Tennessee Motorcycle Insurance

Tennessee requires that each motorcycle rider be able to show proof of financial responsibility at all times. For most riders that means having a Tennessee endorsed motorcycle insurance policy in force. In some instances, the state does not require that you have coverage when riding on private property, but why take a risk with someone’s safety and your own bank account?

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Tennessee Motorcycle Insurance Laws

Since Tennessee is an ”at fault” state, you can be held financially and criminally liable after an accident if you are found to be at fault. If you do not have coverage, you will have to pay for everything out-of-pocket. Let’s have a look at motorcycle insurance issues in Tennessee, how the state defines a motorcycle for law enforcement and insurance purposes, some of the required equipment to make your bike street legal, as well as the coverage levels and types you may need.

Tennessee Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

The legislature in Tennessee increased the minimal motorcycle insurance limits in 2011. The revised minimum motorcycle insurance coverage limits are:

  • $30,000 for death or bodily injury to one person
  • $60,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons
  • $15,000 for damage or destruction of property

You can immediately see that the revised coverage levels took great strides toward protecting all riders and passengers, but they may not be enough to fully cover a serious incident. A single night in the hospital or an E.R. visit with ambulance bills could easily reach those limits.

Recommended Coverage for TN Riders

The minimum coverage in Tennessee may not adequately cover an accident, as they only cover your liability.

  • Collision: this protection covers your bike in an accident under nearly every circumstance. It may or may not include uninsured/under-insured coverage.
  • Comprehensive: this protection takes up where collision leaves off, protecting you against non-collision mishaps. Items include fire, wind, water, theft, and vandalism.
  • Uninsured/under-insured: at any given time more than 20 percent of the motorists in Tennessee are uninsured. With that many uninsured motorists you can understand why you need this coverage. As if worrying about uninsured drivers isn’t enough, you must also be aware of under-insured drivers. An uninsured/under-insured motorist policy protects you in either case.
  • Bodily injury coverage: this protection covers certain costs if you injure or kill someone in an at-fault accident. It also protects your passenger.
  • Medical payment coverage: this covers items such as prescription drug payments, dental care, medical co-payments and deductibles from other health coverage policies, home nursing care, or funereal expenses.

If you ride a custom motorcycle, whether it’s a chromed-out Harley or extended swingarm ‘Busa, we encourage you to look into Custom Parts and Equipment coverage, discussed in detail here.

Tennessee Motorcycle Insurance Cost

The only way to truly gauge the cost of your policy is by review insurance quotes from a variety of insurers.  This may sound like a hassle, but we’ve streamlined the process for you. Simply enter your zip code to display major companies who insure bikes in your part of the state. You can easily request and review quotes based on your bike and rider information.

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Tennessee Motorcycle Law

Tennessee Code Ann. § 55-8-101(36) defines a motorcycle as:

”Every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three (3) wheels in contact with the ground, including a vehicle that is fully enclosed, has three (3) wheels in contact with the ground, weighs less than one thousand five hundred pounds (1,500 lbs.), and has the capacity to maintain posted highway speed limits, excluding a tractor or motorized bicycle.”

The Volunteer State is one of the most beautiful parts of the country in which to ride. There is a large amount of open riding to be found with numerous terrain changes, but the congested streets of Nashville and Knoxville can make for interesting rides as well. Whether you are in congested urban sprawl or wide open country, you and your bike must have certain equipment in order to be considered street legal in Tennessee. That equipment includes:

  • Eye protection: required unless equipped with a windscreen.
  • Handlebar height: no restrictions
  • Helmet: required for all riders and passengers.
  • Mirrors: only one is required.
  • Turn Signals: not required.
  • Passenger Seat/Footrest: both are required if carrying a passenger. No restrictions on a passenger’s age.
  • Headlight: required, modulating daytime headlight approved.
  • Muffler: required, cutouts are not permitted. There are no acoustical limits set.
  • Safety Inspection: not required.