Uninsured Motorist Coverage PaperworkExcellent question. Every driver in Tennessee should have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on their car insurance policy because that is the only protection they have if they are injured in a crash with a driver who does not have car insurance.

What are the chances that an uninsured driver will hit you? Pretty good in Tennessee, which ranks third in the nation for most uninsured drivers. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 24 percent of Tennessee drivers were uninsured in 2019. That means one in four drivers that passes you on the highway does not have insurance.

So, what can you do to protect yourself, given this disturbing fact? You can make sure you have as much uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford on your auto insurance policy.

What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Do?

Under Tennessee law, every car insurance policy includes coverage for uninsured motorists. The default coverage that comes automatically on every policy includes the following:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $15,000 property damage coverage

This means that if you are injured in a crash caused by an uninsured driver—or in a hit-and-run accident—you could get up to $25,000 to cover the costs associated with your injuries from your own insurance policy. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

However, when you purchased your Tennessee auto insurance policy, you were given a chance to opt out of uninsured motorist coverage. Many drivers do this to save money on their insurance premiums, and you might not remember if you did or not. Check with your agent to find out if you have UM coverage or not. And if you don't—we highly recommend adding it.

5 Reasons to Carry UM Insurance in Tennessee

We know it's not fair that you have to pay for more insurance because other people have chosen to break the law and not carry insurance, but there are very good reasons to do so. Carrying adequate UM insurance provides you with the following:

  1. Protection against uninsured drivers. Simply put, UM coverage provides financial protection if you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. It helps cover your medical expenses, property damage, and other costs when the at-fault driver doesn't have insurance. And since a quarter of all drivers in Tennessee are uninsured, it is likely that you will one day need this coverage.
  2. Peace of mind. Knowing that you have uninsured motorist coverage gives you a sense of security on the road. It ensures that you won't be left in a financially vulnerable position if you or a family member is hit by an uninsured driver.
  3. Coverage for hit-and-run accidents. Uninsured motorist coverage can also protect you in hit-and-run accidents. If the responsible driver flees the scene or can't be identified, your UM coverage can help cover your losses.
  4. Protection against underinsured drivers. Even if the at-fault driver has insurance, their policy limits may not be sufficient to cover all your expenses. UM coverage can step in and provide additional coverage when the at-fault driver's insurance falls short.
  5. Legal expenses. UM coverage can also pay for legal expenses if you need to file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver to recover your losses. It can help cover attorney fees, court costs, and other legal fees associated with your case.

How an Attorney Can Help if You Are Hit by an Uninsured Driver

If you were hospitalized or needed surgery after a car accident or a loved one was killed in a crash, a car accident lawyer can make a big difference in your claim, even if it is a claim on your own insurance policy for an uninsured driver. Insurance companies do not want to pay out on policies—even for their own clients. When a crash has taken a serious toll on your life, you need an advocate in your corner fighting to get every last dime you are owed. You need to GET PETE! as soon as possible after the crash.