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What Do You Need to Cover Business Auto Use?

If your business regularly uses autos for business needs, you likely have risks. Whether it’s a fleet of vehicles or just one, and whether it is vehicles you own, lease, or your employees own – having the right coverages for business-use autos is critical.

Employer-Owned Vehicles

If your business owns autos for business use, you likely need a Commercial Auto policy. This will usually provide you coverage for liability damages, collision, or comprehensive auto property damage, bodily injury coverage, and property damage for other vehicles/property.

Additional coverages may include reimbursement for rental vehicles, under/uninsured motorist coverage, and/or medical payments coverage. Personal use of the vehicle may also be covered, but typically not by others (such as family members using the auto).

Non-Owned Vehicles

There are plenty of scenarios where your business may be using vehicles it doesn’t own. Maybe you’ve rented, leased, or borrowed a vehicle. Maybe your employees are using their own vehicles. For these situations, the risks are different, as you likely need coverage for property damage or bodily injury that your business is at fault for in an accident.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto coverage is often the solution here. The “hired” coverage provides protection for your business when you’ve rented, leased, or borrowed a vehicle. The “non-owned” coverage extends protection from and for your business over the employee’s personal auto policy. This likely adds to the limit that could be paid in the cases of property damage or bodily injury.

However, this is typically a “liability” only coverage, and doesn’t coverage damage to the non-owned property (the auto itself). That’s why it’s important to understand the underlying property coverages, such as the employee’s personal auto policy or the auto’s rental agreement coverage.

HNOA coverage might be available to add your business’s general liability policy, or it might be available to purchase separately as a “standalone” policy.

Additional Coverages

If you have greater risk potential for your business’s use of autos, you may want to consider adding a commercial umbrella. This type of policy may give you higher limits that could be paid on a claim for property damage, legal costs, medical bills, or even legal settlement payments. A variation of this may be excess liability that is specifically added for commercial auto coverage.

Whatever auto use your business has, it is important to understand the risks and coverage options available for you. This is also a scenario where understanding the exclusions of policies is extremely important.

Contact Brandon Patterson from our team at or 865.453.1414 to discuss your options for covering business autos.

Covering Your Trailer and the Objects You’re Hauling

As the weather warms up, more and more people are getting outdoors to enjoy nature. Maybe it’s boating on the water, taking an ATV off road, setting up camp in the woods, or getting projects done outside. And one thing all these might have in common is that trailers may be involved to move the items to their intended destinations. As you’re hauling, you may be wondering – am I covered? Let’s review some of the circumstances.

Covered by Your Auto Policy?

In most cases, the coverage of your trailer – while in use for hauling – will fall under the policy of the auto hauling it. But keep in mind that if you have liability only coverage for your auto, the same would apply for your trailer. In addition, the contents you are hauling on your trailer are not typically covered in these policies.

Boat Trailers

If you have a specific trailer for your boat or other watercraft, you may be able to purchase coverage under your boat insurance policy. However, unless you have designated the trailer as “dual purpose” on your policy, you are unlikely to be covered if you haul something on the trailer other than your watercraft.

Camper Trailers

Because of their different risks, you will likely need a separate policy to cover any kind of pop-up or camper trailer. In addition, the value of a campers “contents” alone would likely make it a wise decision to have specific coverage in place for them.

Other Coverages

Trailer-specific coverages, personal umbrella policies, and additions or endorsements to other policies may be available to cover your trailer and its contents.

In Tennessee, there is not a requirement for registration or insurance if you have a boat, farm, utility, or pop-up trailer. Other trailers do have registration laws in Tennessee, and since insurance for the auto hauling the trailer is required, there are still some approximate rules for coverage in the state no matter what you’re hauling with your trailer.

Contact Brandon Patterson from our team at or 865.453.1414 to discuss your trailer risks and options for coverage.

Am I Covered in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist?

As we all know – accidents happen. But what if you have an accident with a motorist that doesn’t have insurance, or maybe doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the claim? That all depends on the policy(ies) you have in place. But with around 24% of Tennessee motorists uninsured*, and many more with the “minimum” coverage required by state law, making sure you’re properly covered on your own policies is the best preparation.

Uninsured Motorists
For claims that involve uninsured motorists, having your own coverage in place is critical. Uninsured motorist coverage is not required in Tennessee – but it is available. And with the third most uninsured drivers in the country residing in our state, it’s definitely a priority you want to have. So, what is it and how do you get it?

