Driving Without Car Insurance in Tennessee

Most states, including Tennessee, have laws that regulate the requirements of car insurance. In pretty much every corner of the United States, local governments require drivers to purchase a minimum amount of liability car insurance. This is to protect motorists and lower the cost of courtroom fees associated with people trying to recover the cost of damages in a car accident. Unfortunately, there are plenty of drivers who have not purchased this minimum amount of insurance. Those uninsured drivers cause both the state and motorists millions of dollars each year.

There are plenty of reasons why drivers chose to not purchase car insurance. It does not mean they are bad people or intentionally trying to screw other motorists over. In fact, criminals are more interesting in capitalizing on fraudulent car insurance claims then they are driving without insurance.

Often it is the cost of auto insurance that keeps people from purchasing a policy. While almost all of the 50 states require drivers to be financially responsible and purchase car insurance, many drivers simply cannot afford the insurance premiums. Either they are low income and simply cannot spare the monthly charge for insurance or they have a poor driving record and can’t pay the higher premiums associated with high-risk drivers.

The amount of uninsured drivers varies from state to state. Some states have a lower rate, could be as low as 4% of all drivers. Other states are on the higher end, with Mississippi taking the top spot with 28% of drivers who operate vehicles without car insurance. Tennessee is actually near the top of that pack with a 24% of uninsured drivers. That’s nearly a 1 in 4 chance that the person who hits you in a car accident in Tennessee may not have car insurance to cover the damages they have caused.

Early in 2011, and again in early 2012, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and local state legislators are working to pass bill proposals to minimize the amount of uninsured motorists in the state.  Some of the bills would change the way the area’s proof of insurance works. Another follows the example of other states, like Massachusetts, that requires drivers to show proof of insurance in order to register a vehicle.

Some of them suggest raising the cost of not being able to provide proof of insurance when asked or to mandate that law enforcement check for valid car insurance during traffic violation stops. Another bill would restrict what drivers without car insurance could receive in terms of legal or Tennessee auto insurance compensation if they are a victim in a car accident.

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