suffering.

Car insurance companies like to eliminate the pain and suffering option because this is the area where juries tend to award the most money.

Full Tort Car Insurance

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The alternative is to purchase full tort car insurance. Tort is the legal term in which people who have been hurt due to other people’s negligence.

Some states allow drivers the option to purchase a limited tort or full tort car insurance policy.

With full tort car insurance, policyholders reserve their rights to sue the other party for pain and suffering.

It will help pay the legal bills for the policyholder who is sued for a third party’s pain and suffering.

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Here are different reasons why people buy Full Tort Car Insurance:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Compensation for all future medical costs related to the injuries suffered in a car collision

In order to reduce the number of lawsuits drivers begin against each other, each state has instituted the minimum amount of liability insurance their drivers must have in order to drive legally in the state.

Here is what every state requires:

  • An amount of Bodily Injury Liability Coverage for one person
  • An amount of Bodily Injury Liability Coverage for at least two people for the entire accident
  • An amount of Property Damage Liability Coverage for the accident

Policyholders may choose to only purchase their states’ minimum requirements, but in the event that an injured person’s medical expenses exceed the limits, the policyholder will be held responsible.

Here are some rather bad results with just the minimum requirements:

  • More than one person may be injured in the auto accident, and each person will have the right to sue the driver
  • The people injured may each sue for pain and suffering which is the most expensive part of a lawsuit
  • Drivers found at fault may have their wages garnished for payment of each judgment and Drivers who cause the accidents may lose all of their assets to pay the judgment

The Cost of Full Tort Car Insurance

People who have been hurt in car collisions by other drivers are seen as highly sympathetic by juries, which is why such large sums of money are awarded to people hurt in car collisions.

Since insurance companies have to spend large sums of money, the purchase of full tort insurance a high risk for them.

When a policyholder presents a high risk for auto insurance companies, they, generally, charge higher premiums.

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The Alternative to Only Purchasing Liability Coverage or Limited Tort Insurance


Some auto insurance companies sell their full tort auto insurance policies for high rates.

Performing a comparison search of several auto insurance companies will enlighten people as to which companies will charge the lowest rates.

Purchasing full tort car insurance protects people from losing the ability to receive the money they may need for several years after the accident becomes a distant memory.

The benefits outweigh the extra expense that full tort insurance may cost, but comparing quotes eliminates this worry because people can find lower rates when they compare quotes.

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