Uninsured motorist coverage may be in your policy, it may be available to be added to your policy, or it may be able to be “extended over” your policy with a personal umbrella policy (PUP). Whatever route you take for coverage, you will typically have protection for bodily injury – medical bill payments for you and any of your passengers, and protection for property damage – repair payment for your vehicle’s damage. As you might imagine, uninsured motorist coverage is not used to pay claims for the uninsured driver’s vehicle or injury. However, it may help pay for damages that your collision coverage might not in this situation – such as if your vehicle damages other property as a result of the accident.

Underinsured Motorists
While it may seem self-explanatory, the real key for underinsured motorist coverage is how often it may come into play. With the “minimum” limits in Tennessee now at $25,000 for property damage, you have a relatively question you can answer – is the total value of my vehicle greater than $25,000. Even if it is not, there is also a $25,000 for each injury, and a $50,000 for total injury per accident. That means if you have medical bills greater than $25,000, you may need other coverage. While your own auto policy – or even your health insurance – may provide coverage, they also may not. That’s why it is important to understand all the components.

As you can see, there are various policies and options for how to properly insure yourself against uninsured/underinsured drivers. Some of these options are extremely affordable when added to your current policy(ies). We’d love to review it and help you choose what’s best for you! Get in touch with Brandon Patterson at our agency by calling 865.453.1414 or emailing to discuss your insurance options.


Insurance for Your RV: Home or Vehicle?

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or an RV full-timer, insurance is an important part of owning a recreational vehicle. But when it comes to insuring your RV, should it be treated as a home or a vehicle? The right RV insurance for you will blend aspects of each type of policy together and give you the coverage you need for your specific situation.

The “Vehicle” Aspects of RV Insurance

If you use your RV as a motor home and drive it on public roads under its own power, state laws require you to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. The required minimum amounts of liability insurance that motorists must carry in Tennessee are:

  • $25,000 for each injury or death per accident
  • $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

The “Home” Aspects of RV Insurance

RV insurance is generally divided into two categories: recreational and full-timer. If you don’t live in your RV full time, recreational insurance will likely cover your RV inside and out when you’re on the road or parked at a campsite.

A full-time RV insurance policy is for those who use a motor home or travel trailer as their primary residence. It may include higher personal liability coverage, medical payments coverage, personal property/contents coverage, and possibly loss assessment coverage that could help cover RV park or association fees for common areas where your RV is parked.

Additional RV Coverages to Consider

Your unique RV use may also benefit from having specialty coverages added to or endorsed on your policy. Some examples would be:

  • Attached accessories coverage – May coverage damages from antennas, awnings, or other added accessories
  • International travel coverage – May cover you for traveling with your RV into other countries such as Canada or Mexico
  • Personal property coverage – May cover your personal property including tools, equipment, electronics, and more

Get in touch with Brandon Patterson at our agency by calling 865.453.1414 or emailing to discuss your RV’s coverage before you hit the road!

What You Need to Know About Insuring Classic Cars

If you have a classic car, chances are you’ve invested a good amount of time and money into its appearance, performance, and maintenance. And you definitely want to protect that investment. Having the right insurance for your vehicle is one of the best ways to do that. Let’s take a look at what coverage for classic cars entails.

Classic Versus Vintage Auto

Did you know there is a difference in what is considered a classic versus a vintage car? In order to qualify as vintage, a vehicle must be at least 25 years old. However, it can still be considered classic if it’s 15 years old or older and is a limited edition, rare find, or has high market value.

The “Need to Know” for Insuring Classic Cars

When you insure a classic car with most insurers, there are some key factors you’ll want to know about your coverage:

Agreed Value: Most classic cars are worth more than the average vehicle. This is taken into account when finding coverage, but in the case of your classic or vintage car, there may be other circumstances that make your vehicle even more valuable than its counterparts. Special modifications, unique history, clean title – these all can matter. That is why “agreed value” is such an important part of these coverages. You and the insurer agree on a value of the vehicle for which the coverage is then based.

Usage of the Car: How you use your classic car will affect how it’s insured. For example, if you only drive it to car shows, you’ll most likely have a different policy than if you drove it as your daily driver. Some insurers have mileage limits, potentially as low as 2,000 miles per year. Make sure your use matches up with any limit or look for a policy without that limit.

Increased Replacement Cost: Some insurers allow for greater replacement cost coverage in cases where value or cost of replacement parts has increased beyond the agreed value of the policy.

No “Attendance Required”: If you frequently display your vehicle at car shows, there may be times where you are not monitoring people around your car. If an incident occurs during one of these times and your vehicle is damaged, have “no attendance required” coverage may allow you to be reimbursed for your claim.

