I live in Tennessee. I was in a car wreck in Nashville and got hurt. It was the other driver’s fault. The other driver has no insurance. I looked at my automobile insurance policy and it says that I have uninsured motorist insurance of $25,000 / $50,000. What does that mean?
It means that for any one car wreck that is the fault of another driver who does not have any insurance your insurance company will pay you up to $25,000 in losses and damages you suffer. If more than one person in your vehicle is injured in the wreck, the company will pay up to $25,000 to all of the persons in your vehicle who were injured and covered under the policy but no more than $50,000 for any one person.
Note that each person who is injured does not automatically get $25,000 – they must demonstrate amount of their damages and can recover up to $25,000 each.
Your policy also provides your protection if the at-fault driver was underinsured. For example, assume that the driver that hit you was from another state and had a liability insurance policy that provided the driver $10,000 / $20,000 in liability insurance coverage. That means that for any one car wreck that was the other driver’s fault his insurance company will pay a person injured in the wreck up to $10,000 in losses and damages they suffer. If more than one person is injured in the wreck, the company will pay, on the at-fault driver’s behalf, up to $20,000 but no more than $10,000 for any one person.
If such a driver caused you $100,000 in damages, he would have insufficient insurance to pay you what you were entitled to receive under the law. He is underinsured for your claim. When it is proven that an underinsured driver caused your wreck, you have the right to insist that your uninsured motorist coverage to pay the rest of your damages up to the amount of your insurance coverage, minus the amount of liability insurance coverage from the at-fault driver. So, under this hypothetical, you could collect $10,000 from the at-fault driver and $15,000 from your own insurance company under your uninsured motorist coverage. (Your uninsured motorist coverage is reduced by the amount of liability insurance of the at-fault driver.) Unfortunately, you would be left with trying to recover the additional $75,000 from the at-fault driver personally.
Uninsured motorist coverage is a very complicated subject. Tennessee has some very peculiar rules that govern uninsured motorist cases. We offer a free consultation to people who have been involved in accidents and believe that they may have an uninsured motorist claim.