• Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers

    The scale of the problem

    Even though virtually every state has adopted some form of mandatory car insurance, nationwide, the percentage of uninsured motorists stands at 12.6. This means that, if you get into an accident, there is 1 in 8 chance that the at-fault driver will have no insurance or collision coverage.

    In Kentucky, this ratio is a little lower (estimated at 11.5%), however, Tennessee – with the rate of 20% or 1 in 5 drivers – is one of the states with the highest estimated percentage of uninsured motorists. It stands to reason then, that the number of drivers who only have a basic insurance with low limits is even greater.

    Being involved in an accident in which the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured can be stressful and costly. The good news is that, as a motorist, you can prepare yourself for such situations with your own insurance company.

    An effective way of addressing this problem is to buy uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and have these included in your car insurance policy. These two insurance coverage types can provide additional financial resources to cover your financial losses if the at-fault driver has no liability insurance, or if it is insufficient.

    Underinsured vs. Uninsured collision insurance – How they differ

    Even though they are often used interchangeably, these are actually two different types of insurance policies.

    Consider the following scenario: on your way to work, you are hit by a driver who failed to yield the right of way. As a result, your car sustains major damage and you suffer a bodily injury that will require treatment and perhaps a period of rehabilitation. Since the other driver was clearly at fault in the accident, you try to gather all the possible evidence of their negligence. You manage to obtain testimonies from the witnesses of the collision as well as the police report that supports your version of events. You decide to make use of all the legal options available to you in order to ensure that the wrongs you experienced will be rectified. Primarily, you’d like to secure financial compensation for your medical expenses as well as the cost of the repairs to your car. However, when you contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company, it turns out that the damages you’re claiming greatly exceed the maximum amount of the driver’s coverage! It now appears that you will have to cover the difference out of your own pocket.

    This describes a scenario with an underinsured driver. The person who caused the accident did have basic liability insurance but the coverage limits the driver carried were insufficient to cover all the damage experienced by the injured party. In Kentucky, the minimum liability limits required by the law are:

      • $25,000 for bodily injuries sustained by one person
      • $50,000 for all bodily injuries sustained by all the people injured in the accident
      • $10,000 for all property damage

    Additional reading: Is Kentucky a No Fault state?

    In Tennessee, the limits for bodily injuries per person and per accident are the same. The limit for all property damage is higher – $15,000. It is important to note that, even though these minimum limits may seem like they should be enough to cover the damage in most cases, the reality is that in the event of a serious injury, they are woefully insufficient. In these cases, a car accident lawyer is often needed to help recover additional compensation from a negligent driver’s insurance company if coverage is not adequate.

    If you have a UIM policy and you are injured by a driver whose liability coverage limits are insufficient to cover your losses, it may help you pay for the damage. Uninsured motorist coverage, on the other hand, can help you pay for medical expenses and cover other costs if you are injured in an accident caused by a driver who has no insurance at all.

    Kentucky and Tennessee do not require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage

    Many Kentucky motorists are unaware that their policy doesn’t automatically include UM/UIM coverage until it’s too late. If you’re involved in a wreck caused by an uninsured driver and don’t have UM/UIM coverage at the time of the collision, you won’t be able to add that coverage on later to protect yourself from expenses incurred due to that accident.

    Similarly in Tennessee, drivers are not required to have insurance that includes uninsured motorist coverage. This means that if you live in Tennessee, while you may believe you have “full coverage,” you may be lacking UM/UIM insurance.

    Being injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver is a real possibility in both states. Therefore, each vehicle-owner should do well to carefully consider both pros and cons of having such insurance. This will allow them to make an informed decision in order to ensure they will be secured financially should such accident ever happen.

    If you are not sure if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, there are a few steps you can take to check your insurance policy.

    First, locate your insurance policy documents. These should include a declarations page, which outlines the coverage provided by your policy. Look for a section on uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or UM/UIM coverage. The declarations page should list the limits of your coverage, which is the maximum amount that your insurance company will pay out if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. The declarations page should also contain helpful information regarding your deductibles, premiums, and your policy period.

    If you cannot find your insurance policy documents, or if you are still unsure if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can contact your insurance company or your insurance agent. They should be able to provide you with information about the coverage included in your policy.

    “Stacking” your policies in Kentucky and Tennessee

    ‘Stacking insurance policies’ refers to the option of combining the maximum limits of your policy’s coverage based on the number of insured vehicles. For example let’s say you own two cars. You buy UIM/UM insurance with the $25,000 liability limit per injured person and $50,000 per accident and you decide to insure both of your vehicles. If you select the option of stacking, in the case of being injured by an uninsured/underinsured motorist, you will be able to recover as much as $50,000/$100,000 from your insurer – twice as much as the limit of your insurance – no matter which of your cars you were driving at the time of your accident.

    The laws with regards to stacking differ from state to state. In Kentucky, drivers are able to stack their policies in order to obtain maximum recovery. In Tennessee, however, you will only be able to recover the amount of your biggest policy.

    If you’ve been injured by a negligent driver with no insurance or not enough insurance, contact us today

    In summary, it is worth taking the time to check your insurance policy for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you do not have this coverage, or if you have insufficient coverage, it may be worth considering adding it to your policy. It can provide important protection for you and your family in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, or if you are injured in a hit-and-run.

    If you’ve been injured in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, call us today to talk through your legal options. Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side can help you through this often-complicated process.


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Bowling Green, KY 42104

Phone: (270) 782-6000



2110 N Dixie Hwy #102

Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Phone: (270) 737-0640



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Louisville, KY 40219

Phone: (502) 585-4025



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Louisville, KY 40216

Phone: (502) 585-4693



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Lexington, KY 40505

Phone: (859) 260-1722


Tennessee Locations


446 James Robertson Pkwy #100

Nashville, TN 37219

Phone: (615) 255-9100



1501 Memorial Blvd

Murfreesboro, TN 37129

Phone: (615) 907-0687



323 N Riverside Dr #100

Clarksville, TN 37040

Phone: (931) 546-7200



622 W 7th St

Columbia, TN 38401

Phone: (931) 505-7040



126 W Eastland Ave

Gallatin, TN 37066

Phone: (615) 451-4288