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Owning a vehicle can come with some unexpected expenses, but car insurance is one of the guaranteed costs of owning a vehicle. To legally operate your vehicle on the roads, you must meet your state’s minimum automobile insurance requirement. While you can’t change the minimum requirement, you can find better deals through various insurance companies. It’s time to find cheap car insurance in Memphis, Tennessee.
What Are the Types of Automobile Insurance?
Knowing the basics of the different types of coverage will not only help you ascertain that you’re carrying the bare minimum of the correct coverage but will also help you decide whether any of the other optional coverages are worthwhile. There are four main types of automobile insurance: liability, uninsured/underinsured, comprehensive, and collision.
Liability insurance is required in most, if not all, of the United States of America. It’s insurance designed to protect you as the at-fault driver in an accident. Two categories of liability are required: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Bodily injury liability will help cover any medical expenses incurred by the other driver or passengers in an accident you caused, while property damage liability will cover the repairs and replacement of private and personal property, including their vehicle.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for the damages when you’re struck by a driver who has no or inadequate insurance. Your auto insurance policy will step up to pay for medical expenses and sometimes even property damage. If an uninsured driver hits you, your insurance coverage will take over from the beginning. If an underinsured driver hits you, your insurance will pick up the gap between their minimal coverage and your actual damages. For example, if you have $30,000 in medical bills and their coverage is for $25,000, your insurance will pay the difference of $5,000.
Comprehensive coverage is usually an optional insurance coverage unless your leasing company or lending institution requires it to cover their investment. Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle for damage caused by vandalism, theft, or a natural disaster such as hail. When you carry comprehensive, you also have a deductible, which is the amount of out-of-pocket expense you have agreed to cover on a claim. Lowering your deductible often increases your premium and decreases the amount you owe out-of-pocket should you make a comprehensive insurance claim.
Collision insurance coverage pays for damages to your vehicle or other public or private property in the event that you’re the at-fault driver in an accident. It covers damages caused by hitting an object, such as a fence or another vehicle parked or moving. Collision is also optional unless required to cover a lien or a lease and will have a selectable deductible to help you lower your annual premium.
Two additional types of coverage are available in most states, required in a few, and not available at all in some states. These coverages are medical payments and personal injury protection. Talk to your insurance agent to determine if they are available to you and whether or not you should add them to your policy.
What Are the Minimum Automobile Insurance Requirements for Memphis, Tennessee?
Each state has listed a basic minimum requirement for liability insurance coverage to help with the expenses of an accident. Driver Services of the Tennessee State Government has set the minimum liability coverage as follows:
- Bodily injury of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage of $15,000 per accident
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Adequate Insurance in Memphis?
Tennessee requires all drivers to have proof of insurance on them at all times. If you’re pulled over and fail to have a copy of your insurance card available, you can be subject to a $25 fine. If you’re found to be driving without the minimum automobile insurance coverage required, the penalties are as follows:
- First offense: This is a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of $300. Plus, your driver’s license and car registration will be suspended until you can provide proof of insurance and pay the fees to reinstate your license.
- Subsequent offenses: The state may require you to take a defensive driving course and pass the examination in order to reinstate your license, plus you’ll be required to file SR-22 insurance, which increases your insurance premiums.
Where Can You Find Cheap Car Insurance in Memphis, TN?
Once you understand the minimum coverage required to drive in Tennessee legally, you’ll want to look at the coverage you need, want, and can afford to start shopping for cheap car insurance in Memphis, TN. Several factors go into determining your insurance premiums, including your age, driving history, accident history, credit history, zip code, and vehicle type. One of the most significant impacts on your car insurance premiums can be the company you select. U.S. News & World Report shares the following options for cheap car insurance in Memphis, TN:
- USAA: $717
- GEICO: $891
- State Farm: $1,039
- Progressive: $1,059
- Travelers: $1,125
- Tennessee Farmers: $1,184
- Nationwide: $1,242
- Farmers Insurance: $1,353
- Erie Insurance: $1,454
- Allstate: $1,649
The state-wide average in Tennessee for minimum coverage is $1,171, which is approximately 11% lower than the national average.
When considering cheap car insurance in Memphis, TN, you may want to compare how much the annual premium is for full or high coverage car insurance, which would include additional coverages to protect you and your assets. The difference between full coverage and the state minimum is often surprisingly only a few more dollars each month. For cheap high-coverage car insurance in Memphis, TN, the same report suggests the following companies:
- USAA: $751
- GEICO: $953
- State Farm: $1,100
- Progressive: $1,152
- Travelers: $1.193
- Tennessee Farmers: $1,248
- Nationwide: $1,349
- Farmers Insurance: $1,439
- Erie Insurance: $1,502
- Allstate: $1,722
As you can see, the difference between minimum coverage and full coverage through USAA is less than $40 per year, which may mean that full coverage is more affordable than you think.
Whether it’s your first car insurance policy or you’re looking to renew your policy, you should take the time to look around and get quotes from several insurance companies. This process may seem time-consuming, but it can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.