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If you need to consult with an attorney, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.

Pennsylvania Automobile Insurance Act

Under Pennsylvania’s auto insurance law, all insurance companies offer many choices in the types and the dollar amounts of insurance coverage. One important choice you will make is choosing either the "limited tort" and "full tort" option. Under the "limited tort" option, you give up all rights to receive any compensation from a negligent driver who causes bodily injury to you or a family member unless you suffer a serious bodily injury. The law does not list the types of injuries that qualify as “serious” injuries. Therefore, it is very difficult to predict with certainty what will or will not qualify as a serious bodily injury. On the other hand, if you choose the "full tort" option, you will not lose any right to receive compensation for any injuries. The full tort option permits you to be compensated regardless of whether your injury may be deemed to be a "serious bodily injury." We recommend that you do not select the "limited tort" option unless you first consult with your attorney.

One of the other significant choices facing you is whether to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage is designed to protect you and your family in the event that the other driver does not have an adequate dollar amount of liability coverage. By purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you protect yourself and your family in the event that a negligent driver doesn't have any liability coverage or if he doesn’t have enough liability coverage to fully compensate you. In these cases, your insurance company will provide coverage to compensate you for the injuries caused by the other driver.

There are also many other choices which will have to be made. These include the dollar amount of medical benefits, and whether to purchase income loss benefits or funeral benefits. The amounts of coverage which you choose in each of these categories could become extremely important to you should you be injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Because the law in this area is so important to everyone, we strongly recommend that you contact your attorney before renewing or purchasing an automobile insurance policy.  2/18