Image via Unsplash by mana5280
If you’ve been required to provide the Tennessee Department of Commerce with an SR-22 but you’re not sure how it works, you’re in the right place. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about what SR-22 insurance is, where to find it in Tennessee, and what it means for you.
Minimum Required Insurance in Tennessee
At its core, an SR-22 filing is simply there to prove you have a car insurance policy that meets Tennessee’s minimum insurance requirements. For all people to drive legally in Tennessee, they must have at minimum a liability insurance plan that offers:
- $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person per accident.
- $50,000 of total bodily injury coverage per accident.
- $15,000 of property damage coverage per accident.
While you’re looking for a plan that offers these amounts, you might see them listed more simply separated by slashes. For example:
- $25,000/$50,000/$15,000, or
Both of these mean the same thing and are the minimum insurance requirements to operate a vehicle in Tennessee. They should always represent coverages in this order: bodily damage coverage per person per accident, total bodily damage coverage per accident, and personal property damage coverage.
It’s important to note that liability coverage only covers damages experienced by other drivers and property owners — not the policyholder.
What Is SR-22 Insurance?
SR-22 insurance is a bit of a misnomer. An SR-22 is a form that a driver’s insurance company files on their behalf to the Tennessee Department of Commerce stating that the driver has the state’s minimum insurance requirements.
However, insurance that requires an SR-22 is usually more expensive than insurance plans that don’t require an SR-22. This is because an SR-22 is generally required due to the driver’s traffic violations. These violations are most commonly DUI, DWI, or driving without insurance.
The SR-22 requirement acts as a flag to the insurance company that the person requesting insurance is a high-risk driver. To take on the greater risk, the insurance company charges higher rates for the insurance plan.
SR-22 Insurance in Tennessee
Tennessee may require a driver to hold SR-22 for up to five years from the date of their suspension. If the driver cancels the SR-22 form before their required time is up, the state will suspend their driving privileges.
It’s possible to have the SR-22 on file for three years and then ask for it to be removed. The three years must take place within the five-year period and be continuous. If your request to have the requirement is accepted, your insurance rates may go down, but they will probably be higher for some years than they were before you were required to have the SR-22.
Be aware that there is a fee involved with filing an SR-22. The insurance company generally files the SR-22 form for you and then charges you the fee. The fee can cost anywhere from $15 to $50 depending on what the insurance company wants to charge you.
Tips on Finding Cheap SR-22 Insurance in Tennessee
If you’re trying to bring down the cost of your SR-22 car insurance, keep the following tips and tricks in mind as you shop.
Different Prices for Different Drivers
Not every driver is going to pay the same rate for SR-22 insurance in Tennessee. The SR-22 status isn’t the only influencer that dictates how much an insurance company is going to charge a driver. The insurance companies will also take into account factors such as age, previous driving history (in addition to the history that caused the SR-22 requirement), credit score, and your vehicle’s make and model.
Ask Your Current Provider First
Some major insurance companies offer SR-22 insurance and some don’t. Before you drop your current provider to start searching for SR-22 insurance elsewhere, ask your agent if it’s an option for you. Get a quote first and compare it with quotes from other companies before you decide to move forward if you want to save the most money. The difference in rates that companies offer for standard insurance and SR-22 insurance varies according to the company’s willingness to insure high-risk drivers.
Different companies have different rates of price increases when someone switches from standard insurance to SR-22 insurance. Progressive, for example, was found to increase the price of insurance after a DUI-induced SR-22 by 19.95%. State Farm was found to have an increase of 66.67% and GEICO increased rates by 184.15%. Long story short: Don’t accept an insurance rate just because it’s from your current provider or the first one that seems acceptable.
Non-Owner SR-22 Car Insurance
If a driver is being required to file an SR-22 but doesn’t own a car or have access to a car through someone they live with, they have the option of filing for non-owner SR-22 car insurance. This is generally offered at a lower rate than standard SR-22 car insurance and doesn’t require the policyholder to attach the insurance to any particular vehicle.
More Than Liability
A driver that needs SR-22 insurance does not have to stick to Tennessee’s minimum liability requirements. If the driver feels they need more coverage, they can still sign up for collision and comprehensive insurance. Sometimes, it will be required if they’re leasing a car, have an auto loan, or in another situation that would require them to carry full-coverage insurance even without the SR-22. However, these higher levels of insurance will cost more than equal plans that don’t require an SR-22 filing.
Cheap Car Insurance in Tennessee
According to ValuePenguin, the companies that charge the least for SR-22 insurance in Tennessee on average are:
- Progressive: $451.
- State Farm: $670.
- USAA: $801.
- Tennessee Farmers: $833.
- Erie: $986.
- Allstate: $994.
- GEICO: $1,398.
- Nationwide: $2,190.
These are average annual rates for a minimum coverage policy for 30-year-old males with a DUI.
This is not a complete list of options. There are some smaller insurance companies that specialize in insuring high-risk drivers. These companies may offer lower rates than the companies on the list above. This is why it’s important for you to get quotes from multiple companies to find the rate that’s best for your needs.
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.