2023 Tennessee Car Insurance Laws & Requirements


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: DECEMBER 07, 2022 | 3 MIN READ

Tennessee requires car insurance from every licensed driver and mandates minimum coverage amounts. Drivers on the road without the proper car insurance face penalties such as fines and license suspension. Tennessee car insurance laws underwent an update in recent years, so we’re here to keep you updated on all of the requirements. Learn what you need to know to drive in the Volunteer State legally. 

Tennessee car insurance minimum requirements

Tennessee car insurance laws mandate coverage for bodily injury liability (BDL) and property damage liability (PDL). The state’s minimum consists of the following:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per car accident
  • $15,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident 

Liability coverage in Tennessee

Liability coverage covers the repair and medical bills of the other driver if you cause a car accident. Bodily injury liability covers up to $25,000 in bills per person and $50,000 per accident for any resulting injuries. If you collide with another car, a house, a fence, or another structure, property damage liability covers up to $15,000 of the cost. 

State-mandated auto insurance limits you should know

Every state features a minimum coverage amount as part of its car insurance laws and requirements. Tennesee doesn’t require as much as other states, with only 25/50/15 as the minimum. 

Are Tennessee’s minimum requirements providing enough coverage?

The minimum requirements Tennessee mandates for its drivers offer good but incomplete coverage. Car accidents may result in over $15,000 in damage, and the minimum coverage only pays $15,000. With the rising cost of vehicles and repairs, it’s easy to surpass the maximum payout quickly. 

Tennessee’s minimum bodily injury liability coverage is higher than in other states. Still, if you injure a passenger, your insurance only covers $25,000 per person, for a total of $50,000 for the accident. 

Penalties for driving without proof of insurance in Tennessee

There are several penalties for driving without insurance in Tennessee. Driving without insurance may result in the following:

  • Fines of up to $300 
  • Suspension of driver’s license and vehicle registration
  • Driver’s license reinstatement fees of up to $65
  • SR-22 insurance in Tennessee can be required for up to three years

Tennessee’s optional car insurance coverage

Tennessee drivers only need to carry the minimum coverage listed above. A variety of optional car insurance coverage expands your policy and improves your protection in the event of an accident. 

  • Collision: If in a crash with another driver or object, this coverage pays for your vehicle’s repairs
  • Comprehensive: When your vehicle sustains damage from weather, collision with an animal, theft, vandalism, or other covered perils, comprehensive covers it
  • Medical payments: Medical payments covers funeral expenses and medical bills up to limits listed within the policy after a crash
  • Roadside assistance: Coverage for broken-down vehicles, towing, flat tire repair, and jumpstarts fall under roadside assistance
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: Over 20% of Tennessee drivers don’t have car insurance, and this coverage protects you in case of a collision with an uninsured driver

Why it’s important to follow Tennessee car insurance laws and requirements

Drivers must follow Tennessee’s car insurance laws and requirements to protect themselves and other motorists. The state’s requirements for minimum car insurance help ensure drivers and passengers receive coverage for their medical bills and repair costs after a car accident. Tennessee also has the third-highest rate of uninsured drivers, which makes protecting yourself with a good policy essential. 

How much does the minimum car insurance cost in Tennessee?

The average cost for minimum car insurance in Tennessee is $408 a year, or $34 a month. However, this is only an average, and you may pay a higher or lower car insurance premium based on the insurance company.

Cheapest minimum liability car insurance in Tennessee

CompanyAverage Monthly Cost
USAA$27
GEICO$31
State Farm$32
Tennessee Farmers$33
Erie$36

Minimum car insurance requirement in Tennessee when leasing a car

If you lease a vehicle or have a car loan, you may need more than the minimum car insurance in Tennessee. Most leasing companies require a full-coverage insurance policy as a term in the lease agreement. Full-coverage car insurance includes comprehensive and collision coverage along with liability insurance. 

Car insurance cancellation laws in Tennessee

Some states have unique insurance cancellation laws for auto. In Tennessee, any modifications you make to your car that can increase risk could cause your carrier to drop you.

FAQs

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in Tennessee?

Tennessee car insurance laws don’t require uninsured motorist coverage. However, 27% of the state’s drivers are without insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage is good protection in case you’re in a collision with someone driving without insurance in Tennessee.

How much do I need in bodily injury liability in Tennessee?

You must carry a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage. Tennessee requires this minimum, but you can opt for higher coverage amounts.

What is an SR-22, and why do I need it in TN?

An SR-22 is a document that states you carry the minimum car insurance Tennessee requires. You only need an SR-22 after a severe driving violation, such as a hit-and-run, DUI, or reckless driving. The state notifies drivers if they need an SR-22 form. 

Does insurance follow the driver or the vehicle in Tennessee?

Auto insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver, in Tennessee. Anyone driving your car enjoys protection under your car insurance policy. 

Who has the cheapest state minimum car insurance in Tennessee?

USAA offers the most affordable rates for state minimum insurance in TN. Membership is limited to only military members and their families, however. On average, GEICO offers the next cheapest minimum car insurance at $31 a month.

Get Coverage That Meets Tennessee’s Car Insurance Requirements

Many of Tennessee’s drivers lack car insurance, putting many motorists on the hook for expensive bills after a car accident. Tennessee car insurance laws outline the state’s minimum requirements for liability coverage, but it might not be enough for the typical car crash. Don’t get caught without the proper car insurance; look for car insurance quotes today.