We all hope we will never be in a car crash, but statistics show it happens every day in Tennessee. This is why all drivers must carry auto insurance, aside from a very few exceptions. The law requires that you carry a minimum amount of insurance to cover your own liability if you cause a crash, but is that minimum enough?
Tennessee law and required minimums
If you fail to carry liability insurance on your car, you could face serious consequences, including fines and a revocation of your driver’s license. As the driver of a non-commercial vehicle, you must carry at least the following insurance:
- For each injury or death per wreck, you must have $25,000 in coverage
- For total injuries or deaths per wreck, you must have $50,000 in coverage
- For total property damage per wreck, you must have $15,000 in coverage
Note that if you are still paying on a car loan or if you lease your vehicle, the lender may require you to have full coverage on your car, rather than just liability coverage. Commercial vehicles also have separate coverage requirements.
Is the minimum enough?
When you look at the amounts above, you can easily see how quickly an wreck could exceed those amounts. Auto repairs and replacement vehicles can easily exceed $15,000. All but the most minor injuries could come to more than $25,000. If you caused the wreck, the other driver could come after you personally for the difference. All of that does not even account for your own vehicle’s damage or your injuries.
Although the minimum may not be enough to cover your liability in an crash, insurance premiums are expensive and you do not want to pay for more than you need. Carrying additional insurance can help you offset some of those costs, including when you are not at fault in an wreck.
Additional options for coverage
In Tennessee, medical coverage is not required for yourself and your passengers. Many people choose to add MedPay, which acts like personal injury protection (PIP), but with slightly less coverage. For a relatively low monthly fee, it covers injuries to you and your passengers after any crash, no matter who is at fault. It can also cover you when you are hit as a bicyclist or a pedestrian.
In Tennessee, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is included with your policy unless you reject it in writing. When someone else causes your crash, they may not have insurance or have less insurance than you need to cover your damages and injuries. You can try to go after them personally for the damages, but more than likely, they won’t be able to pay. This is where uninsured or underinsured coverage comes into play to cover your costs. Increased Uninsured Motorist will protect you if the at fault driver does not have any liability coverage, or has only the minimal limits of coverage; However, the amount of your Uninsured Motorist cannot exceed the amount of your liability limits.
When all else fails, you may still use your private health insurance, though that will not help you with your property damage, lost wages or your pain and suffering.
Before you have a car wreck is the best time to consider your insurance options and choose what is best for you and your family.