Fundamental Concepts of Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist ('UM'/ 'UIM') Law in Tennessee
What it is?Uninsured ('UM') and underinsured ('UIM') motorist coverage is that component of an automobile insurance policy that provides protection to the insured from other drivers' conduct that may have no coverage or less coverage than the insured. This form of coverage applies to the named insured(s) on the policy (or policyholders) and any other individuals defined as an "insured" within the policy's terms and provisions.
How it is Interpreted?In Tennessee, the determination of issues concerning UM and UIM coverage is governed by a combination of statutes, law of contracts and common law precedent. The Tennessee Legislature has set out various statutes that deal with this type of coverage. See Tenn. Code Ann. ? 56-7-1206. Contract interpretation is required, because technically an insurance policy is a contract between the insurer and insured. Generally, Tennessee Courts will interpret the policy within the confines of its plain and ordinary meaning, unless there is some proof of fraud or mistake at the time of the creation of the agreement. Because the insurer drafts the policy, any ambiguity within the policy will be likely held against it. Common law comes into play, as well, because legal issues involving negligence, fault and causation generally arise in UM/ UIM matters.