How Does Tennessee Car Insurance Work?

Just like in any state in the United States, Tennessee has mandatory car insurance coverage all drivers need to have. This protects an at-fault driver from paying out of pocket, but it also helps pay for damages and injuries of the car accident victims. Tennessee car insurance has a minimum coverage limit set so it can be affordable to all drivers.

Tennessee is an at-fault state which means the driver at fault for the accident is responsible for compensating the victim(s). This is why minimum auto insurance coverage is mandatory for all drivers. However, the minimum coverage is not always the best for vehicle accidents. We will go through the types of insurance options drivers have in Tennessee and the coverages need to be sufficient.

Minimum Car Insurance Policies and Coverage

Driving without car insurance will lead to fines as high as $300. You also run the risk of having your driver’s license suspended if you get caught multiple times without coverage. Tennessee law states that the minimum policy requirements for liability coverage are as follows:

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

Bodily injury liability insurance is coverage that protects victims in car accidents you cause. It does not pay for your own damages or injuries. If you want coverage for yourself you will have to add more policies.

These optional auto insurance coverages are collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist, and medical payments. Collision covers property damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance covers non-collision damages that occur from weather or theft.

Uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for your damages and injuries if the at-fault driver doesn’t have basic bodily injury liability insurance. With uninsured motorist coverage, it is recommended to have the same minimums of bodily injury liability; $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $15,000 for property damage. Medical payments will cover the cost of any medical and funeral expenses for you and your passengers up to the limit amount you set.

tennessee car insurance

Who is Covered With Tennessee Car Insurance Polices

Car insurance in Tennessee follows the car, not the driver. This means if you allow a family member or a friend to drive your car, they will be protected with your insurance policy. However, if you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle you need to look for compensation from their insurance company.

In Tennessee, new drivers under the age of 18, go through a graduate licensing program. This program has 3 stages and this makes sure the teen is practicing safe driving.

  1. Learner’s Permit
    • Must be at least 15 years old
    • Pass the vision screening
    • Have a parent or legal guardian present to sign
    • Show proof of school attendance
  2. Intermediate Restricted License
    • Must be at least 16 years old
    • 180 days of learner’s permit required
    • Have a parent, legal guardian, or driving instructor sign off on the teen having 50 hours of driving time including 10 hours of night driving
  3. Intermediate Unrestricted License
    • Held an intermediate restricted license for one year
    • Cannot have accumulated more than six points
    • Cannot be at fault for an accident
    • Cannot have 2 safety belt violations

Teen drivers can be placed on the same car insurance policy as their parents or legal guardian. This would make the pricing for insurance cheaper than if they were to be on their own policy. Technically, teens can stay on their parents’ or legal guardians’ insurance as long as they live at home or in college full-time.

For new residents of Tennessee, they must obtain their new license within 30 days of establishing residency. During this time, new residents should be searching for car insurance in Tennessee and obtain the proper limits. It is important to note that you can be denied or have high rates for insurance policies. Insurance quotes take into consideration credit score, the amount of at-fault accidents, driving history, and the type of car being driven.

How to Proceed With a Car Accident Claim

Car accident victims have three options to pursue a claim. They can file a claim with their own insurance company if they have policies to fund compensation. These policies would be collision coverage, medical payments, or uninsured motorist coverage.

Tennessee is an at-fault state so victims should go after the at-fault driver’s insurance for compensation. Going after the other driver’s insurance can be difficult and insurance companies are notorious for providing the bare minimum for settlements. Our Tennessee car accident attorneys know exactly how to get the most compensation car accident victims deserve.

About the Author

Michael Feiner
Michael Feiner

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Michael A. Feiner is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Since being admitted to the Florida Bar in 2001, Michael has devoted his practice to representing plaintiffs throughout Florida in various tort and strict liability cases and has successfully litigated cases against national insurance companies, large public companies, and governmental agencies, resulting in tens of millions of dollars for his clients. He has handled all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases on behalf of plaintiffs, including automobile negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, dog bites, and sexual harassment. Michael’s product liability case against Microsoft, as well as his representation of victims of sexual harassment and abuse by physicians, has garnered him important media attention at both the local and national levels. Michael is an experienced trial lawyer and successfully argued an appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. In the reported decision Ortlieb v. Butts, 849 So.2d 1165 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), Michael persuaded the Fourth District Court of Appeal that a directed verdict on liability was appropriate where the defendant did not rebut the presumption of negligence of a rear driver in a rear-end collision.