How Much Auto Insurance Should I Have?

Car Wreck

My insurance agent called me the other day for my yearly review of my auto insurance coverage.  The discussion we had reminded me that many of my clients and other drivers in Tennessee do not have sufficient coverage to protect themselves in case of injuries from a car wreck. There are a great number of people in Tennessee that are driving without insurance even though it is required by law.

Tennessee requires that a driver have $25,000/$50,000 in liability coverage.  Remember that liability coverage only covers other people who are injured and not the at-fault driver.  $25,000 covers one injured individual and $50,000 would cover all injured parties who were hurt in a car wreck.  $25,000 is not very much money to cover severe injuries and resulting medical bills from car wreck.  So, how do you protect yourself if someone hits you with minimum or no coverage?  Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage is the answer.  Tennessee law does not require UM/UIM coverage but it will cover you in the event that you are injured in a wreck with an uninsured or underinsured driver.  UM coverage can be purchased on your policy and can be used in place of the insurance of the other driver when that person does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages.   UM/UIM coverage is the best way to assure that you can protect yourself in the event that you are in car wreck with an uninsured/underinsured driver.

As a driver, you also want to have a policy that protects you and your family if you are at fault in a car accident.   You do not want to be driving with minimum policy limits and risk losing your personal assets, including your home, because you don’t have enough car insurance.  If you do not have enough automobile insurance, an injured person can come after your personal belongings to recover for his or her damages.  The safest and most financially sound decision you can make is to have higher than required liability coverage and UM/UIM coverage.  Here is what I would recommend that you have for insurance coverage:

  • A minimum of $250,000/$500,000 in liability coverage to protect your personal assets.
  • A minimum of $250,000/$500,000 in UM/UIM coverage to protect yourself in the event that you are injured by an uninsured/underinsured driver.
  • A $1,000,000 liability and UM/UIM umbrella policy to serve as a back up to your liability and UM/UIM policies in case of a very serious injury.

In the case that you cannot afford these amounts, I would still never carry a policy lower that $100,000 in liability and UM/UIM coverage.  It is always a good idea to call your insurance agent and check what type of coverage you have and make sure you are taking the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family.

If you have any questions regarding insurance or have been hurt in a car wreck, call Paul at 615-256-4747 or contact him online to schedule a free consultation.  The Paul D. Jeter Law Firm is located in the Historic Washington Square Building in Downtown Nashville and Paul has represented clients from all over Tennessee, including: Nashville, Franklin, Memphis, Gallatin, Hendersonville, Lebanon, Columbia, Murfreesboro, Brentwood and Dickson.