Penalties For Driving Without Insurance In Tennessee

WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich


As the state with the third-highest number of uninsured drivers, Tennessee features strict penalties for driving without insurance. Driving without insurance in Tennessee may result in tickets, fines, and loss of driving privileges. Depending on the circumstances, uninsured motorists may even face jail time. The Tennessee Department of Revenue sets the state minimum car insurance requirements, and this includes:

  • $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 

Tennessee penalties for driving without insurance

Tennessee’s penalties for driving without insurance include fines of up to $300. In addition to fines, the state may suspend your license or registration. Stricter penalties apply for uninsured drivers who cause an accident resulting in injury or death. 

Type of OffenseLicense and/or Registration Suspended?Jail TimeSR-22 RequirementsMaximum Fines
No Proof of Insurance (Can Prove Coverage)NoNoNo$0 with proof
1st Offense With No CoverageYes, registration and licenseNoYesUp to $300
Repeat Offense (No Coverage)Yes, registration and licenseNoYesUp to $300

License and/or registration suspensions for the type of offense

Driving without insurance in Tennessee can result in the suspension of both your driver’s license and registration. If it’s your first offense and you show proof of your insurance policy within 30 days, your license remains active. The second and subsequent offenses may result in a Class C misdemeanor and suspension. 

Jail time for each type of offense

Driving without the minimum Tennessee car insurance isn’t punishable by jail time unless you cause an accident resulting in death or injury; you may serve up to 11 months and 29 days in jail. 

SR-22 requirements

The state of Tennessee may require an SR-22 or proof of financial responsibility from Tennessee drivers without insurance. The Tennessee Department of Safety requires an active car insurance policy along with the SR-22 for a total of five years after your suspension date. If you keep your SR-22 on file for three years, the state may cancel the SR-22 if you don’t have any other applicable suspensions. 

Fines and fees for each type of offense

If you show proof of insurance when charged with driving without insurance in Tennessee, there isn’t a fine. Additional violations or failure to provide proof of insurance results in a fine of up to $300. A reinstatement fee of $65 and a $50 fee to the Tennessee commissioner of safety also apply. 

Tennessee auto insurance minimum requirements for insurance

Tennessee car insurance laws require every licensed driver to carry bodily injury liability insurance of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, plus $15,000 in property damage coverage per accident. While the state doesn’t require drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, drivers must explicitly reject the coverage in writing. 

Scenarios when you can still get insurance in Tennessee


You can still get insurance after driving without coverage in Tennessee. Insurance providers will view you as risky, resulting in higher car insurance rates than good drivers. You will also need an SR-22.                     


A nonstandard auto insurance policy offers the coverage high-risk drivers in Tennessee need for the state’s minimum car insurance requirements. Nonstandard car insurance is for drivers other insurance agencies may reject due to poor driving history and other high-risk factors.

Driving someone else’s car

If you use someone else’s vehicle, non-owner car insurance is perfect for your needs. Non-owner insurance lets you meet Tennessee’s minimum liability coverage requirements but is not full coverage. This type of auto insurance doesn’t include collision coverage or comprehensive coverage.


Does car insurance in TN follow the car or the driver?

Car insurance in Tennessee follows the vehicle. Your insurance policy applies to the person driving your car. The reverse also means that if you drive someone else’s car, their insurance applies to you. 

What fines do you have for driving without insurance in Tennessee?

If you can’t provide proof of insurance, you may have a fine of up to $300. The state may also suspend your license and registration, and you’ll have a $65 reinstatement fee. The state commissioner of safety also requires a $50 fine after suspension.

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in Tennessee?

No. Tennessee doesn’t require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Your carrier will include it as part of your car insurance policy; however, you can reject it. If you choose to reject uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, the rejection must be in writing.

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

Tennessee mandates coverage limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability. You may need more coverage if you lease your vehicle or have a car loan.

Do I need an SR-22 in Tennessee after driving without insurance?

Yes. If you can’t show proof of car insurance, you need an SR-22 for your car insurance. The state of Tennessee requires an SR-22 for up to five years.

How to get Tennessee insurance after you’ve been caught driving without it

Driving without insurance in Tennessee is a costly mistake. If you need affordable and reliable car insurance in TN, start with a rate comparison to find the best insurance policy. We can help, even if it’s not your first driving offense. Get ready to compare insurance quotes with our easy-to-use online rate tool. Request your new quote today.