You’ve probably seen more than a few promos from companies advertising cheap auto insurance in Tennessee. But noodling out the most affordable policy for your needs can be a daunting task due to the sheer number of insurance carriers.
To simplify the process and help you save time, our Geeks compared insurance quotes from nine leading providers to find the best rates for the following driver categories:
Best Rates For Drivers With No Recent Accidents
It goes without saying that drivers who haven’t caused any collisions are less of a liability to car insurance companies than their accident-prone counterparts. So if you belong in this group, you should be able to find very affordable rates from most providers, but it still pays to shop around and compare quotes.
Our data indicates that State Farm has the most affordable rates in Tennessee for accident-free drivers. Allstate also has very competitive premiums at an estimated $142 per month. The test motorist we used was 29 years old with a clean crash record from the previous five years.
Best Rates For Teen Drivers
The driver in our study was an 18 year old who hadn’t been found at fault for any collisions or been ticketed for any major traffic offenses. The estimate above is based on the minimum required insurance in Tennessee since teens typically do not need add-on coverage.
Best SR22 Insurance Rates For Drivers With A DUI
Do you have a recent conviction for DUI? If so, you’ve probably noticed a significant spike in your insurance premiums. Fortunately, some carriers are more forgiving than others. You may be able to find cheap SR22 car insurance quotes by switching from your current insurance company to State Farm or Allstate.
Best Rates For Senior Drivers
Senior drivers have two qualities that car insurance companies love—they’re experienced behind the wheel and they tend to drive fewer miles per year than young adults. The senior driver in our study commuted 4,000 miles per year, which is one-third the annual mileage of the default driver we used in other segments of our analysis. Our senior driver was 65 years old and hadn’t caused any recent accidents.
The driver in most parts of our study was a 29 year old with a Toyota Corolla model year 2014. The default mileage used in our analysis was 12,000 per year. To estimate the cheapest car insurance rates, we averaged the premiums for males and females in five zip codes in Tennessee. Besides the “teenage driver” category, all drivers in our study were buying 50/100/25 in liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.
What Are The Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements In Tennessee?
Tennessee law mandates that all drivers carry auto insurance liability coverage with the following minimum limits:
- $25,000 In Coverage For Injuries To One Individual
- $50,000 In Coverage For Total Injuries Per Accident
- $15,000 In Coverage For Property Damage
Tennessee Car Insurance FAQs
Can My Tennessee Car Insurance Company Increase My Premiums After A Crash That Another Driver Caused?
Yes. In most states, car insurance companies can increase their policyholders’ rates after a crash even if it was caused by another driver. The reason is that fault is often not entirely clear in accidents despite what the drivers involved or police report say. Your insurance carrier will also incur expenses while processing your claim no matter who was liable.
When Might My Car Insurance Provider Increase My Rates?
There are several situations when your car insurance company might increase your monthly rates. Ultimately, your premiums are based on the likelihood that you will file a claim. As such, your rates are likely to increase if one of the following is true:
- You caused a recent accident;
- You were found guilty of DUI;
- You were ticketed for a traffic infraction;
- You bought a car with higher horsepower or a higher claim rate;
- You moved to a new location; or
- You added another driver to your policy.
What Is The Most Important Step To Take After A Car Accident?
The most important step to take after an accident is to seek medical attention. If you are physically able, you should document the scene, exchange insurance information with other drivers, and record the contact details of eyewitnesses. But your top priority should be getting medical attention for you and anyone else who was injured in the collision.
Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Tennessee
When you’re stopped in Tennessee, law enforcement can demand to see proof that your vehicle is insured up the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. If you are unable to produce proof – such as a copy of your insurance document or an official insurance card – or have not purchased a policy, you could face strict penalties, such as fines and license suspensions. The state also makes use of an online insurance verification system which will detect when your vehicle’s insurance lapses.
In situations where you are pulled over by authorities but cannot provide proof of a current policy or when your vehicle is picked up by the online insurance verification system, you will have 15 days to prove to the Department of Revenue that you are covered. Failure to do so within this designated timeframe will result in a $25 fine. If, after 30 days, you still have not provided evidence of current coverage meeting the state’s minimum liability limits, you can be fined $300 and your license and vehicle registration will be suspended. You will also have to pay $115 in fees to reinstate your driving privileges.
If you are caught driving in an uninsured vehicle, you will be fined $300. Your driving privileges will also be suspended along with your vehicle’s registration. In some cases, your vehicle may even be towed. In order to reinstate your license and registration you will have to fulfil the state’s SR-22 filing requirements for drivers convicted for driving without insurance.
Take note: A Driving Without Insurance conviction is reflected on your criminal record as this violation is classed as a misdemeanor in the state of Tennessee.
