Do You Have Enough Insurance to Protect You After a Crash?

Posted in Car Accident,Insurance Issues on February 22, 2024

After being involved in auto accidents, many people assume that they can get settlements from the auto insurance policies of the drivers who hit them. There’s just one problem with that line of thinking: one in five drivers in Tennessee is uninsured!

Yes, a whopping 20.1% of motorists in the Volunteer State hits the road illegally every day. Tennessee consistently ranks in or near the top five states for uninsured motorists, and if you get injured by one of them, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay for your expenses out of your own pocket.

In addition to all those uninsured drivers, there are also a significant number of drivers with minimum coverage policies whose insurance may pay for only a portion of your damages if you’re involved in a crash with them

Even though insurance companies can be combative when it comes to paying settlements, having enough coverage for yourself can make a big difference after a crash.

So, what type of insurance should you purchase for maximum protection?

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Protects You from Uninsured Drivers

Tennessee doesn’t require that drivers carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage to legally use public roadways in the state. But driving without it can be a huge mistake. When you don’t have UM, you leave yourself vulnerable to crashes where you’re injured by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.

Note that UM coverage doesn’t cover vehicle damage, and purchasing a full coverage policy for yourself and your vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean you automatically get UM coverage. Thankfully, UM coverage is relatively inexpensive, and many people are unaware if they have it until they are involved in crashes and need it. In addition to covering uninsured drivers, UM coverage also kicks in the event the at-fault driver has a smaller policy than you and your damages exceed their minimum coverage.

Collision Coverage Can Help You Repair or Replace Your Vehicle

If you lease a vehicle or owe money on a car loan, you may be required to purchase collision coverage. This coverage kicks in after crashes to cover the costs of vehicle repairs or, if necessary, a replacement. Having collision coverage gives you peace of mind, as you’ll know you can get your vehicle fixed and back on the road quickly and without making a big dent in your wallet.

Medical Payments Coverage Helps with Medical Bills

Medical payment coverage, or MedPay, is a policy that pays out after injury-causing crashes regardless of who is at fault. These policies usually provide anywhere from $5,000 up to $25,000, and they are very useful for injured victims who need cash right away to cover pressing medical bills and everyday living expenses for themselves and their families.

However, it’s possible for these policies to be used in the wrong way and hurt victims’ cases. You should consult with your attorney before taking advantage of this coverage if you have it, as it should be considered a last resort option for getting compensation.

Health Insurance May Cover the Bulk of Your Healthcare Costs

Having health insurance is important for many reasons. Many health insurance plans cover doctor visits and routine checkups, and they also make it possible for people to get treated for serious injuries and illnesses with less impact on their personal finances.

Ideally, your health insurance will pay for your bills first, and that’s a good thing—even if you plan on filing an injury claim against the at-fault driver. However, in some cases, auto insurance kicks in first. Having a lawyer on your side can help you navigate the complexities of having different insurance policies kicking in at different times to pay for your damages.

Liability Insurance Protects You if You’re Found to Be at Fault

If the police report or the other driver’s insurance company investigates the crash and finds out you were at fault, having liability insurance is essential—not to mention required by the law. The minimum coverage in Tennessee is $25,000 per injury, $50,000 total per collision, and $15,000 for property damage. It’s recommended to increase this amount, as claims that go over it may result in you paying out of pocket.

Do I Need Comprehensive Coverage for My Vehicle?

Comprehensive car insurance coverage typically pays for damages to your vehicle that result from non-collision events. In Tennessee, comprehensive coverage includes protection against:

  • Theft: If your car is stolen, comprehensive coverage can help cover the cost of replacing the vehicle.
  • Vandalism: If your vehicle is intentionally damaged by acts of vandalism, like graffiti or broken windows, comprehensive insurance can pay for the repairs.
  • Fire: If your car is damaged or destroyed by a fire, whether accidental or due to arson, comprehensive coverage will help cover the costs.
  • Weather-related damage: This includes damage from hail, windstorms, lightning, floods, and other natural disasters.
  • Falling objects: If an object like a tree branch or debris falls on your car and causes damage, comprehensive insurance can provide coverage.
  • Animal collisions: If you hit an animal, such as a deer, and it causes damage to your vehicle, comprehensive coverage can pay for repairs.
  • Glass damage: This includes repairs or replacements for chipped or cracked windshields or other glass parts of your car.
  • Damage from civil disturbances: If your car is damaged during a riot, protest, or civil disturbance, comprehensive insurance can cover the costs.
  • Earthquakes: In some cases, comprehensive insurance may cover damage resulting from earthquakes.

Comprehensive coverage is optional in most states, including Tennessee, but it can be a valuable addition to your policy to protect against a wide range of non-collision events that could damage your vehicle. Keep in mind that it doesn’t cover damage from collisions with other vehicles or objects, which is typically covered by collision insurance.

It’s also important to note that comprehensive coverage can vary from policy to policy, and you shouldn’t expect that your policy will cover everything listed above. Always check your policy before you purchase it and before you file a claim to know exactly what it covers.

Should I Purchase an Umbrella Policy?

An umbrella insurance policy is a type of personal liability insurance that provides additional protection beyond the limits of your existing insurance policies, such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance. It’s designed to offer an extra layer of liability coverage to help safeguard your assets in the event of a lawsuit or a catastrophic crash where your existing insurance coverage may fall short.

An umbrella policy kicks in once the liability limits of your primary insurance policies have been exhausted. For example, if you’re involved in a severe car wreck and the costs exceed the liability limits of your auto insurance, your umbrella policy can provide additional coverage.

It’s important to note that umbrella insurance does not cover physical damage to your property or injuries to you or your family members—it’s strictly for liability protection. Additionally, to qualify for an umbrella policy, you usually need to maintain certain minimum liability limits on your primary insurance policies.

We’ll Help You Get the Money You’re Owed

Unfortunately, insurance companies are always looking for ways to reduce or deny claims of the people who need money the most. In many cases, that includes their own policyholders! At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers don’t just help people get settlements from the insurance policies of the drivers that hit them, but from their own policies as well.

Contact us right away after a crash that wasn’t your fault. We’ll review the facts of what happened, prove you weren’t at fault, determine how much money you’re owed from different insurance policies, and fight to help you get every penny.