Tennessee Car Insurance Requirements
In order to protect innocent victims of negligent drivers, Tennessee requires car owners to provide some sort of guarantee they can meet any financial obligations that arise from a car crash. Drivers in the Volunteer State can provide this guarantee by either purchasing car insurance or posting a cash deposit or bond with the Department of Safety.
The bond/cash deposit option is cost prohibitive for most people, making the purchase of a car insurance policy the more common of the two. When you purchase car insurance in Tennessee you’ll be offered liability insurance at the lowest levels allowed by law. You can increase those levels and add other types of coverage as you see fit.
A minimal liability policy in Tennessee offers at least:
- $25,000 per accident for injuries or death of one victim
- $50,000 per accident for combined injuries/deaths of multiple people
- $15,000 per accident for property damage payments
Unlike health insurance that might cap payments based on a preset annual limit, auto insurance is applied to each individual accident. That means if you had three serious accidents in the course of a year (though we certainly hope not) your insurance company could pay upwards of $45,000 for property damage.
Register without Proof
Tennessee is one of only a few states that doesn’t require drivers to prove they have insurance before registering a car. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll get away with not having insurance in force. Tennessee routinely reviews electronic records as well as requiring drivers to furnish proof of insurance during traffic stops and accident investigations.
If you’re required by a police officer to provide proof of insurance, you can do so by showing a carrier-issued insurance ID card or a document certifying you left a cash deposit or bond with the DOS. If you’re not really covered you’ll face at least a $100 fine. You can also have your license suspended and a stop order put on your registration to prevent you from renewing it.
If you are covered but just didn’t have documentation in your car, you can provide proof to the court within a designated amount of time and avoid the most severe penalties. You’ll probably still have to pay the $100 fine, however.
In Tennessee you can shop for cheap car insurance using an online search portal like this one, contacting a local independent agent, or by getting in touch with insurance companies directly. Either way, good insurance is easy to find. You shouldn’t have any trouble getting a policy you can afford.