SR-22 Insurance in Tennessee
If your license and/or vehicle registration is suspended as the result of a serious traffic violation – such as causing a car accident, committing several infractions in a short space of time, or driving without insurance – you may be required to fulfill SR-22 filing requirements for a period of three years.
The SR-22 is a form filed by your insurer on your behalf proving you are covered up to the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. If you let your coverage lapse for any reason, your provider will have to report that you are no longer insured and your driving privileges could once again be revoked. Even worse, you will have to restart the SR-22 certificate process from square one.
Technically, SR-22 insurance is not a type of insurance, but providers use this term to describe policies that include these additional filing services. While it costs your insurer relatively little to complete and send these forms to the relevant department, you may pay more for these policies than other types of coverage. Why? Drivers requiring SR-22 certificates are classed as high-risk motorists. Statistically, if you were convicted for a traffic violation that led to the suspension or revocation of your license and/or vehicle registration, you are more likely than the average motorist to cause an accident. This added risk translates to higher premiums.
How Do Auto Insurance Companies Calculate Premiums in Tennessee?
Car insurance premiums in the state are overseen by the Tennessee Department of Commerce, a body which allows insurers to adjust rates based on a specific set of criteria. These factors can include:
- Your mileage
- Your car’s model, make, and year
- Your accident history
- Your gender
- Your age
- Your marital status
- Your driving experience
- Your coverage history
- Your deductible
Important Tennessee Traffic Laws
Buried deep in Tennessee’s traffic code is a law requiring women drivers to have a “flagger” walking ahead of the vehicle while it is in motion. While local lawmakers have started repealing some of the state’s more bizarre rules, this tome of roadside regulations is still filled to the brim with unimportant info. Fortunately, our Geeks have compiled a list of some of the most important Tennessee traffic laws to help you stay safe on the state’s roads:
Tennessee Seatbelt Laws
A seatbelt will save you from flying through your windscreen in a crash. But too often, motorists choose to skip buckling up, risking injuries and death on the road. According to Tennessee’s Integrated Traffic Analysis Network, 315 of those killed in accidents in the state in 2017 were not wearing seatbelts.
By law, drivers and front seat passengers must be buckled in at all times while the vehicle is in motion. The same applies to passengers sitting in the rear seats. Officers can, and often do, pull over vehicles if they spot either the driver or passengers not wearing seatbelts. Drivers will not only be ticketed for their own infraction, but will also have to pay additional fines if younger passengers under age 18 are not wearing their seatbelts. Licensed passengers older than 16 are responsible for themselves.
Tennessee Drunk Driving Laws
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.1% of Tennessee’s drivers reported getting behind the wheel while inebriated. Alcohol impairs your motor skills and judgment, increasing your risk of causing an accident. As a result, drivers in the state must adhere to a strict 0.08% blood alcohol limit when operating a vehicle.
If you test over the limit, you will be jailed immediately. First-time offenders will serve a minimum of 48 hours behind bars, with serial offenders, or those testing at 0.20% or higher, will be imprisoned for a minimum of 7 days. This immediate sentence precedes your court appearance. If you’re convicted for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be sentenced to up to 1 year in jail and may have to pay up to $15,000 in fines.
Tennessee Cellphone Laws
In 2016, it’s estimated that nearly 25,000 of all crashes in the state involved a distracted driver. To combat these preventable accidents, lawmakers have introduced a series of regulations prohibiting drivers from sending or reading text messages while driving. However, motorists are allowed to use smartphones in conjunction with a hands-free kit.
If you are spotted texting while driving, officers can stop you and charge you with a Class C misdemeanor. Typically, a conviction for a Texting and Driving violation will result in fines of up to $60 in addition to any court costs incurred while processing your case.
Tennessee Safety Seat Laws
Tennessee’s Child Passenger Restraint law requires:
- Infants younger than 12 months, or kids weighing less than 20 pounds, to be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat in one of the vehicle’s rear seats;
- Children between the ages of 1 and 3 years old, and weighing more than 20 pounds, to be restrained in a safety seat in a forward-facing position in the vehicle’s rear seats;
- Kids between the ages of 4 and 8, measuring in shorter than 4 feet 9 inches, to be secured in a booster seat; and
- Children between the ages of 9 and 12 or who are 5 feet or taller, to be secured in the rear passenger seats of the vehicle using the car’s seat belt system.
What Is a Deductible?
You’ve heard mention of the dreaded deductible, but what does this term mean? Simply put: A deductible is the exact amount you will have to contribute to cover loss as the result of an accident before your individual policy features kick in. For example, your car sustained $4,000 in damages. You carry $50,000 in collision coverage with a $500 deductible. You will pay $500 and your policy will cover the rest.
While a low deductible is a great safety net, it will increase your rates. You can opt for a higher deductible to help reduce your rates, but this option will put you at risk of increased financial loss in a crash.