Why Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Insurance in TN or GA?

Why Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Insurance in Tennessee or Georgia?

By the Dennis and King Law Firm In Chattanooga, TN

Despite the fact that Tennessee and Georgia require automobile insurance, there are still many drivers on our roads lacking it. By some estimates, as many as fifty percent of all drivers in Tennessee and North Georgia lack insurance coverage. Furthermore, those that do carry insurance only carry the lowest limits allowable by law: $25,000 per person/$50,000 per wreck.

What does all this mean? It means if a careless driver causes injury to another driver, the injured party may never recover enough money to compensate them for medical bills as well as pain and suffering. This is why Tennessee and Georgia law requires every car insurance company selling liability insurance also to offer uninsured motorist coverage in an amount equal to the limits of the property damage and “at-fault” bodily injury coverage amounts in that policy.

What Is the Minimum Legal Automobile Insurance Policy in Tennessee?

In 2008, under the 2010 Financial Responsibility Law, the state legislature increased the minimum liability coverage amount by revising section 55-12-102 of the Tennessee Code:

“(12) Proof of financial responsibility or proof of financial security means:…
(i) If proof is required after December 21, 2008, proof means:
(a) A written proof of liability insurance coverage provided by a single limit policy with a limit of not less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) applicable to one (1) accident;
(b) A split-limit policy with a limit of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for bodily injury to or death of

one (1) person, not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for bodily injury to or death of two (2) or more persons in any one (1) accident, and not less than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for damage to property in any one (1) accident…”

If the bare legal minimum car insurance policy of 25/50/15 is purchased, then one can only receive that same amount of coverage for an uninsured motorist {UM} policy. Why is this? Because Tennessee law forbids UM coverage exceeding the liability coverage. Keep this fact in mind when shopping for car insurance. Even though an inexpensive premium is desired, drivers also need enough insurance to protect against uninsured drivers or underinsured drivers. In this day and age when an ambulance ride costs $1500, a CT scan costs $1800, an MRI costs $4500, and a 24-hour hospital stay can easily run $10,000 dollars, $25,000 dollars is really not very much.

When Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Apply?

Most UM policies will cover injuries to:

  • the insured, while driving or riding in their car or any car and while as a pedestrian
  • any relative who lives with the insured while driving or riding in the vehicle listed in the policy
  • anyone else riding in or driving the insured’s car, with the insured’s permission
  • anyone riding in a car the insured is driving but does not own.

When Does Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage Apply?

UIM coverage applies only if the injured party proves to their insurance company that the careless driver who hit them lacked enough insurance to properly compensate them. This can be proven after the injured party has managed to get the careless driver’s insurance company to offer them “policy limits” of $25,000 in writing. This can be a complicated procedure because it requires cooperation between the injured party’s insurance company and the careless driver’s insurance after the accident.

For more information about the laws in Tennessee regarding car insurance, contact Dennis and King in Chattanooga, TN at 423-892-5533. They are here to help and can provide a great deal of information about how underinsured motorist insurance can apply to injuries if a negligent driver has caused an injury.