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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your insurance options.
*INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE DATA – 2019