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Tennessee Car Insurance Laws and Requirements (Updated August 2022)

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Maria Sanchez

By: Maria Sanchez

Edited by Jackie Cohen

Last Updated June 17, 2022

The law in the state of Tennessee dictates the minimum requirements for insurance coverage that all drivers must carry. All drivers in Tennessee must hold 25/50/15 in liability coverage. While uninsured motorist coverage isn’t required, it is suggested. Additionally, drivers can pick from a long list of additional coverages for added protection.

Quick Facts

  • Car insurance is required by law in Tennessee.
  • Drivers in Tennessee must carry 25/50/15 in liability insurance, including both bodily injury and property damage.
  • If caught driving uninsured, drivers face $300 in fines and potential license suspension.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Tennessee

The minimum car insurance requirements in Tennessee[1] are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
  • $15,000 for property damage liability per accident

Tennessee auto insurance law states that anyone who is found responsible for causing an auto accident needs to cover the damages and other related expenses. This means that it is an at-fault state, and it’s another reason why having a policy is so important. Even just having the required minimum can help make sure you’re not paying out of pocket in case of an accident.

Why is car insurance required in Tennessee?

Auto insurance protects drivers from financial liability in the event of an accident. Depending on a policy’s specific coverage limitations, car insurance may cover everything from vehicle damage to medical bills.

Bodily Injury Liability

Bodily injury liability is part of your liability car insurance coverage. If you cause an accident, this coverage will help cover the other party’s medical expenses and related costs like lost wages. This type of coverage will not cover your own medical expenses for injuries sustained in a car accident you caused. Bodily injury liability coverage is required in Tennessee.

Property Damage Liability

Property damage liability is the other half of your liability car insurance. It covers repair costs and damage expenses to the other cars involved in an accident you caused. This coverage does not cover damage to your own car in an accident you were at fault for. Property damage liability coverage is required in Tennessee.

See More: Cheap Car Insurance in Tennessee

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Is state minimum car insurance enough in Tennessee?

The minimum required car insurance coverage in the state of Tennessee provides drivers with a solid foundation of auto insurance coverage, but it may not be enough for everyone. If you think you’re more likely to cause an accident, you might want to consider getting more than the minimum limits to make sure you’re not stuck paying out of pocket.

Also, the Tennessee minimum only requires liability insurance, which covers costs related to injury and damage done to the other party. None of the minimum car insurance coverage will protect you in an accident or if you’re hit by an uninsured driver. For this reason, you should consider getting coverage from your insurance provider that will support you in case of a claim.

Optional Car Insurance Coverage for Tennessee

Tennessee drivers who want to be protected in any situation should consider bolstering the minimum car insurance coverage with the following supplemental car insurance coverages:

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage covers damages to your car after a collision with another vehicle or object. If your vehicle is a total loss, collision coverage will reimburse you for the actual cash value of your vehicle. This is a great addition to the required property damage liability coverage in Tennessee, which applies only to the damages to the other driver’s vehicle.

Comprehensive Coverage

Complementing your collision coverage, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle that occurs during an event that is not a collision with another vehicle or object. This may apply in situations of vandalism, theft, weather damage, or a run-in with an animal. Adding comprehensive and collision coverage together creates a full-coverage car insurance policy.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If an uninsured (or underinsured) driver causes an accident and you suffer bodily injury, uninsured motorist coverage will cover your medical expenses. If the at-fault driver surpasses their bodily injury liability coverage limits, your underinsured motorist coverage will cover the rest of your medical expenses. Uninsured motorist property damage coverage is another option.

Other Supplemental Coverage

If you want additional coverage, you can tailor your insurance policy to fit your needs. Since Tennessee only requires liability coverage in its minimum requirements, you might want to think about adding medical payments (MedPay) so that you have help with paying for any hospital bills and even funeral expenses after an accident. Those expenses can add up without insurance.