Spare Parts Coverage: If you have specialty tires, extra engine parts, etc. for your classic car, some policies extend coverage to these parts. If damage or theft occurs, you may have coverage under these policies.

When you’re insuring a classic car, it’s important to take all of these factors into account. These vehicles often have special meaning to their owners that goes beyond their value. Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or email and make sure that your classic is protected as much as possible.

Minor Auto Accidents – Do you Need a Police Report?

Recently, the Knoxville Police Department announced that they would no longer respond to “certain non-injury car crashes.” In other words, if you are involved in an auto accident and it doesn’t involve injury and/or leave a roadway blocked, an officer will not likely be on-site. The situations where they will respond include crashes that:

  • Result in injury or death
  • Involve a suspected intoxicated driver
  • Involve an unlicensed or uninsured driver
  • Result in a disabled vehicle on the road
  • Involve a disorderly or uncooperative party
  • Involve a hit-and-run with injury
  • Involve a Hazmat situation
  • Result in damage to other property

When these are not part of the scenario, what do you do? What about an accident report? Do you need one to file a claim? Take the steps if you are involved in a “minor” crash:

  1. Report it to the police. Use the local non-emergency line or call 911 if needed.
  2. Move your vehicle(s) to a safe area out of the road and exchange contact information and insurance information with the other driver(s).
  3. Take photos of any damage to the vehicles involved.
  4. The Tennessee Department of Safety requires you to complete an accident report if the damage is likely to exceed $400. You may complete a report online at
  5. Contact your insurance agent to notify them of the claim. They’ll let you know the next steps to take to file the claim with the insurance company.
  6. While a report is not necessarily required for an insurance claim, it will help the process. And if there is more than $400 in damage (which is a very low threshold), Tennessee requires a report anyway.

With the above in mind, how can you be sure that you will not be incorrectly assessed fault for an accident? We recommend dash cams for personal vehicles, as that will likely help you capture footage in most accident scenarios. Having that footage should help clarify the accident cause and who is at fault, and there are many camera options available – some around $50 or less.

Have other questions about your auto coverage or claims scenarios? Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or email and he’ll be happy to discuss it and provide you info on the coverage you need.

Insuring Motorcycles is About More than Just Two Wheels

There are over 8 million motorcycles registered in the U.S., and many of those are considered more than just a mode of transportation by their owners – they’re a lifestyle. But motorcycles also inherently have some greater risks than other vehicles, and they’re not all safety based. Let’s take a look at some of the issues to consider when considering motorcycle insurance.

Most states, including Tennessee, have minimum limits for motorcycle insurance coverage. In Tennessee, those limits are:

  • $25,000 for per-person bodily injury liability limits
  • $50,000 for per-accident bodily injury liability
  • $15,000 for property damage liability (increasing to $25,000 on 1/1/23)

With that in mind, you have a starting point for your coverage needs. But if your motorcycle is your “baby”, there are more factors to consider:

Replacement Cost – Some policies will not cover your bike’s repairs to pre-accident conditions, and/or may depreciate the parts’ value. Those with custom parts may be especially affected by this.

Total Loss Replacement – Not all policies will provide coverage to replace your bike with equal value in the case of a total loss. This coverage can make a huge difference in a “totaled” claim scenario.

Personal Contents – Are you a road warrior with valuable possessions traveling with you? Not all policies provide the coverage you may need if these items are damaged or stolen.

Medical Liability – Above minimum limits, covering medical payments for larger recovery or treatment costs are definitely something to consider. Some policies even offer a “death benefit” should the worst-case scenario occur.

Agreed Value – Got a custom or vintage motorcycle? You may be better off with a policy that determines an agreed value with you for the bike if there’s a covered loss.

As you can see, motorcycle insurance isn’t as simple as it may seem. Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or email and he’ll be happy to provide you info on the coverage you need before you ride.

Auto Accidents with Uninsured Drivers

Data indicates that more than 23% of Tennessee drivers are uninsured. That means that if you have an auto accident in Tennessee, there is a decent chance the other driver won’t have insurance. Will your policy cover the damage to your vehicle? What about potential medical bills or time out of work? What if you need a rental car? Let’s look at some of the scenarios that may play out.

What is Your Coverage?
Obviously, you’d expect in an accident with an insured driver that if they’re at fault – their insurance will pay. But if they don’t have insurance, who pays? If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, your insurance company will likely pay for the damage to your vehicle under the uninsured motorist provisions of your policy. But how much can be covered will depend on the limits of your policy – and you’ll still have to pay a deductible. If you only have collision coverage, you may not be covered in the case of an accident with an uninsured motorist unless you’ve purchased Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. In this case, you will have a Collision Deductible Waiver (CDW) listed on your policy.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Tennessee does not require UM Coverage, but you can typically purchase it for your policy if it’s not already included. If you’d like additional coverage, a Personal Umbrella Policy will typically add more coverage for this “over” your auto policy. And while UM pays for property damage, Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) pays medical bills for you and your passengers when a driver without enough liability coverage causes an accident. In the case of a driver with minimum insurance limits not being able to fully pay for injuries they cause to you, UIM coverage can provide additional reimbursement.

