When you are driving down to the Jersey Shore, it will most likely never cross your mind that the full tort coverage auto policy you paid extra for in Pennsylvania won’t provide the same coverage across the river. Thanks to a New Jersey law called the “Deemer Statute,” New Jersey “deems” any insurance policy written by a company which does business in New Jersey to have the full amount of medical expense coverage required by New Jersey law ($250,000.00). In exchange for the higher medical coverage, the out-of-state motorist is also deemed to be subject to the lawsuit or “verbal threshold” (we call it “limited tort” in Pennsylvania). The New Jersey lawsuit threshold precludes an injured person from recovering damages for pain and suffering unless the injuries fall into one of six categories; (1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) significant scarring or disfigurement; (4) a displaced fracture; (5) loss of a fetus, and (6) a permanent injury other than scarring or disfigurement.
If you are injured in an automobile accident in New Jersey, be sure to ask your agent or claims representative whether your insurance company does business in New Jersey. (Most of the big ones do). Be sure to confirm you will have the higher amount for coverage of any medical expenses. Unfortunately, New Jersey does not give out-of-state motorists the option to decline the higher coverage and keep their full tort.