All drivers in the state of Tennessee are required to carry liability insurance, or “financial responsibility,” on their vehicles in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle registration.

The minimum financial responsibility requirements for Tennessee drivers are as follow:

  • A minimum of $25,000 per person, for bodily injury or death. This means you’ll need to carry a minimum of $50,000 to cover the lowest possible number of people involved in an accident (the two drivers).

  • A minimum $15,000 for property damage liability

This means that the total minimum amount of financial responsibility you will need is $65,000 to cover bodily injury or death, and property damage liability.

Tennessee Automobile Insurance Plan

Drivers who have multiple accidents or traffic violations in their driving history may find it difficult to obtain traditional insurance through an insurance provider. In the state of Tennessee, all insurance providers are legally allowed to deny coverage to high-risk drivers.

In order to ensure that all the drivers on the roads are maintaining the legally required insurance, Tennessee operates the Tennessee Automobile Insurance Plan, or TAIP. Through this program, a high-risk driver can apply to any car insurance company for coverage, even a company that previously rejected them due to their driving history. Under the program, all insurance providers share the risk that comes with covering a high-risk driver.

Proof of insurance

In the state of Tennessee, all drivers are required to show proof of insurance any time they are involved in a car accident that involves injury, death, or over $400 in property damage; or any time they are pulled over by a police officer for a traffic violation. You do not need to have proof of insurance in order to register a vehicle, or to obtain a driver’s license.

Acceptable forms of proof of insurance include:

  • An insurance ID card from an authorized insurance provider

  • An insurance policy binder

  • The declaration page of an insurance policy

Violation penalties

Driving without insurance in the state of Tennessee is a Class C misdemeanor. If a driver is found guilty of this crime, they face certain penalties that include:

  • Fines

  • Suspended driver’s license

  • The required filing of an SR-22 Proof of Financial Responsibility document. This document is an assurance to the government from your insurance provider that you will carry the minimum liability insurance required for at least five years. The filing can be lifted after three years if no other suspensions are accrued in that time.

  • The inability to renew vehicle registration in the future due to a “STOP” being placed on the vehicle.

A “STOP” is a mark against the vehicle in the Tennessee Department of Revenue system. In order to remove the STOP, you must do these things:

  • Reinstate your driver’s license

  • Show proof of insurance to the Department of Safety

For more information, or to renew your registration online, contact the Tennessee Department of Revenue through their website.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Tennessee and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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