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Laura Berry

Former Insurance Agent

Former Insurance Agent

Joshua Adamson

Joshua is a copywriter at Obrella who for more than 10 years has been creating content about insurance, health care, and more. He helps companies explain complex insurance subjects in simple ways so that customers can make smart buying decisions. He spends way too much time binge-watching Netflix, loves the outdoors and has a cat who tolerates him.

UPDATED: Feb 23, 2024

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Do you need auto insurance coverage that matches your lifestyle? Do you feel like you’re not getting everything you need from your current plan? Unfortunately, this happens all the time. People go with the first insurance company they see on TV or hear about from a friend. Then they don’t change plans even when they know they’re overpaying.

This is where Obrella comes in. We make it easier to shop for car insurance in Tennessee, no matter which Grand Division you drive in. Here you’ll find Tennessee state car insurance minimums, insurance laws, rates, and more. We’ll help you be confident that when you’re on the roads of America’s heartland, you have the coverage that’s perfect for you.

How Much Car Insurance Do I Need in Tennessee?

Bodily injury and property damage liability are your must-haves in Tennessee. To meet state requirements, you’ll need at least the legal minimums of:

  • $15,000 of property damage liability (PDL) per accident
  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person, per accident
  • $50,000 of total bodily injury liability per accident where two or more people were injured

Purchasing the state minimums will keep you driving legal, but some drivers need more protection to protect their assets. State minimums are only designed to cover your liability in a small accident. In other words, it will pay up to your limits to cover the other party if you’re at fault in an accident. It doesn’t cover your property damage or injuries at all, and it may not be enough for more serious accidents leaving you on the hook.

Consider this– you are at fault in an accident in which it totals the other car. Your property damage liability insurance will only cover up to a total of $15,000. If the other driver’s vehicle was valued at more than $15,000 at the time of the accident, you could be responsible for covering the difference. To protect yourself from having to pay out of pocket, we recommend increasing your coverage limits. Learning how much coverage you need based on the value of your assets is key. Use our coverage calculator to determine how much is enough for you.

Read more: Steps To Take After A Hit And Run Incident In Tennessee

What Coverages Should Smart Drivers Have in Tennessee?

The state of Tennessee only requires you to carry enough coverage for a small amount of liability. It doesn’t protect you from an accident that goes beyond those modest limits. While state minimum coverage may seem like an easy way to save money on your liability coverage, it could cost you in the long run. Even a little coverage for your own car and passengers could save you thousands. What kind of coverage can an auto insurance company offer?

Collision Coverage –As the name suggests, this is to cover your auto damage after a collision generally with another car. If you are financing your car, the lender might require you to carry collision coverage with a $500 deductible. This is the most expensive part of the average auto insurance premium, but it also covers the most damages.
Comprehensive Coverage – Hit a deer or have a vandal ruin your car? Get this coverage to help pay for that if it happens to you. Any time your car is seriously damaged, but there’s no identifiable collision, your comprehensive coverage kicks in.
Roadside Assistance Coverage – You could get a flat tire at any time, and that isn’t the only thing that happens to drivers. Something as simple as running out of gas could put you on the side of the road in need of assistance. Having roadside assistance pays for fuel delivery, towing, spare tire changeouts, and so much more.
Rental Car Coverage –Imagine you’re in an accident, and the repair shop just told you they need 2 weeks. If you don’t have rental car coverage, you could be stuck paying for a rental car or catching the bus. Coverage generally costs just a few dollars each premium period to have a rental car for up to 30 days.

If you’re ready to shop for car insurance, take a look at our list of the most popular car insurance companies in Tennessee.

How Are My Rates Calculated?

Insurance companies determine how much risk you’ll bring them when they write you a policy. To do this, they weigh several factors against each other. Insurers place different emphasis on different factors, which is one reason you can get vastly different rate quotes when shopping for cheap car insurance. For example, a company may give lower rates to a driver with a high credit score, while the next company won’t factor in credit score at all. Here are factors that are generally used:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Address
  • Driving/claims record
  • Occupation
  • Make and model of car
  • Credit score
  • How car is used

What Happens If I Drive Without Car Insurance?

There are two no-no’s here: driving without any car insurance and driving without proof that you have it. If you don’t have an insurance card to show police if you’re pulled over or are in an accident, you can:

  • Be penalized with a $100 fine
  • Have your license suspended
  • Your registration will be put on hold until you can prove you’re insured. You’ll have to mail a copy of your insurance to the Financial Responsibility Division of the Tennessee Department of Safety.

Insurance premiums may seem high, especially if you haven’t compared different quotes. If you get caught and ticketed for not having insurance, especially if there’s an accident, financial responsibility law comes into play. This and other factors can drive your auto insurance quotes even higher, even when you’re just going with state minimums.

Does Tennessee Have Texting-While-Driving Laws?

Sorry emoji fanatics, you can’t text while driving in Tennessee. The ban on texting applies to all drivers but certain officials while performing their jobs. Tennessee does not prohibit using a handheld cell phone while driving for other uses except for drivers who only have a learning permit or intermediate license.

What Happens if I Get a DUI in Tennessee?

