Auto Insurance Requirements in Tennessee
Tennessee enacted mandatory automobile insurance in 1977. Today all drivers are required to carry at least the minimum amount of liability coverage for accidents, in these amounts:
- Bodily injury to one person — $25,000 per accident
- Bodily injury to more than one person — $50,000 per accident
- Property damage — $15,000 per accident
It cannot be stressed enough that these are minimum levels. These amounts are certainly not enough to compensate victims of a serious accident. If you as an at-fault driver cause serious harm to one or more people who require hospitalization, the costs will far exceed your insurance coverage, and you may be personally liable for the difference. People who have the means should purchase higher levels of coverage to protect assets such as a home, savings or business.
Tennessee, like many other states, has a serious problem of drivers operating vehicles without insurance. You can protect yourself by purchasing uninsured/underinsured driver protection as part of your auto insurance policy. If an uninsured driver causes an auto accident in which you are injured and/or your car damaged, you can submit a claim on your own policy. You can also submit a claim if the damage exceeds the limits of the at-fault driver’s coverage.
In 2016, Tennessee enacted reforms to enhance insurance verification and increase penalties for driving without insurance. Changes include:
- Misdemeanor fine raised from $100 to $300
- Creation of a statewide insurance verification program tracking uninsured drivers through automobile registrations
- Penalties for uninsured drivers discovered through the new verification system, including a rising schedule of fines. Maximum penalty is suspension of registration, seizure of tags and a reinstatement fee of $300.
- Empowering police departments to tow vehicles of uninsured drivers
Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin recommends that drivers purchase as much liability insurance as is reasonable for their circumstances and protect themselves by purchasing an equal amount of uninsured driver protection.
If you have issues with your insurance coverage following a serious car accident, our attorneys can help. Call Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. today at 423-797-6022 to schedule your free initial consultation, or contact us online.