Tennessee is one of the top five states for uninsured motorists. Roughly 20% of the vehicles on our roads are not covered by insurance. Second, 46.8% of all ride-share drivers do not have ride-share insurance. So why are these two facts so scary?
Let’s take the first fact: 20% of the cars on the road in Tennessee are not covered by insurance. And many more have the bare minimum insurance required by law. If you are hit and injured by one of these drivers, the only recovery you are likely to have is if you have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage via your own insurance company. Generally, people do not buy car insurance because their budget will not allow it. If their budget does not permit them to buy car insurance, it is unlikely that they have enough cash or assets to compensate you for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc. However, if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can seek compensation from your own insurance company pursuant to those benefits you purchased. Think of it this way: when you buy regular collision coverage, you are trying to protect your assets in the event you make a mistake. When you purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you are buying insurance to protect yourself from someone else making a mistake. Of course, you can control your actions and reduce the likelihood of you making a mistake – you can choose to drive the speed limit, to not engage in distracted driving, to always have designated driver, etc. But, you cannot control the actions of other drivers, which makes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage even more important.
As for fact number 2, ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber present some unique insurance questions. If you are injured in an accident as a passenger with a ride-share driver, the ride-sharing company’s insurance should be responsible for any damages, assuming it is the ride-sharing driver’s fault. But what if a ride-sharing driver causes an accident on the way to pick up a passenger or while cruising the road, signed into the app, but without actually going to or carrying a passenger? Ride-sharing drivers are supposed to have their own insurance. But, if they do not disclose they are driving for a ride-sharing service and pay the additional premium attendant to that work, their insurance is most likely not going to cover the accident. As stated earlier, a whopping 46.8 of polled ride-sharing drivers did not have ride-share insurance. So again, you may not have any ability to recoup your losses unless you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This risk is compounded more when you consider 8 in 10 ride-share drivers have also signed up to participate as drivers for on-demand services such as DoorDash, UberEats, Amazon Flex, grocery delivery services, etc. If those drivers do not disclose that they are using their vehicles for a commercial purpose when they purchase insurance, for the ones who actually do, then their coverage will almost certainly be void and ineffective.
Uninsured/underinsured insurance is cheaper than you think, and you should purchase as much as you can reasonably afford. Most experts say, at a minimum, it should be equal to your collision coverage. And actually this makes sense, if you are willing to buy $300,000 in insurance to protect other people from your mistakes, why would you not want to purchase $300,000 or more to protect yourself from other people’s mistakes.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident and would like a free, no-obligation consultation, give us a call at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free). Our award-winning attorneys handle all accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid