In Tennessee, 20% of all drivers are uninsured. Meaning, about every 5th car you pass on the road does not have insurance, even though driving without insurance is against the law. Additionally, Tennessee has the 5th highest number of uninsured drivers in the country. These statistics are alarming, and help to prove just how crucial purchasing uninsured motorist insurance can be if you happen to be involved in a wreck with an uninsured driver.
It is a common misconception that if you own personal liability car insurance and are in an accident that was not your fault, you are covered. In reality, even if you have insurance, if the individual who hit you has no insurance or inadequate insurance, your policy may not cover your car repairs unless you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage:
Every insurance policy, pursuant to Tennessee law should have uninsured motorist coverage (UM), with limits equal to the bodily injury liability limits mentioned in the policy. However, individuals have the right to opt out of the UM coverage if they would like. According to Tennessee law, insurance packages must contain at least;
- $25,000 liability coverage for each death or injury per accident;
- $50,000 liability coverage for total injuries or deaths per accident; and
- $15,000 liability coverage for property damage
Unless you opt out of the UM coverage, your policy should protect against uninsured motorists, at least up to the liability limits listed above. However, it is important to check your policy for coverage against uninsured motorists, and if your policy does not have UM coverage, to buy that coverage as soon as possible. Additional types of coverage may be purchased as well, including: collision, comprehensive, medical payment, and rental car insurance.
Driving Without Insurance:
It is a Class C misdemeanor to drive without insurance in Tennessee. If an individual is caught driving without insurance they can expect to be issued fines, have their driver’s license and registration suspended, have a STOP put on their vehicle disallowing them from renewing their registration until such time as proof of insurance may be provided, and have their vehicle towed at the discretion of the officer on the scene. There is also a potential of serving up to 30 days in jail.
Knowingly providing false proof of insurance or causing a crash that results in injuries while driving without insurance is a Class A misdemeanor. In these two scenarios, offenders can expect to be handed even harsher punishments, including up to 11 months and 29 days in jail.
The Main Takeaway:
Out of all of the information that has been listed in this blog, perhaps the most important consideration is the necessity for uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. If you do not have UM coverage and get hit by an uninsured driver, you may very well be stuck paying for your repairs out of your own pocket. If ever it were possible to buy peace of mind, it would come in the form of purchasing uninsured motorist coverage. Make certain to cover yourself from uninsured drivers, purchase UM coverage, it is a sound investment.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident that was not your fault, Warren & Griffin can help. The attorneys at W&G have over 100 years of combined experience helping individuals get the compensation they deserve after car accidents. Call today for a free consultation:
(423) 265- HURT (4878)
Visit our website: warrenandgriffin.com