Do You Really Have Full Coverage for a Car Wreck in Tennessee?

Carrying full car insurance coverageTennessee law requires all drivers to purchase a minimum amount of car insurance. However, there is no clear definition of what “full coverage” is, and the amount of “full” coverage can vary between insurance companies. The bottom line: You may think you have full coverage, only to discover that the damage to you or your vehicle is not covered by your policy.

“Full” Coverage Can Include Liability, Collision, or Both

Most people consider “full” coverage to mean the mandatory liability insurance that is required by Tennessee law. Liability coverage pays for any bodily harm or injury caused by the policyholder when he is driving a covered vehicle. Tennessee drivers are required to purchase a minimum of $15,000 of property damage liability, as well as a minimum bodily liability insurance of $25,000 for each injury and $50,000 for the total injuries of one crash.

Liability insurance can go a long way to helping victims recover after a wreck. It covers accident costs even if you were driving negligently or were somewhat to blame for the accident, and also pays for your attorney fees and costs if you’re named in an injury lawsuit. However, liability coverage will not pay for the effects of any illegal driving activities, such as drinking and driving.

The most common types of auto insurance also include:

  • Collision coverage. This kind of coverage pays for the damage to your car only. It should cover the cost to repair or replace your vehicle after it has been damaged in an accident with another car or if someone drove your car into a fixed object (such as a stop sign or tree). Collision coverage usually reimburses a policyholder for the estimated cash value of the car immediately before the accident.
  • Medical payments coverage (MedPay). This insurance covers the cost of medical care for you or any passenger injured in your vehicle. It only pays out a small amount of your total medical costs, typically between one and five thousand dollars.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage can be invaluable in protecting drivers from having to cover the costs of their own accidents. Uninsured (or underinsured) coverage pays for any damages that were not your fault. If the driver who struck you does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance to cover the costs of the accident, your uninsured motorist policy pays for your vehicle damages as well as medical bills. It’s important to note that this coverage will usually not pay out until your liability insurance has first paid up to the limit of your policy. 

The Best Way to Protect Yourself After a Crash

One way to lessen your chances of an insurance dispute and ensure that your bills get paid is to buy the most comprehensive coverage you can afford. An underinsured motorist policy with a high limit combined with generous liability coverage is a good way to make sure you’ll be covered during normal, safe driving.

You can also protect yourself by staying on your guard when dealing with an insurance provider. Your insurance company is not your friend, and you can’t trust the representatives they send to contact you. In some cases, a victim’s own insurance company will hire a lawyer to defend the at-fault driver who struck them, fighting against the claim to ensure they don’t have to pay out. Always remain polite and professional with your insurance representatives, and do not hesitate to seek legal advice if your claim is denied or undervalued.

Another way to make sure your rights are respected is to contact an injury lawyer as quickly as possible. If you have been hurt in an accident, our legal team can explain your options in your free, no-obligation consultation. Contact Griffith Law today to find out how to get compensation for your injuries.

John Griffith
Nashville Personal Injury Attorney