Understanding auto liability
Liability coverage is the most basic and minimal form of auto insurance. The required state minimum in Tennessee is called "25/50/15". That means the policy has bodily injury (which you cause to someone else) limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. The "15" means $15,000 worth of property damage liability. 25/50/15 will get you legal but it's obvious that most people need lots more protection. It's easy to see that if you injure someone $25,000 in medical expenses can pile up very quickly. And what if there are four people in the other car with tens of thousands of dollars worth of injuries each? You could end up losing your home or having your wages garnished for decades if a judgment is rendered against you. We will sell you the minimum if that's all you can afford, but we always recommend carrying more liability. The cost is often very reasonable to upgrade to 50/100/50, 100/300/100, or even 250/500/250 limits.
Did you know that a trip the LifeStar medical helicopter can cost $10,000 - do you have enough liability to cover that?
We've been discussing split limit liability which is the most common type. However, another form is available it has some advantages in our opinion. That type is called combined single limit (CSL). This type provides a single amount of liability, say $300,000 or $500,000, that can be divvied up as needed. If you caused the destruction of a cargo truck and its expensive freight but there were no injuries to the driver, you draw on the whole limit to pay for the damaged goods. Likewise, if you caused an accident with minor property damage and a serious bodily injury, the whole amount could go to the injured driver's medical expenses. CSL is a little more expensive but we think it's the best type of liability for many people.
Those who elect to purchase higher limits of $500,000 can often purchase an affordable umbrella policy which can add another $1,000,000 or more to your auto and home liability limits.
What the heck is uninsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is the most common coverage after the required liability coverage. Its purpose is to protect you from the driver who has no insurance or who doesn't have "enough" insurance. It adds very little to the cost of basic liability. I believe it's the best value in insurance. It means -- for a few dollars a month -- that you can be reimbursed for damage to your vehicle or injury to yourself done by another driver. The property portion is straightforward. You need enough to pay for a total loss of your own vehicle. The bodily injury number is more important. It will pay you for medical expenses and even lost wages as a result of the actions of another at-fault driver. It works as if the other driver had liability or may pick up where an insured driver's limits run out. This is a reason to purchase a sufficient amount of UM/UIM coverage. It cannot exceed your regular liability limits and is usually shown in the same 25/50/15-type format (see above). It may also be purchase in the combined single limit form (CSL). Learn more here.
DISCLAIMER: The assertions, explanations, and representations made on this website are not guarantees of any particular coverage or policy provision. You should always read your policy in full and directly ask your agent or company any questions you may have regarding coverage. This information is provided as general information that may be helpful to our customers but it is not the last word and is not legally binding.