What are Tennessee’s Car Insurance Requirements?

Every state sets the amount of auto insurance every driver is responsible for carrying in order to remain legal on the roadway. All drivers must be insured. If you are a new driver in Tennessee, it is important to understand the car insurance requirements so that you remain protected in the event an accident occurs.

What are Tennessee’s Car Insurance Requirements?

Required Automobile Insurance in Tennessee 

In the state of Tennessee, drivers are required to purchase and maintain the following types of automobile insurance:

  • Bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability of $25,000 per accident

Many people are surprised when they find out this is the only type of insurance actually required under Tennessee law. Additionally, even though these monetary amounts may seem like a significant number, they are actually quite low, considering how much a car accident could cost a victim. For example, $25,000 for a personal injury is not much. A trip to the emergency room for a moderate injury will likely cost more than this, especially if a person has to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

We encourage drivers in Tennessee to examine their particular needs and consider increasing the minimum amount of insurance they carry in order to protect themselves and others.

Should You Purchase Comprehensive or Collision Coverage?

Most drivers have had to carry collision or comprehensive coverage before. Collision coverage is designed to cover repairs of a vehicle if the policyholder causes an accident. Comprehensive coverage is designed to cover repairs that happen from something other than a collision, including vandalism, theft, flooding, fire damage, animal damage, etc.

Comprehensive and collision coverage is not required under Tennessee law, but any individual currently making payments on their vehicle will typically carry this insurance at the request of the lien holder. This additional coverage helps provide additional protection in the event a collision occurs.

Tennessee Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Requirements

Tennessee law does not require drivers to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, though we strongly recommend drivers opt to carry this type of coverage to increase their protection.

Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to kick in in the event a person sustains an injury or property damage caused by an uninsured driver on the roadway. Drivers who carry this coverage would file a claim with their personal insurance carrier to recover compensation.

Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to help motorists who are able to recover compensation from an at-fault party, though not the full amount. For example, if a person sustains $75,000 worth of injury expenses but the at-fault driver only has $25,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage, underinsured motorist coverage can kick in to help pay for the overage.

Are There Time Limits for Filing an Insurance Claim?

Insurance carriers do have reporting deadlines, though they can be vague. In general, it is best to report any vehicle accident to your auto insurance carrier the day the incident occurs. An initial report does not have to go into much detail, but the carriers should know where the incident happened, what time it happened, and the contact information of others involved.

When you file your initial claim with an insurance carrier, you do not need to go into much detail. In fact, the less you say, the better. We encourage you to contact an attorney who can then communicate with the insurance carriers on your behalf to protect the integrity of the claim.

In the event you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover compensation, the claim must be filed within one year from the date the injury occurs. If a Tennessee car accident victim fails to file a lawsuit within this specified time frame, they will most likely lose the chance to recover any compensation for their losses. Insurance carriers regularly try and push negotiations beyond this one-year statute of limitations, so speak to your attorney about the best strategy moving forward for filing your claim.

Shared Fault in Tennessee  – How it Affects a Car Accident Claim

In some cases, there may be shared fault for a vehicle accident in Tennessee. This can include shared fault between two other at-fault parties, but the injury victim could also share some of the blame for causing the incident.

Shared fault implications could affect how much compensation a person receives for a vehicle accident. In Tennessee, we operate under what is called a “comparative negligence” rule. Under this system, individuals are unable to recover compensation if they are 50% or more at-fault for causing their own injury.

If a person is less than 50% responsible for causing their own injury, they can still recover compensation, but it will not be the full amount. The total amount of compensation a person receives gets adjusted depending on their percentage of fault for the incident.

Final Thoughts When Dealing With Insurance Carriers After a Collision

Dealing with insurance carriers after a vehicle accident in Tennessee can be challenging. It is not uncommon for an insurance claims adjuster to push back from having to pay full compensation for an accident. Even though insurance claims adjusters may seem friendly when they talk to you, please understand that they are only looking out for the bottom line of the insurance carrier, not for you.

Do not engage in small talk with any insurance claims adjuster who calls. Refer any communication from the insurance carriers to your attorney.

Call an Attorney After a Tennessee Car Accident 

If you or somebody you love and care about has been injured in a car accident caused by the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another driver in Tennessee, reach out to an attorney today. A Nashville car accident lawyer will be able to examine the initial facts of your case and help you understand the best route moving forward to recover compensation for your losses. A lawyer can handle all communication with the insurance carriers involved, including negotiations to receive a fair settlement on your behalf.