Tort Insurance

What Is Tort Insurance and Who Needs It?

(Because sometimes that auto accident is your fault)

Sara East | August 3, 2019
Tort insurance

Every day you drive your car knowing that you have auto insurance, but do you know the laws that regulate what you're responsible for should you get in an accident and be found at fault? 

As an American driver, you live in either a tort or a no-fault state. And if you live in a tort state, you could be financially responsible for more than you think if you're in an accident. That's why our independent insurance agents are here to help you understand tort insurance, what it means, and how it affects your insurance policy. 

What Is Tort Insurance?

Tort insurance is when a state is operating under the "tort" system for insurance claims. The tort system says that if two parties are involved in a collision, the driver who is at fault is responsible for paying the victim's medical bills, property damage costs, additional lost wages, damages, and even "pain and suffering" resulting from the accident. 

Tort insurance is not something you purchase. The tort system is the laws behind how your insurance operates should you get in an accident.

Is Tort Insurance Required in My State?

Auto insurance is required in every state. But only 38 states use the tort system. The other 12 states use no-fault insurance. 

  • Tort system: The driver who is found to be at fault is responsible for all costs incurred by the driver who is not at fault. 
  • No-fault system: A driver is still at fault, but the insurance is not required to pay out injury claims. Drivers who live in no-fault states usually purchase PIP coverage to cover medical treatment, lost wages, and other expenses. 

States that do and do not use the tort system:

STATETORTNO TORT
AlabamaX
AlaskaX
ArizonaX
ArkansasX
CaliforniaX
ColoradoX
ConnecticutX         
DelawareX
Florida
X
GeorgiaX
HawaiiX
IdahoX
IllinoisX
IndianaX
IowaX
Kansas
X
Kentucky
X
Louisiana
X
Maine
X
Maryland
X
Massachusetts
X
Michigan
X
Minnesota
X
MississippiX
MissouriX
MontanaX
NebraskaX
NevadaX
New Hampshire          X
New MexicoX
New YorkX
North CarolinaX
North Dakota
X
OhioX
OklahomaX
OregonX
Pennsylvania
X
Rhode IslandX
South CarolinaX
South DakotaX
TennesseeX
TexasX
Utah
X
VermontX
VirginiaX
WashingtonX
West VirginiaX
WisconsinX
WyomingX

What Is the Difference Between Full Tort and Limited Tort Car Insurance?

Nearly every state that follows the tort system offers full or limited tort car insurance options.

  • Full tort: If you're injured in a crash and you're not at fault, you can sue the person who caused the accident without any restrictions. This means you can sue for damages like lost wages, pain and suffering. 
  • Limited tort: If you're injured in a crash and you're not at fault, you're very limited on your ability to sue the person at fault for additional damages beyond property and injury. 

In some states drivers are allowed to choose whether they want the limited or full tort car insurance system, but in other states the option is mandated for all drivers. 

How Much Does Tort Insurance Cost?

If you're residing and driving in a tort state you're required to have liability insurance that will cover any injuries you may cause to others or their property. 

The average driver will pay around $800 a year for full insurance coverage for one car. That number can be lowered if you're only purchasing liability insurance. 

Seeing as you don't purchase tort insurance directly, the cost is associated with the cost of your auto insurance policy. Some drivers in tort states may not be required to purchase additional coverage like personal injury protection and medical payments coverage. These factors can affect the cost of your insurance policy.

Tort system aside, it's always best to purchase as much auto coverage as you can afford. 

The Awesome Benefits of an Independent Agent

Our independent insurance agents can help you determine the right amount of insurance coverage should you live in a tort system state. They'll walk you through a handpicked selection of sweet policy options. Not only that, they’ll cut the jargon and clarify the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Most importantly, they’ll be there to help you file a claim should you find yourself in an accident. The outcome of insurance claims can be strongly impacted by how the process is approached and handled.

Finding and Comparing Tort Insurance Quotes

Our gifted insurance agents will review your needs and help you evaluate the best insurance coverage for you. They'll also compare policies and quotes from multiple insurance companies to make sure you have the proper protection to keep you safe.

TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

Now, who's ready to get their insurance problems solved?