Most Tennessee drivers know that state law requires you to have liability auto insurance that covers injuries and property damage if an accident occurs.
The state insurance requirements are meant to cover your liability if you are at fault for causing the accident. But what about when you are not at fault? You may have medical and property damage insurance to cover some aspects, but what if the negligent driver does not have enough liability insurance to cover the damages they caused? In Tennessee, the minimum requirement is only $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. In today’s world that may be little more than one ambulance ride to the hospital.
In these cases, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may be a critical help if you have it, but many people might wonder: is it really necessary?
What exactly does this insurance do?
This type of coverage provides an additional layer of protection. For example:
Uninsured motorist insurance: This coverage often covers medical bills after an accident as well as reimbursements for lost wages and property damage if the motorist at fault for the accident does not have insurance. It also comes into play if a pedestrian is hit by an uninsured driver or if a hit-and-run accident occurs.
Underinsured motorist insurance: Sometimes, the at-fault driver has an insurance policy, but their policy limit does not cover the full extent of your medical bills, damage to your vehicle, or your pain and suffering. This coverage will help make up the difference so you can be more fully compensated for all your damages.
Do I really need this coverage? (Yes.)
Obtaining uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can cover the costs when the negligent driver leaves the scene or cannot cover the costs of their actions themselves. Even so, many people might wonder: is it worth getting this coverage? How big of a risk is it to run into an uninsured driver?
But that risk is higher than many people think.
While most states in the country require drivers to have some auto liability insurance, many people still skip this step. According to the most recent studies from 2015:
- One in eight drivers were still uninsured across the country
- Tennessee had one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers with nearly 20% of drivers uninsured
In 2017, the state took measures to reduce this rate, but it is still a risk that drivers should not overlook.
There are hazards on the road that even the safest of drivers cannot control – uninsured and reckless drivers are only one of those hazards. However, this insurance coverage can offer another level of security, and is necessary.