What Every Tennessee Driver Should Know About Auto Insurance

Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on October 19, 2018

Own and operate a personal vehicle in the State of Tennessee?  If so, it’s critical that you weigh your options in purchasing auto insurance. Many unsuspecting motorists are under the impression they have “full coverage.” Meanwhile, they’re not exactly sure what all that means – until they are in a car crash – and learn otherwise.

It’s easy enough to place some of the blame for poorly written policies on technology. For a number of drivers, a few point and clicks and insurance is in place. The personal advice of a learned insurance agent is therefore lost. And, the headaches could begin as a result.

First, it helps to understand what happens if you are injured in an automobile accident. Under Tennessee laws, payment for damages and injuries becomes the responsibility of the at-fault driver. That’s different from New Jersey and Florida, as two examples of “no-fault” states where medical bills are paid by the injured party’s own insurance.

Legal Requirements for Auto Insurance

The legal requirements for auto insurance in Tennessee fall under the section of the code referred to as the Tennessee Financial Responsibility Law of 1977.  When it comes to liability coverage, there are minimal amounts necessary to ensure compliance. For example, drivers are expected to maintain at least $25,000 for bodily injury or death in the event that they are deemed at fault in a car crash.

Again, since Tennessee is an at-fault state, this means you care very much about how much coverage other drivers choose as an option. Simply said, $25,000 is a low threshold if you are severely injured.  That’s why it is important to understand other choices available within your own coverage (And, to protect yourself against personal responsibility in the event that you are at fault).

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage

So, what happens if you are injured in a car crash, and the driver has limited liability coverage? Worse yet, what if the at-fault motor vehicle operator didn’t bother to secure auto insurance at all?

Once again, this is why it is critical to understand your options when purchasing your personal coverage. Consider this scenario. You are traveling through an intersection with the green light in your favor. Out of nowhere, another car blows through the red light and rams into the driver’s side of your vehicle.

You are trapped, and emergency responders need to use the Jaws of Life to extricate you from the vehicle. You spend five days in Intensive Care before you are finally transferred to a regular hospital room.  As it turns out, the driver who ran the red light has just $25,000 in liability coverage.  Just how far do you think that money will go?

You can protect yourself against underinsured or uninsured motorists by choosing to do so in your personal policy. However, you would be best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in submitting your claim.

Other Options

When it comes to your automobile insurance, you may be confused by the number of options. While you may want to keep costs down, you should make sure you are protected. It is critical to have things in place before anything happens that could ultimately change your life.

Contact Us

If you were injured in an automobile crash, Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC can assist you.  Contact our offices to learn more.

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