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Tennessee Car Insurance Requirements

Posted on July 5, 2022 in

Tennessee requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance to legally operate a vehicle. Proof of coverage must also be in your car at all times. After an accident, insurance claims are a primary means of recovering compensation for injuries and repairs and whoever is determined at fault is legally responsible for the damages.

Car Insurance Minimums in Tennessee

The following minimum amounts of liability insurance are required in Tennessee:

Minimum Liability Coverage: 25/50/15

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or deaths per accident
  • $15,000 for property damage per accident

Liability coverage will only pay for the harm that you cause. Your insurance company will pay up to $50,000 for any injuries or deaths caused to another party and up to $15,000 in property damage to repair or replace their vehicle and/or other personal items. This coverage does not pay for your injuries or property damage.

Insurance companies are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage, but drivers can reject the coverage in writing.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: 25/50/15

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or deaths per accident
  • $15,000 for property damage per accident

If a Tennessee driver does not opt-out of this coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage helps pay for a car accident in which the at-fault driver does not have car insurance or does not have enough coverage for the damage they caused.

Optional Coverage

Drivers also have the option of purchasing additional coverage.

  • Collision: Covers your vehicle repairs or replacement regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
  • Medical Payments: Helps pay for medical expenses related to any injuries you or your passengers suffered in an accident.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: Payment for a rental car while waiting for your vehicle to be repaired or to receive payment for its replacement.
  • Roadside Assistance: If you need your car towed after an accident, your insurer will send a tow truck.
  • Loan/Lease Payoff: Also referred to as gap coverage, which can pay the difference between the amount you still owe on a loan or lease and the vehicle’s cash value if your leased car is totaled.
  • Comprehensive: Pays for damage to your vehicle caused by non-collision circumstances, such as theft or a weather-related event.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Driving without insurance in Tennessee is a Class C misdemeanor and can lead to the following penalties:

  • A fine of $300 (increased from $100 in 2015).
  • Suspension of license and registration until proof of insurance or financial responsibility is provided.
  • The police can tow your vehicle.
  • If you are arrested for driving without insurance, you will have 15 days to show proof of insurance. If there was no accident involved, you must pay $50 to the state’s commissioner of safety and an additional $65 as a reinstatement fee.
  • Causing an accident without insurance can subject a driver to up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Repeat offenders may be required to go through a defensive driving course and pass the exam before their license can be reinstated. Once reinstated, their insurance company will have to file an SR-22 form as proof of their auto insurance. This form allows an insurer to charge higher premiums and remain on a driving record for three years.