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Tennessee requires motorists who have committed risky traffic errors such as reckless driving or driving under the influence (DUI) to file an SR-22 certificate with the state. This form proves the driver has state-mandated minimum insurance coverage. If you find yourself in this situation, explore the basics of SR-22 insurance in TN with this guide.
SR-22 Insurance Requirements
According to the website Clearsurance, Tennessee requires high-risk drivers to maintain an SR-22 for three to five years depending on the violation. To get this form, you must purchase car insurance of at least the minimum Tennessee liability limits:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury or wrongful death.
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury or wrongful death.
- $15,000 per accident for property damage.
When you purchase coverage and inform your insurer of the SR-22 requirement, the company will send a proof of coverage certificate to the state Department of Safety. Most insurers charge a one-time fee of about $25 for this SR-22 service.
In addition to DUI or reckless driving, you might need an SR-22 for a history of:
- Driving without insurance or with a suspended license.
- Causing a serious at-fault accident.
- Failing to pay a legal judgment.
- Refusing to take a breath test at the scene of a DUI stop.
Clearsurance notes that Tennessee might also require SR-22 coverage for drivers who have several small violations such as speeding tickets over a relatively short amount of time.
You can potentially get an SR-22 certificate from your current insurance provider. However, not every insurer offers this service. You might also save money by shopping around for rates with different providers.
After serving a license suspension, you cannot get reinstatement until the state processes your SR-22 form. You must also either pay the required reinstatement fees or arrange a payment plan if you owe more than $200 in court fees. For example, a DUI in Tennessee carries a one-year license suspension and up to $5000 in fines.
Cost of SR-22 Insurance in Tennessee
Insurance website ValuePenguin reports these average approximate rate increases by provider for drivers who get a DUI in Tennessee:
- Progressive: 20 percent.
- Allstate: 45 percent.
- State Farm: 67 percent.
- Tennessee Farmers: 74 percent.
- Nationwide: 96 percent.
- USAA: 115 percent.
- Erie: 145 percent.
- GEICO: 184 percent.
The Zebra reports that Tennessee auto insurance rates increase by about 57 percent after a ticket for racing, 55 percent for driving with a suspended license, and 51 percent after leaving the scene of an accident.
Affordable SR-22 Insurance in Tennessee
According to the finance website MoneyGeek, State Farm offers the most affordable average annual policy of $430 for SR-22 insurance in Tennessee. ValuePenguin reports these average annual SR-22 premium rates for a 30-year-old male Tennessee driver:
- Allstate: $994.
- Erie: $986.
- GEICO: $1389.
- Nationwide: $2190.
- Progressive: $451.
- State Farm: $670.
- Tennessee Farmers: $833.
- USAA: $801 (available only for members of the military, veterans, and their families).
Clearsurance reports these average rates for a single 35-year-old Tennessee driver with one DUI and full coverage on a 2015 Toyota Highlander:
- Allstate: $1890.
- Auto-Owners: $2755.
- Cincinnati Insurance Company: $2151.
- Erie: $1315.
- Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee: $1192.
- Farmers Insurance: $1147.
- GEICO: $2592.
- Nationwide: $2073.
- Progressive: $896.
- Safeco: $4605.
- State Farm: $1397.
- Travelers: $1567.
- USAA: $1801.
Drivers who need an SR-22 certificate can also seek coverage from providers ranked as the overall cheapest in Tennessee. Auto insurance website The Zebra reports that these companies have the lowest average annual rates in the state:
- Auto-Owners: $844.
- Nationwide: $1292.
- Penn National: $805.
- Progressive: $1393.
- Safe Auto: $1822.
- Safeco: $1941.
- State Auto: $1719.
- State Farm: $1158.
- Travelers Insurance: $1189.
- USAA: $1112.
The Zebra also reports that USAA and Erie have claims satisfaction ratings of 5 out of 5 from J.D. Power and Associates. Nationwide earned a 4 out of 5 in this category. The following firms earned a financial strength rating of Superior from A.M. Best: Allstate, Chubb, Cincinnati Insurance, Erie, GEICO, MetLife, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, and USAA.
Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance
MoneyGeek reports that the most affordable option for many high-risk Tennessee drivers is non-owner SR-22 insurance. If you do not currently own a car, this policy fulfills the requirements to maintain or reinstate your driver’s license. The website found these average annual rates for non-owner SR-22 policies in Tennessee:
- GEICO: $283.
- Progressive: $461.
- State Farm: $346.
- Travelers Insurance: $462.
- USAA: $324.
Another alternative is to forgo your driving privileges until the SR-22 requirement expires.
Tennessee Penalties for DUI
Drivers with no prior offenses who receive a DUI in Tennessee receive a one-year license revocation, up to $1500 in fines, and at least 48 hours in jail. You can receive increased penalties for elevated blood alcohol content, multiple offenses, and DUI incidents causing injury or death. You must also install an ignition interlock device at your own expense and complete a court-ordered drug and alcohol education program.
Factors That Affect Insurance Cost
In addition to your driving record, other factors that influence the cost of your coverage include your age, the Tennessee city and neighborhood where you live, your marital status, your gender, the level of auto insurance coverage you plan to purchase, your credit score, and the type of car you drive.
For example, you can save money on auto insurance coverage by dropping full coverage and other optional policies and purchasing only minimum liability. You can also reduce the cost of your SR-22 policy by:
- Opting for usage-based insurance if you rarely drive.
- Paying for your coverage in full at the start of the policy period.
- Increasing your deductible amounts.
- Bundling more than one type of insurance coverage with the same provider.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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