There are other add-ons like rental car reimbursement, which helps pay for a rental if your car is in the shop, and roadside assistance, which can help with most car trouble. If you want peace of mind when you’re on the road and are afraid of breaking down, roadside services include car towing, jump-starting your battery, bringing you gas, and more.

See More: Average Cost of Car Insurance in Tennessee

Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Tennessee

It is illegal to drive in Tennessee without the minimum car insurance coverage. Failing to show proof of insurance when law enforcement asks can result in some serious penalties. While a one-time fee of $300 doesn’t seem so bad, losing your driving privileges has a long-term effect on your driving record, on top of having to pay additional fees in order to reinstate them.

  • Paying a fine of $300
  • Towing your vehicle
  • Suspending your driver’s license

See More: High-Risk Car Insurance in Tennessee

Minimum Requirements for High-Risk Drivers in Tennessee

If you lose your driving privileges and want to get back on the road, there are a few extra steps you need to take. The Tennessee Financial Responsibility Law asks vehicle owners to prove their ability to cover financial losses if they end up causing a car accident. This can be done with an SR-22, which is not coverage but a certificate that acts as proof of financial responsibility.

Filing an SR-22 is similar to having a good credit score, proving to the state that you have the financial means and capability to cover potential costs from damages you cause on the road. All Tennessee drivers who wish to file an SR-22 and reinstate their vehicle registration need to do so for a period of three to five years.

More Information for High-Risk Drivers in Tennessee

DUI Insurance in Tennessee

SR-22 Insurance in Tennessee

Cheapest Minimum Car Insurance in Tennessee

Car insurance companies weigh different factors to determine what to quote drivers on their car insurance policies. Minimum coverage generally means lower car insurance rates. It also means low coverage limits, which may cost you if you’re ever involved in an accident. Here are the cheapest car insurance quotes for minimum coverage in Tennessee.

Insurance CompanyMonthly Quote for Minimum Coverage
Progressive$77
Travelers$81
Dairyland$93
Liberty Mutual$112
Nationwide$170
Bristol West$177
Disclaimer: actual quotes may vary based on the policyholder's unique driver profile.

How to Find Cheap Car Insurance in Tennessee

There are plenty of ways to save on your car insurance premium, like bundling auto insurance with homeowners or renters or finding discounts that you qualify for. However, the easiest way to save is by shopping around for affordable insurance coverage first. Insurify does all the work to sift through rates and help you compare car insurance quotes so that you get the best deal.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, anyone who operates a motor vehicle in the state of Tennessee needs to carry 25/50/15 in liability insurance, covering both bodily injury and property damage caused to another party. While uninsured motorist protection isn’t required, it is encouraged to make sure you have protection, regardless of who caused the accident.

  • No, Tennessee is an at-fault state. Police officers or other law enforcement at the scene of the accident will determine who caused it, and that person (and their insurance company) is then responsible for paying for the damage. This is why it’s so important to have the minimum insurance requirements—you don’t want to be stuck paying for expenses out of pocket.

  • No, it does not, but it’s encouraged so that you’re protected in case of a hit-and-run or if you get into any sort of collision with a driver who doesn’t have coverage.

  • Yes, you need to provide proof of car insurance at the time of registration. Even having a lapse in your coverage can result in the Tennessee Department of Revenue contacting you.

  • Getting a car insurance policy—whether it be the minimum requirements or coverage tailored to your needs—shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. From Nashville to Memphis, drivers can find cheap car insurance by shopping around first. Different insurers charge different rates for the same coverage, so use Insurify to help you compare car insurance quotes and save big.

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Maria Sanchez
Maria Sanchez

Insurance Writer

Maria Sanchez is a personal finance writer specializing in auto, home, and renters insurance. With a special interest in educational content, Maria distills complex financial information to be more accessible to the greater public. She holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts and the London School of Economics.

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Sources

  1. Tennessee Department of Revenu. "State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements." Accessed June 15, 2022