”limited Tort” Option – the Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Section 1705(A)(4)

In Donnelly v. Bauer, 553 Pa. 596, 720 A.2d 447 (1998), the plaintiffs had purchased limited tort automobile insurance policies, but sought reformation of the policies to give them full tort status. 553 Pa. at 601, 720 A.2d at 449.

They claimed that, when they made their limited tort selection in original policies issued after July 1, 1990, they were not given the statutory notice explaining the price differentials between full tort and limited tort coverage, as mandated by § 1705(a)(4). Id. at 605, 720 A.2d at 451.

The insurers argued that § 1705(a)(4) did not apply to original purchasers of automobile insurance. Id.

Rather, the notice of price differentials were to be given under § 1705(a)(4) only to existing policyholders as of July 1, 1990 who desired to have a new policy issued with the tort options rather than wait until their renewal date to receive the tort option. Id. at 605-606, 720 A.2d at 451-452.

The Donnelly Court agreed with the insureds, holding that insurers must provide proper § 1705 notices to insureds buying original coverage after the effective date of the the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) amendments. Id. at 607-608, 720 A.2d at 452-453.

The Court, however, refused to imply a remedy of full tort coverage. Id. at 610, 720 A.2d at 454.

The Court noted that the 1990 amendments to the MVFRL were designed by the legislature to "stem the rising cost of insurance in the Commonwealth." Id.

The Court held that where the MVFRL provides no explicit remedy, the courts cannot imply the remedy of full tort coverage. Id.