1-610-265-8050 erik@snyderinjurylaw.com

*Disclaimer: The following is only applicable to PRIVATE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES insured by a natural person (i.e. not a corporation) for policies issued in Pennsylvania subject to the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.*

One of the first questions we ask prospective clients/new callers when they’re involved in a motor vehicle collision is whether they have “Full Tort” or “Limited Tort” automobile insurance.

Unfortunately, many do not know the answer to this question, and an even greater portion will answer with the phrase “I have full coverage.”

            If there is one (1) thing you take from this post, we hope it is the following:


            “Full coverage” is the deceptive term the insurance companies use to trick people into thinking they are fully protected if they find themselves or a loved one injured or killed in a crash due to the fault of another.

            However, full coverage does not mean you have “Full Tort” on your applicable insurance policy. In fact, we often find it means you have the exact opposite of what you think it means: “Limited Tort.”

            What does “Full Tort” and “Limited Tort” automobile insurance mean? Please see our blog post outlining same in more detail, but it basically means that you give up many important rights by electing limited tort coverage to save a little bit of money.

            Your “Tort” status determines whether or not you are able to bring a claim against the responsible party/parties for certain injuries and damages sustained in a motor vehicle collision.

If you have “Full Tort” on your policy, and you have been injured in an automobile collision that is not your fault, then, under the law, you are able to bring a claim for what is known as “pain and suffering” against the wrongdoer. This is the most valuable part of your claim.

If you have “Limited Tort,” however, your damages may be limited to economic damages only, such as medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, etc. While there are exceptions to this rule (see our blog post for more detail), it may make bringing a claim for pain and suffering much more difficult, or even impossible, than if you had elected “Full Tort” insurance prior to the crash.

            How can you find out your “Tort” status if you do not know or unsure?

            The first step is to look at your “Declarations Page” or “Declaration Sheet” (the title of the document may differ depending on which insurance company you have).

            This post is designed to show you how to read your Declarations Page, including the following:

  • Your “Tort” Status
  • Your Liability Limits
  • Your Personal Injury Protection Limits (sometimes known as “PIP” Benefits or First Party Benefits); and
  • Your Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Benefits.

While each automobile insurance company uses different forms, they all outline the amounts of coverage you’ve purchased.

We’ve outlined a few examples to aid you in reviewing your own policies to determine if you and your loved ones will be properly protected in the event of a motor vehicle collision.

Not all Declaration Sheets will look identical to the following examples, but hopefully this helps you understand what to look for:










As I am sure you can tell from above, there are a lot of nuisances and things to keep an eye out for when reviewing your insurance policy following a car crash, or purchasing new/increased auto insurance, and we recommend contacting our offices if you need any help reviewing yours.

            The most important thing to remember, however, is that while your insurance agent may tell you to “just buy what you need,” in terms of auto insurance, buying what you “need” is not always enough. What they really mean is buy “the minimum” required under the law, i.e. the $15,000.00 liability, the $5,000.00 medical expense benefit, and limited tort. This minimum may not protect your and your assets. Remember, insurance companies are in the business of earning profits for their shareholders, and not paying claims, so it is important to speak to an experienced lawyer to receive full and fair justice.

            We recommend buying what will protect you and your loved ones the most, FULL TORT, and to NEVER SIGN-DOWN your Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist benefits. Why protect your assets for more than you protect yourself and your loved ones following an injury?

            Again, if you’d like to learn more, or you know someone who has been injured in an auto crash, please do not hesitate to contact our offices by phone, email or text messaging, and one of our experienced staff members/attorneys will be happy to help you.

Snyder Law Group