Laws dictating Tennessee car insurance coverage do not require you to carry liability auto insurance. However, you are required to show financial responsibility in order to register your car or get a driver's license. This is because Tennessee is a tort state and while you are not obligated to have auto insurance, you are responsible for all monetary costs associated with damages and injuries if you are the one at fault in a car accident. With that in mind, you want to be aware of recommended coverage amounts and some common causes of accidents in the state.
In 2007, 51,475 crashes took place in Tennessee with 1,210 estimated fatalities resulting from the accidents. Although it is not mandatory, it is recommended to carry some auto insurance as protection for your assets. The minimum liability insurance is $25,000 per person for the party not at fault, $50,000 for parties of two or more people, and $15,000 for damages to property. Depending on your current financial situation, the minimums may not be enough coverage for your needs and you may need to consider increasing the policy. Although increasing the policy will result in higher premiums, it may be surprisingly incidental and therefore worth considering.
In 2004, Tennessee car insurance premiums averaged $666.22 and were relatively low nationwide, ranking the tenth lowest state. Surprisingly the premiums ranked low despite the factors that the speed limit was 70 miles per hour, hand held cell phone usage had not been banned, the legal level of blood alcohol content was 0.08, and open containers of alcohol were allowed in the vehicle as long as the driver was not drinking.
Although cell phone use is still legal, as of May of 2009, Tennessee passed a law prohibiting text messaging while driving. Text messaging is considered as dangerous as drunk driving because of the high distraction factor. Not counting adults, nearly 50 percent of teens nationwide admit to texting while driving. Although cell phone use was banned in many states a few years ago, texting was a relatively new phenomenon and not part of that ban.
Since text messaging is still so new, there are not yet any hardcore statistics to either prove or deny the dangers of texting while driving, but any time you take your eyes off the road there is increased risk. Informal studies and crash statistics involving injured parties and fatalities confirm the hazard. With the law possibly going into effect on July 1st, 2009, Tennessee is one of the first states to proactively ban texting while driving. Although you will not lose any points on your driver's license for breaking this law you will earn yourself a $50 citation.
Driving carefully and maintaining a good driving record is proven to keep Tennessee car insurance rates low. Awareness of the laws, recommended coverage amounts, and safe driving statistics will all help to ensure that you have a policy that keeps you safe, and that you can afford. Plus, we can keep the roads safe for everyone.