In Pennsylvania, auto insurance is a lot like ordering at a Chinese restaurant. “I’ll take liability, property damage, collision/comprehensive and medical coverage under column A, the chef’s special selection under column B and a cup of egg drop soup. Oh, and throw in an egg roll. Actually, make that two egg rolls, and extra duck sauce.”
Hope you get a few good fortune cookies out of that meal. If you’re lucky, one of those fortunes will explain the difference between those two coverage columns: A and B. It’ll also let you in on another policy distinction secret: full tort vs. limited tort.
Column A vs. Column B
Column A is commonly referred to as “full coverage,” while column B gets you “full insurance coverage.” What does that one-word difference mean? Generally, column B includes uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage and the stacking of these overages if you insure more than one vehicle.
The Takeout Order: If you want full automobile insurance coverage and not just full coverage automobile insurance, you need to order from column B.
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
Another thing necessary to full automobile insurance coverage is a “full tort” insurance policy. This means you recover money for pain and suffering regardless of the extent to which you are injured in a car accident. This is important because in Pennsylvania, there’s another type of insurance policy called “limited tort.”
The limited tort policy eliminates your constitutional right to recover money for pain and suffering unless you suffer a “serious injury.” An injury doesn’t have to be permanent for it to be deemed “serious,” but it does have to prevent you from taking part in normal, daily activities for an extended period of time.
The Takeout Order: A limited tort policy gets you full coverage automobile insurance, but it does not provide full automobile insurance coverage.
You wouldn’t order the stir-fry Kung Pao chicken with diced veggies and peanuts in light, hot and spicy sauce when you really want the battered, deep-fried, veggie-free General Tso’s bathed in sweet, sticky sauce … right? Kung Pao, an authentic Chinese dish, is quite different than General Tso, which actually originated in Chinese restaurants on the U.S. East Coast.
…and full coverage automobile insurance does not equal full automobile insurance coverage.
Your Extra Egg Roll: If you want the real full coverage, you need the Full Tort policy plus the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from column B.
Get smart about your auto insurance policy. Know what’s covered, what’s not and what options are best for your specific situation.
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