Impact of UM Claims on Your Insurance
Does having your insurance company pay a UM claim cause your rate to go up? It is possible, maybe even likely. A national study by the Consumer Federation of America found that insurers raise rates by an average of 9.32% after a no-fault accident resulting in an UM claim.

What to Do if You Have an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist
If you do find yourself in an accident with an uninsured motorist, make sure you take the following steps:

  • Call the Police
  • Exchange Contact Info
  • Don’t Accept or Agree to Any Payment
  • Take Photos
  • Gather Any Details You Can

Not sure about what your current policy would cover in this situation? Let us help you figure it out and determine what’s best for your coverage needs. Call 865.453.1414 and let’s discuss it.

4 Steps to Protect Backseat Passengers

Studies show that the safest place for your child to ride in the car is the backseat. However, simply riding in the backseat isn’t enough to ensure your passengers’ safety. Certain precautions should still be taken for both children and adults riding in the back to reduce their risks of injury or death.

Aim For Buying a Newer Vehicle

When you’re in the market for a vehicle, keep backseat passengers in mind. The average car on the road is 11 years old, but there have been many advancements in car safety just within the last decade. Some particularly old cars aren’t even equipped with headrests, which are key to protecting passengers’ necks from whiplash. However, many newer models come with safety features just for the backseat, like side airbags and inflatable seat belts. Buying used is the budget-friendly way to go, but try to get a car that is at least fewer than 10 years old if you can.

Secure the Kids

Being equipped with the proper restraints is the most important factor in child passenger safety. Determine whether your child needs a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt based on his or her age, weight, and height. Not sure what to trust? Use this handy page from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine which restraints are best for protecting your child passenger.

Put Them In The Middle

Believe it or not, the middle seat is the safest seat in the entire car. It offers the most distance from impact during a collision, so the middle passenger is more likely to be protected from a crash in any direction. Just make sure the passenger is wearing a 3-point seatbelt. If a lap belt is the only option, they’re better off sitting in a window seat.

No Distracted Driving!

This one seems so obvious, but distracted driving is still the number one cause of car accidents in the U.S. It is always valuable to remember that activities like talking on the phone, texting, reading, grooming, or eating compromise the safety of you and your passengers.

Remember these tips when you’re buying a car, picking out a carseat for a child, or just running an errand with a friend. The backseat is known as the “safe seat,” but there are definitely measures you can take to make it even safer and protect the ones you love. Make sure you’re covered in case of an accident or injury with the right insurance plans! Talk to one of our agents today about your coverage options.

What to Know Before Letting Someone Drive Your Vehicle

It happens. Sometimes we are in situations where we have to lend our vehicle to other people. Maybe you are not fit to drive and give the keys to someone who can. Maybe your family member needs to use it when moving items around. Regardless of the reason, you probably are a little cautious before letting someone else drive your car. After all, there are major consequences that can arise if something bad were to happen. Take a look at what you should be aware of the next time someone asks to borrow your car, even if it is for a minute or two.

Make Sure You Trust the Driver

While this is common sense, we still highly encourage drivers not to lend their keys to someone they do not know. Even if they are a good friend, make sure they don’t have a history of getting into wrecks. Because the second they get behind the wheel and take your car on a joy ride that ends unfavorably, you are going to be the one at fault.

Their Insurance Does Not Matter

Regardless of the fact that the person driving your car has insurance, it is not going to be their agency that covers the wreck. It will be yours since your car is covered through your agency. While the driver’s insurance may cover things like personal injury or medical expenses, you will still have the majority of the bill to take care of.

What to Do If You Have a Regular Driver

If it turns out that someone borrows your car more than occasionally, especially someone that you employ, get in touch with your agency to add them onto your policy.

Don’t Panic

While it is true that there are major consequences that can occur, this is really just for worst case scenarios. More than likely, you will be covered if you give someone verbal consent to drive your car. If you are nervous, feel free to give your agency a call to make sure all your bases are covered. They will be more than happy to guide you through the do’s and don’ts of lending your vehicle.

If you ever have any questions about your auto policy, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our agency. We are always here to help make life (and insurance) a little less complicated.