Driving Without Insurance in Tennessee: Consequences and Prevention
Many drivers may not realize the significant risks and penalties associated with driving without insurance in Tennessee. This article will shed light on these consequences and provide suggestions on how to prevent driving without proper coverage.
Consequences of Driving Without Insurance in Tennessee
1. Fines and Fees
In Tennessee, driving without at least the minimum liability insurance is a Class C misdemeanor. Upon being caught, you could face a fine of up to $300. However, the expenses don’t stop there – you’ll also need to pay court fees and an uninsured motorist penalty fee.
2. License Suspension
If convicted of driving without insurance, your driver’s license could be suspended for one year or until you can show proof of minimum liability insurance. To get your license reinstated after a suspension, you’ll need to pay an additional $65 reinstatement fee alongside other potential administrative costs.
3. Vehicle Impoundment
A law enforcement officer has the authority to seize and impound your vehicle if you’re caught driving without insurance. To regain possession of your car, you’ll often have to cover towing and impoundment fees, which vary depending on the duration your car is held.
4. High-Risk Driver Classification
Upon conviction for driving without insurance, you’ll likely be categorized as a high-risk driver. This means that when you finally obtain auto insurance, the premium rates will be much higher than those for low-risk drivers.
5. SR-22 Requirement
Once classified as a high-risk driver, the state may require you to file an SR-22 form – a certificate proving that you now hold adequate liability insurance coverage – with Tennessee’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Typically, an SR-22 requirement lasts for three years.
Preventing Driving Without Insurance in Tennessee
The consequences of driving without insurance are clear – hefty fines, fees, and other complications that can make life difficult. To avoid these consequences, follow these tips:
1. Purchase At Least the Minimum Liability Insurance
Tennessee law requires drivers to carry minimum levels of liability insurance: $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $15,000 for property damage (25/50/15). These are the bare minimum requirements, but consider purchasing further coverage to protect yourself and others on the road.
2. Compare Rates among Different Providers
Shop around and compare rates from various insurance companies to find coverage that meets your needs and budget. Doing so can save you money in the long run.
3. Keep Your Policy Up-To-Date
Ensure that your policy remains active by promptly making premium payments. Set up automatic payments or reminders to avoid accidentally allowing your policy to lapse.
4. Keep Proof of Insurance in Your Vehicle
Always keep a copy of your insurance card or an electronic copy on your phone. This way, if you’re stopped by law enforcement or involved in an accident, you can immediately prove that you have valid insurance.
Driving without insurance in Tennessee exposes you to serious consequences and expenses. By understanding these risks and taking steps to ensure you always have proper insurance coverage, you can protect yourself from unnecessary headaches and financial burdens as a responsible driver.