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Driving without insurance in Tennessee can lead to severe consequences. Navigating through the hilly and steep roads in Tennessee is challenging to drivers, contributing to thousands of accidents each year. Whether you’re the at-fault driver or not, you must have valid coverage at the time of the accident to avoid license suspension or paying for damages.
What Are the Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in Tennessee?
Tennessee residents need minimum coverage to drive on their roads legally. However, people visiting from other states may use their existing insurance as stipulated in that state. Their insurance coverage may not necessarily meet the set minimum limit in Tennessee.
Minimum car liability coverage in Tennessee requires the following:
- $25,000 for each death or bodily injury in a single accident
- $50,000 for all deaths or injuries in an accident
- $15,000 compensation for damage per accident
Drivers should get a collision or comprehensive coverage to avoid settling the excessive bills after an accident out of pocket. If you don’t own the car, the lender or the leasing agent must have comprehensive or collision coverage in addition to your minimum coverage.
Average Cost Auto Insurance in Tennessee
Your car insurance cost in Tennessee is determined according to the car’s age, your marital status, credit score, driving record, location, and the insurance provider. Car insurance in Tennessee costs an average of $85 each month, equivalent to $1020 annually. However, drivers with a high-risk tag can pay up to $1300 per year.
Does the No-fault Law Apply in Tennessee?
Unlike most states, Tennessee is not a no-fault state. The Tennessee insurance law allows the driver who is not at fault to claim for injuries and damages sustained through a personal injury lawsuit. If the at-fault driver is insured, the claim is made to the insurance. The uninsured driver is made to settle the matter via court.
Importance of Insuring Your Vehicle
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 24 percent of Tennessee drivers have no minimum liability insurance. Given that collisions happen even to the most careful drivers, it is best to prepare for a potentially expensive accident. As an at-fault driver, you must pay all the damages and cater for medical bills out of pocket which is a costly affair.
According to the Zebra, motorists in Tennessee can obtain collision, comprehensive, or minimum coverage from their preferred insurance companies. Although the extra comprehensive and collision policies are a bit expensive, drivers must still obtain the minimum liability coverage. It can protect you from hefty fines, license suspension, or several months of jail time.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Tennessee
Driving without proof of insurance in Tennessee is a traffic offense eligible for a $25 ticket. When pulled or over or involved in a collision, the first thing a police officer will ask for is the insurance card. Keep it in your wallet or car compartment to save time and avoid losing your driving privileges.
Motorists found giving false insurance information to traffic officers during a stop face an insurance fraud crime. Its penalties will depend on what was happening at the time of the traffic stop or accident.
Driving without insurance in Tennessee is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a penalty of $300. The state suspends your license and car registration until you provide proof of insurance or financial responsibility. If the police officer deems it necessary, they can tow your car to the station.
If you get arrested for driving without insurance, you’ll receive 15 days notice requiring you to show your proof of insurance. If there was no accident involved, you’ll pay the state’s commissioner of safety the mandatory $50 and an additional $65 as reinstatement fees.
Repeat offenders driving without insurance in Tennessee may need to go through a defensive driving course and pass the exam before reinstatement of their licenses. Also, the insurance provider must file an SR-22 form as proof that you now have auto insurance. The form remains on file for three years, whereby your insurer may charge you higher premiums for being a risky driver.
Causing an accident without insurance is a Class C misdemeanor attracting imprisonment of up to 12 months and a maximum fine of $2500. The situation worsens when you’re the at-fault driver. All the repairs and bills stemming from the accident will be out of your pocket.
How Injured Persons Can Make a Claim in Tennessee
Individuals who suffer any form of loss or bodily harm can claim compensation through the following ways:
- File a personal injury claim against the responsible driver in a civil court.
- File a third-party claim with the insurance provider of the at-fault driver.
- Claim compensation through your insurance company if your policy covers such losses. Your insurance carrier will then pursue the at-fault provider using a claim.
Additional Coverage for Motorists in Tennessee
Drivers in Tennessee only need liability insurance to drive on any road. However, you may want to cover more than the minimum insurance for the safety of your family, other motorists, and pedestrians in case of an accident. They include:
- Comprehensive coverage: This caters to accidents arising from natural calamities and theft by paying for the damages caused and car restoration.
- Collision: This covers repair bills resulting from hitting another car or object.
- Medical Payments: This covers the medical bills of all the injured passengers. Further, it covers funeral costs if the accident causes death(s).
- Roadside assistance: This policy comes in handy when a car breaks down on the road. What is covered differs with each insurance carrier.
Although minimum liability may save you hundreds of dollars per month, additional coverage can save you big time. Discuss the terms and what’s covered on each policy before you subscribe and start paying the premiums.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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