Is Car Insurance Required in Tennessee?

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Auto insurance is mandatory in Tennessee.
Auto insurance is mandatory in Tennessee. (Image: Tennessee state contour against blurred USA flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com)

If you live in Tennessee and own a vehicle, you are required by state law to carry auto insurance. Tennessee is a tort state as opposed to a no-fault state, meaning that someone needs to be determined as being at fault in an accident. If you are found to be at fault, you and your insurance company bear the responsibility of paying for damages and injuries sustained by parties in the other vehicle.

Liability Coverage

In Tennessee, vehicle owners are only required to carry liability coverage. Liability provides protection if an accident is the result of your negligent act such as running a red light or losing control of your vehicle and striking another vehicle or object. Liability consists of bodily injury, which pays for injuries sustained by the driver or passengers of another vehicle. It also covers property damage, which is the damage you cause to another vehicle or other property.

Minimum Limits

The minimum liability limits you must carry in Tennessee are 25/50/15. If you elect to carry only the minimum limits, this means that the most your insurance company will pay out in an accident is $25,000 per injured person, up to a maximum of $50,000 for a single occurrence. The most your insurer will pay out for property damage resulting from a covered accident is $15,000.

Considerations

If you elect to carry only the state minimum limits, your insurance coverage may be inadequate in some situations. Bodily injury medical payments can easily exceed the $25,000-per-person level, especially if an injury requires a lengthy hospital stay. You could also need to pay much more if you are sued successfully. The cost of a new or late-model vehicle can easily eclipse the $15,000 property damage limit if the vehicle is severely damaged.

Other Coverages

While other types of coverage may not be required in Tennessee, some warrant consideration. Uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage protect you in the event the driver of the other vehicle causes an accident and carries little or no insurance. Physical damage protection pays to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or stolen. While physical damage coverage is not required by state law, your financing company will require you to carry it to protect its interest in the vehicle until it is paid off.

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