By Jedidiah McKeehan

Why exactly do we have to have car insurance?  Is it really against the law to drive around without having it?

Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) Title 55, Chapter 12 is titled, “Financial Responsibility,” and discusses what is required.

T.C.A. 55-12-102 states that “proof of financial responsibility” means: a policy with a limit of not less than $25,000.00 for bodily injury to or death of 1 person, not less than $50,000.00 for bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons in any 1 accident, and not less than $10,000.00 for damage to property in any 1 accident.

So, if someone has minimum auto insurance coverage in Tennessee, they will have a policy that meets the above numbers.  If someone with a state minimum policy crashes in to you, their insurance will only pay you $25,000.00, and then you’re on your own.  If you’ve been treated by a doctor recently, you know that $25,000.00 doesn’t get you very far in paying for medical expenses and treatments.

If someone is driving around without insurance and they get pulled over for speeding, and they are not able to produce proof of insurance, they will be cited for violating the “financial responsibility” statute that requires they have the above-listed amount of insurance.

So what’s the lesson here?  Get insurance!


Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.