Driving under the influence of alcohol in Tennessee can get you in major trouble. If you are found to be driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, you’ll be fined a minimum of $350 and 48 hours in jail. You’ll also have to pay to have your vehicle towed and stored. The penalties can grow if you are significantly over the limit or you have children in your car. If it is your first offense, you could face between seven days to one year in jail and a fine between $350-$1,000. A second offense could cost up to $3,500 as well as land you in jail for up to a year. If it’s your third or fourth offense, you could be paying up to $15,000 in fines, have your license revoked up to eight years, spend at minimum a year in jail, and could face a felony conviction on your record.

Once you do begin driving again, regardless of if its your first offense or fourth, you may be required by a judge to purchase SR-22 insurance coverage, which can be significantly more expensive.

What is SR-22 Insurance in Tennessee?

If you know your number of tickets, claims record, and high accident rate make you a high-risk driver, there’s no need to be embarrassed. While insurance companies can deny you coverage in the open marketplace, they must take part in the Tennessee Auto Insurance Plan (TAIP). In this plan, all car insurance companies in Tennessee are responsible to take responsibility for a percentage of high-risk drivers based on their market share.

For example, if Allstate insures 5% of the drivers in Tennessee, it will be required to insure 5% of the high-risk drivers in the state. Because insurance through the TAIP is more expensive, we recommend looking at as many insurance companies before getting coverage through this plan.

How Do I Get My License Reinstated?

If your Tennessee license is suspended, you have several options to get it reinstated. You can do it online, by mail, or in person. Either way, you’ll have to pay a certain fee to reinstate your license.

Online: To reinstate your license online, visit the Tennessee state DMV website. This is the fastest way to do it. You’ll need your driver license number and the last name that appears on it. You can pay your reinstatement fees through the website with a credit card or debit card.

Mail: You can mail the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security to reinstate your license. Include your full name, date of birth, social security number, mailing address, and phone number along with your license number and the reason for suspension (if you know it). Mail using the addresses listed on the state’s website.

In Person: If you prefer, you can reinstate your license in person at a Tennessee Driver License Reinstatement Center. Be sure to check the hours of the center near you, but most are usually open until 5:00 p.m. Driver License Reinstatement Center locations are listed on the state’s website.

What is Broad Form Insurance and Should I Get It?

This type of car insurance provides coverage for a specific driver, rather than a vehicle. This may be needed in the case of a car that is used for business purposes or for drivers who don’t own their own car.

With broad form insurance, you don’t have the option to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage. So if you are at fault in an accident, repairs or replacement costs for your car would not be covered. Broad form insurance does allow the driver the option of purchasing personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage.

Tennessee is one of only 16 states that offer broad form insurance as an alternative to traditional insurance. What this means is that if you have broad form insurance and cross state lines where broad form insurance isn’t accepted, you are no longer legally insured.

Is There a Grace Period in Tennessee for Getting Car Insurance?

Although there are no specific laws in Tennessee regarding car insurance grace periods, insurance companies may cancel your policy if you don’t pay in a certain time frame. The best scenario is to never let your insurance lapse, but if you can’t help it, here are a few things you should know:

  • Once your policy is canceled, you may find it harder to reinstate coverage than to get it in the first place. Insurance companies may require you to reapply, raise your premiums, or reduce your coverage.
  • If you try to get insurance from another insurance carrier, they may ask you if you’ve ever had a policy canceled. If so, they may impose the same restrictions on you as mentioned earlier.
  • Remember that if your insurance is canceled, you shouldn’t drive. If you do and then you get into an accident, you’ll be responsible for the full cost, and you may face legal penalties for driving uninsured.

If you’re having trouble paying your premiums, contact your insurance carrier right away. They may have options to lower your rates, change your payment due date, and more. Or you can ask other companies for quotes, which may allow you to get lower rates and more payment options.

Are There Any Loopholes for Car Insurance in Tennessee?

The short answer is no. To drive in Tennessee legally, you must have either insurance for your car at the state minimum amounts of coverage or broad form insurance for yourself. You have many options for car insurance in Tennessee, so be sure to review your options and get quotes from multiple carriers.

How Much is Car Insurance in Tennessee?

According to our research, Tennessee drivers pay over $1,800 a year on average. Here is where we found the cheapest rates to be:

Average Annual Rates
Farmers Mutual Of Tennessee$1,023.97

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Discounts can help you save money on top of your rates, and nearly every carrier offers discounts to their customers. Find out which car insurance discounts are available for Tennessee drivers.  Your insurance rate is dependent on a number of variables. That is why we have analyzed the cheapest rates for drivers like you.

What are Tennessee’s Most Stolen Cars and Why Does it Matter?

If you drive one of these cars that are commonly stolen in Tennessee,  you might pay more for it on your premium because it increases your risk factor.*

  • Chevrolet Pickup
  • Ford Pickup (Full Size)
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic
  • Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
  • Chevrolet Pickup (Small Size)
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Toyota Camry
  • GMC Pickup (Full Size)
  • Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

*According to

Tennessee Auto Insurance Experts

Still have questions about insurance rates, state laws, or coverage you should include? Call [mapi-phone /] to speak to a licensed agent. They can answer any questions you may have and can also help guide you through the process of purchasing an auto insurance policy that meets your needs.

Additional Resources for Tennessee Drivers

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