Tennessee Car Insurance Regulations & Required Coverage

Tennessee car insurance regulations require that all drivers carry the minimum of 25/50/15 in bodily injury and property damage coverages. Tennessee auto insurance law follows a tort system, which simply means that after an accident someone will always be found at-fault for causing the accident and be responsible for paying for damages.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 11, 2020

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If you are caught driving without maintaining proper financial responsibility, you can face stiff penalties and the suspension of your license/registration. Most drivers will simply obtain a car insurance policy to meet these requirements. Tennessee has specific insurance rules and regulations that you should be aware of when living or driving within the state.

Tennessee insurance law follows a tort system which simply means that after an accident, someone always will be found at fault for causing the accident. This person will then be responsible for paying for the financial damages that result from the accident.

Required Coverage

All personal vehicles in Tennessee require the following liability coverage requirements:

  • Bodily Injury
  • Property Damage
Minimum Tennessee Car Insurance Requirements
Bodily Injury Liability $25,000 / $50,000 Limit
Property Damage Liability $15,000 Limit

Additional insurance coverage can include:

  • Comprehensive and Collision Coverage
  • Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist

Comprehensive and collision are optional but highly recommended, especially if your car is on the list of most stolen vehicles in Tennessee.
Comprehensive will pay for repairs or replacements if your car is broken into or has non-collision damage such as from a flood. Collision covers for repairs to your vehicle after being hit and damaged.

Uninsured / Underinsured insurance will protect you against drivers who cause an accident with you but either don’t have enough insurance or any at all to cover expenses.

Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility

Establishing proof of insurance and financial responsibility

  • Get a standard liability car insurance policy
  • Post a bond or deposit with the Department of Safety (DOS)
  • Self insurance – available to businesses with 25+ vehicles

Required Documentation

In order to provide proof of insurance, you can provide one of the following:

  • Insurance ID Card
  • Insurance binder or declaration binder
  • Certificate showing that you’ve posted a deposit or bond with the DOS
    • When asked by a police officer
    • After receiving a letter from the DMV
    • After an accident
    • When registering or renewing your vehicle’s registration
    • Anytime you are operating a vehicle
    • Suspension of license
    • Suspension of your registration in the form of a STOP
    • Fines of no more than $100
  • You must maintain proof of insurance and financial responsibility and present it:

    Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility Penalties

    If you are unable to show proof of insurance, you can face the following penalties:

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