Tennessee is a beautiful state, and to see it all you'll need some great car insurance.

Tennessee car insurance 101

There’s an old tradition in the United States in which Americans waiting at airport terminals, eavesdropping on conversations at restaurants or, more recently, browsing online forums, decide to argue that their state is more beautiful than any other. There’s something wonderful to find in each of the 50 states, however, Tennessee is certainly a contender for the top spot.

Home to the absolutely stunning Great Smoky Mountains National Park – the Smokies are, without a doubt, one of the great American mountain ranges, and everyone needs to see them – and massive underground waterfalls like Ruby Falls, Tennessee is among the most naturally beautiful states in the country.

Of course, it isn’t just the pretty sights that make Tennessee great. The cost of living – we’re talking groceries, housing, health insurance, etc. – is really affordable, ranking 87 overall on an index where the national average is 100. Combine all this with no state income tax and some Memphis-style barbeque, and you have every reason to hop in the car for some worthwhile exploration.

Before you make your trip to go hang gliding in Chattanooga or visit Graceland in Memphis, you’ll need the right online car insurance. Thankfully, Elephant has just what you’re looking for.

Tennessee car insurance basics

If you’re going to operate a vehicle in Tennessee, the state legally requires you to hold liability insurance in case you’re involved in an accident. Don’t fret, though; you’re lucky on two accounts. For one thing, you have plenty of coverage options. For another, Tennessee ranks in the top 20 cheapest states for owning a car long-term, according to GOBankingRates.com.

The required minimum limits for your liability insurance are $25,000 for each injury per accident, $50,000 for total injuries per accident, and $15,000 for property damage per accident (uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, but it can be rejected in writing). These minimums are actually lower than the 30/60/25 coverage common nationwide, so once again you’re coming out ahead in Tennessee. Still, we recommend that you protect yourself beyond the bare essentials.

Optional coverages like collision and comprehensive can ensure that you, your passengers, and your vehicle are guarded no matter what happens. Collision insurance, for example, covers all accident-related damages to your car, while comprehensive coverage pays for damage caused by non-accident related scenarios like vandalism or severe weather (like those incredible Tennessee storms).

The proof is in the POI

When you’re driving in Tennessee, you’ve always got to have your proof of insurance with you. That way if you’re ever pulled over by a law enforcement officer or involved in a car accident requiring a report (one that involves any injuries or property damage) you’ll have you insurance information on hand.

Your insurance ID card, policy declaration page or an insurance binder are all valid proof of insurance. Any one of them can be easily obtained by contacting Elephant. And remember to always update your old documents with the new ones when you renew your policy!

Penalties for non-insured drivers

There’s a good reason we talk about car insurance options so much. Getting caught driving without insurance or proof of financial responsibility is a Class C misdemeanor in Tennessee, which makes you liable to fines, a suspension of your driver’s license, or even an outright stop on your car, meaning that you can’t renew your registration and are stuck without transport.

Nor is it easy to simply regain control of your vehicle. Once a stop is in place, you’ll need to go get your driver’s license reactivated. And even if you were able to have the case dismissed by providing your proof of insurance before going to court, you’ll still need to mail or fax your POI to the Tennessee Department of Safety. Trust us – it’s not a whole lot of fun.

Rather than risk it – it’s far better to compare cheap car insurance quotes and select a provider to protect you and your vehicle.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It may not reflect the official policies of Elephant Insurance or current developments.