If you have recently been in a car wreck, it’s important to understand the different types of coverage you have available under your Tennessee auto insurance policy. Either you’ve paid for insurance for years and now you finally need to use it, or you want to know about the insurance for the person who caused the wreck and your personal injuries. Most injury victims involved in a car wreck think there are two types of auto insurance: liability insurance or “full coverage.” But what is full coverage, exactly? It’s actually not even a thing. It’s a made-up phrase that refers to a combination of different types of insurance coverage.
The quickest way to figure out what coverage you have under your Tennessee auto insurance policy is to look at a copy of the Declarations Page (i.e., Dec Page) of your policy. The Declarations Page is sent to you with each policy renewal and shows what type of coverage you have for each vehicle insured under the policy. It also shows the cost of each type of coverage. The Declarations Page is the most important part of your insurance policy, because:
- it dictates the main coverages that lead to how your car wreck claim is paid
- it states what the limits are for each section of the policy
- it includes the premiums charged for the coverage you have purchased
Below is a breakdown of the types of coverage and limits shown on our sample Declarations Page:
- Types of Mandatory Coverage and Limits:
Bodily Injury Liability:
According to Tennessee law, every driver must have a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Bodily Injury Liability insurance pays for injuries you cause to another driver if you are at-fault in the accident. Bodily Injury does not cover the medical costs of injuries you may get in the accident. It is considered a third-party insurance, since it only covers other drivers and passengers (you’re the first-party). Our sample Declarations Page has bodily injury coverage of $100,000/$200,000. The first number ($100,000) is the amount covered for one injured person in the accident, while the second number ($200,000) represents the maximum amount that can be recovered for all injured persons involved in the accident.
Property Damage Liability:
Tennessee law requires every driver to have a minimum of $15,000 for property damage per accident. Our sample Declarations Page has Property Damage Liability available of $50,000 per accident.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists liability coverage (UIM):
If you’re in an accident with another driver who doesn’t carry any or enough liability coverage, UIM coverage allows you and/or other individuals covered under your policy to still receive compensation for your damages. There are two categories of UIM coverage: Bodily Injury and Property Damage. Our sample Declarations Page has UIM Bodily Injury limits of $100,000/$200,000 and a limit of $25,000 for property damage.
Most injury victims do not know what comprehensive coverage means. Calling this type of coverage “comprehensive” is misleading. The Webster definition of comprehensive is “complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.” However, that is not what comprehensive means in your auto insurance policy. A lot of people mistakenly believe comprehensive coverage equals full coverage. This is wrong. Comprehensive coverage will pay to repair or replace your vehicle in the event of hail damage or a tree limb falling on your car (risks not involving an automobile collision). You’ll want to check the specific language in your policy to determine what types of events are covered by the comprehensive coverage provision in your policy. Comprehensive coverage pays to repair your vehicle, subject to a separate deductible. Our sample Declarations Page shows the policy includes comprehensive coverage subject to a $500 deductible.
If you’re in an automobile accident, regardless of who is at fault, collision coverage provides protection to replace or repair your vehicle, subject to a deductible. Collision coverage may also come into play if there is a dispute in liability between your insurance company and the other person’s insurance company (e.g., a dispute about who was at fault for the wreck). If there is a dispute about fault, the other insurance company may refuse to have your vehicle fixed until depositions are taken and fault is determined. If you have collision coverage, it should pay to have your vehicle fixed while fault is being determined. Our sample Declaration Page shows this particular policy does have collision coverage subject to a $500 deductible.
Emergency Road Service:
Emergency road service coverage (also known as towing and labor, emergency repair service, motor club, or roadside assistance) provides on-the-spot assistance for various types of roadside emergencies. Typical emergency road services include flat tire repair/replacement, lock-out services, and gas delivery. Our sample Declarations Page has this coverage.
This coverage will provide you with a rental car in the event you’re in a wreck, regardless of who caused the wreck.
Usually, your rental reimbursement coverage is triggered when:
- You caused the wreck
- There is a dispute about who caused the wreck
- The at-fault party was uninsured
- Types of Optional Coverage and Limits:
Our sample Declarations Page shows the policy has rental reimbursement coverage of $30 per day, and caps out at $900 for each accident.
Attorney Adrienne Waters Ogle is one of the founding partners at the law firm Green, Waters Ogle and McCarter located in Sevierville, TN. Adrienne is a former insurance company attorney who uses her insider knowledge of the claims process to help injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. Contact us for more information about how to deal with the claims process following a car accident.