Happy New Year! The new year is ringing in new changes in auto insurance in Tennessee. A new insurance verification system launches this month and it requires all insurance companies to register with the Tennessee Department of Revenue and provide auto insurance policy information. This new change is to make sure all motorists are insured, and if not, are reported promptly to the State by the insurance carrier if they let their auto insurance lapse or cancel. Rather than checking for insurance coverage at the time of registration renewal, this system will verify insurance coverage on a continual basis throughout the year.
All drivers should make sure the vehicle identification number on their registration and insurance cards are correct. Insurance carriers will report their information, and only if there is a problem will motorists have to take action. If that happens, you will receive a notice from the State asking you to respond within 30 days. If they do not receive a response within 30 days, motorists will get a $25 penalty. A final notice imposing the $25 penalty and a warning of a $100 penalty and suspension will then be sent, giving the motorist 30 days to respond. Finally, a suspension notice will be sent with a total of $125 penalty.
If the system is unable to confirm insurance coverage for a vehicle, a notice will be sent to the owner directing them to a website or call center to sort out any problems.
If a driver does not have valid insurance when pulled over by law enforcement, they will pay additional fines of up to $300 and they can lose their vehicle registration, in addition to being subject to a class C misdemeanor. Law enforcement will have the new verification tool to verify you have it. At their discretion they can have your vehicle towed.
WHAT IF I HAVEN’T BEEN INSURING MY VEHICLE BECAUSE I CAN’T AFFORD IT?
Tennessee law requires motorists to carry proof of financial responsibility. The most common way to meet this requirement is to carry a minimum amount of auto liability insurance. The required minimum limits for TN is:
- $25,000 for each injury or death per accident
- $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident
- $15,000 for property damage per accident
Other ways you can show proof are posting a $65,000 bond with the Dept of Revenue, or making a cash deposit for $65,000.
Under the States new Electronic Insurance Verification System, you risk paying fines and potentially losing the right to drive your vehicle if you do not comply. You cannot afford NOT to have proper insurance coverage.
We can help! As an independent agent, we represent insurance companies with competitive rates and flexible payment options. Call us today at 865-687-8142!