Tennessee state seal

There’s plenty to see in the Volunteer state. Residents might hop over to Nashville to enjoy Music City’s rich country scene, or check out the Blues and Rock music of Memphis. Equally accessible are the lush forests and winding rivers, and mountains that make up an outdoor lover’s dreams. But before you set out to explore your home state, you need to carry proper insurance coverage.

Luckily, the average cost of car insurance in Tennessee falls below the national average, which means you can find a great deal on your policy. The best way to do this is to compare as many car insurance quotes as possible with the level of coverage you need.

Thanks to the internet, you can do this without leaving your house. OnlineAutoInsurance.com offers an online quote comparison tool. After answering a few basic questions about yourself and the car you need to cover, you you’ll see prices from multiple companies within moments.

It’s absolutely free, and there is no obligation to buy.

But before you start shopping, you need to decide the level of coverage that’s right for you. So what are the state’s requirements? And what other policies should you consider?

Tennessee Car Insurance Laws

State law requires motorists to maintain liability coverage at all times with the following minimums:

  • $25,000 Bodily Injury Coverage per person
  • $50,000 Bodily Injury Coverage per accident
  • $15,00 Property Damage per accident.

Bodily Injury Liability covers the cost of medical expenses from injuries you’re responsible for in an at-fault accident. It will also cover funeral expenses and other economic losses, such as lost wages. Property Damage Liability pays to repair damages you are responsible for in an at-fault accident, whether it’s another vehicle or a standing structure like a fence or building.

Neither of your liability policies will pay medical expenses for you or your passengers, nor will they cover the costs of repairing any damage to your car. Additionally, any costs that exceed the limits on your policy will come out of your pocket. Serious car accidents can far exceed these costs, while the price of increasing your limits is minimal in comparison.

Penalties for driving uninsured

Starting in 2017, a new law was passed to address the high rate of uninsured drivers. Not only have the fines nearly tripled for driving uninsured (up to $300 for the first offense), law enforcement can quickly access an online database that lets them know whether your policy has lapsed. You will also be required to file for SR-22 insurance for up to 5 years, which will increase the cost of your insurance premiums.

You will also receive a notice in the mail when you cancel your policy, and if you are unable to provide proof of insurance, you will be fined, and your registration will be suspended until you are able to show compliance with the financial responsibility law. Worse, if you are involved in a car accident that results in injury or death, you can be fined $2,500 and serve nearly a year in jail.

Beyond that, you will still be responsible for paying the damages you caused in an accident without the help of insurance. Driving without insurance is a huge risk, and it far outweighs the cost of carrying coverage.

Additional policies for more protection

Car accidents can be expensive, and while your liability policy can help you deal with damages you caused, you should consider adding additional coverage to help you repair or replace your car, or to deal with any medical bills that arise out of a car accident. Read about each of these policies, and consider whether or not you will need to carry them:

Comprehensive and Collision

Comprehensive and Collision will provide benefits to help you repair your vehicle in a wide variety of instances. Collision coverage will repair your vehicle if you’re in a car accident, regardless of fault, or if you hit a stationary object like a tree. Comprehensive coverage will repair damage caused outside of a collision, such as hail, flood, or fire damage, or in a collision with an animal. It will also replace your car if it’s stolen.

Because it protects you from so many possibilities, the price of this coverage is much higher than a liability. However, as long as you’re still paying off your vehicle, your lienholder will require you to carry these policies. However, even if you own your car outright, the added cost is often worth it, especially if your car is worth a considerable amount of money, or if you’d have trouble getting a new one if it’s totaled.

Medical Payments (MedPay)

Medical Payments Coverage is a type of no-fault insurance that will quickly pay benefits if you’re injured in a car accident. While the limits are typically fairly low, there is no deductible, so you can use it in conjunction with your health insurance if you have a high deductible plan.

MedPay will also cover things many health insurance policies won’t, such as chiropractic care or dental work. If you have cheap health insurance, or if you would have any trouble paying medical bills, this policy can make a huge difference after a car accident.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist Coverage provides benefits if you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist, or if you’re the victim of the hit and run. Bodily Injury and Property Damage policies are sold separately and will match the limits of your liability coverage. That means your medical expenses, lost wages, or funeral expenses will still be covered, as well as damage to your vehicle if you purchase both policies.

Tennessee has as many as 20% of motorists driving without coverage, and Uninsured Motorist policies are fairly inexpensive. The policy will also cover you as a pedestrian, and it can pay out in instances where the other driver was underinsured, so once their policy limits are exhausted, you can get benefits from your policy to cover the rest of the damage.

Beyond these policies, you can also purchase Rental Car Coverage, Roadside Assistance, or Towing and Labor policies to help you if you’re ever stuck on the side of the road or need a car while your vehicle is being repaired. However, you may already have these benefits from credit cards or from the dealership you purchased your car from, so make sure you don’t pay for the same thing twice.

Factors that determine insurance premiums

Your car insurance rates are based on a combination of personal information, vehicle information, and the level of coverage you choose. You’ll need to answer questions accurately when you’re comparing rates, or the price of your car insurance premiums may differ significantly when you purchase your policy.

An insurance company will assess the risk to insure you based on your age, driving history, credit score, and address, among other things. Drivers without speeding tickets or accidents will pay less, while those with multiple violations or insurance claims will pay more. There are many discounts you may qualify for, and you should take advantage of as many of them as possible. These can include discounts for safe driving, maintaining a high GPA, insuring multiple vehicles, or bundling other policies like life insurance.

Before you purchase a new vehicle, you should always check the price of insurance to cover it. Vehicles with advanced safety features will get discounts, while those with hard to find parts may cost more to cover. If you can’t afford the cost of insurance on a new vehicle, you can’t afford to buy it.

You can experiment with different levels of coverage to find the insurance policy that offers you the best value. Adjusting the maximum limits, raising or lowering your deductibles, and adding optional coverages will all affect the price you pay each month. But you should never skimp on the coverage you need to save money. If your policy won’t protect you and your assets in a serious accident, it may take your finances years to recover.

The bottom line

Car insurance companies use different formulas to determine your rates, and no one insurer offers cheap car insurance to everyone. The only way to find the best rates for you is to take the time to complete a car insurance quote comparison. Once you find a company that offers affordable rates on a policy that keeps you protected, you can purchase it online and have proof of insurance within minutes.

But even once you have car insurance, you should take the time to compare rates periodically. The best company for you today may not be the best one for you next year, and you can save hundreds of dollars a year by switching carriers. So drive safely, always follow the rules of the road.

More Info

Want to learn more? Click on any of the coverage types below in order to read up about your insurance options: