Tennessee requires that all drivers have a minimum amount of car insurance. You could face serious consequences for driving without it. Under Tennessee state law, you may have to pay fines, turn in your driver's license and registration, or even serve time in jail if you're caught driving without insurance. If you have insurance but can't prove it when you're stopped or are at the scene of an accident, you're guilty of an “administrative offense,” similar to a fine for a seatbelt.
The most important thing to remember if you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver is to call the police. In addition to the legal consequences of driving without insurance, you could easily be responsible for tens of thousands of dollars or more in damage to your vehicle, the other driver's repair and hospital bills, and your own medical care. Your subpoena may be dismissed if you can provide the court with proof that you have valid insurance as of the date of the subpoena equal to or before the date of your appearance. SR-22 insurance typically costs much more than regular insurance because of the high-risk designation that comes with crimes such as driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving.
You can drive uninsured in California if, instead, you present proof of “financial responsibility.” Repeat offenders who drive without insurance in Tennessee may need to take a defensive driving course and pass the test before their license is reinstated. The form stays on file for three years, so your insurer may charge you higher premiums for risky driving. The difference between SR-22 and regular insurance is that SR-22 insurance is for high-risk drivers who have been convicted of serious traffic violations, while regular insurance is for anyone who drives a car. In addition, driving without car insurance in the state of Tennessee is a class A misdemeanor if you are involved in a car accident that results in bodily injury or death.
If you don't have car insurance, then you don't have a policy of your own to put yourself in the shoes of the at-fault driver. Penalties for driving without insurance in Tennessee include fines and the suspension of the driver's license and registration. In Tennessee, drivers with just two speeding tickets pay an average of 25% more on their annual car insurance premiums, for example. If you are arrested for driving without insurance, you will receive a 15-day notice asking you to show proof of insurance.
The underlying insurance coverage is the same, but the SR-22 designation will make that coverage more expensive. Tennessee insurance law allows a driver who is not at fault to claim for injuries and damages suffered through a personal injury lawsuit.