About Tennessee Insurance Laws, Health Insurance and Regulations…
Like other states, Tennessee is home to a robust insurance industry that offers a wide range of coverage to residents. The industry is governed by a stringent set of regulations that are enforced by the Tennessee Insurance Division. The agency is responsible for upholding regulations from both the state and federal governments, ensuring that consumers are protected and insurance companies can operate free of exploitation and fraud. Insurance companies that do not adhere to the state’s regulations run the risk of losing their license to do business in the state.
Auto insurance is mandatory in Tennessee. All drivers must carry auto insurance coverage and proof that the vehicles they operate are insured. Because there are many different kinds of auto insurance coverage and some plans can be more expensive than others, the Tennessee Insurance Division has determined a minimum level of coverage drivers may carry in order to be considered insured. This coverage must account for: $25,000 for one injury or death; $50,000 for all injuries or deaths; and $15,000 for property damage for one accident. Tennessee does not require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
According to the Tennessee Department of Insurance, the average premiums drivers can expect to pay for their auto insurance coverage is $1,478. Rates are currently on a downward trend.
The Tennessee Insurance Division regulates the state’s property insurance industry. Though homeowners insurance is not mandatory, homeowners are strongly encouraged to purchase protection that will mitigate the financial impact of natural disasters. Over the past two years, Tennessee has seen numerous natural disasters come its way, many of which have caused flooding in the state. Tennessee is no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms, thus the need for insurance protection is widely apparent. Regulators ensure that rates for coverage remain fair for consumers while also accounting for the financial risk faced by insurance providers.
In 2014, health insurance coverage throughout the U.S. will be mandatory in much the same way auto insurance coverage is mandatory. In order to mitigate the financial impact consumers will face, states are required to build health insurance exchanges that will offer comprehensive, yet affordable coverage. States have the opportunity to opt out of building their own exchange, which would transfer the responsibility to the federal government. If the federal government takes control of the effort, states will not be able to regulate the exchange system.
Tennessee is one of the states that has not yet determined a course of action concerning a health insurance exchange. Legislators have shown some interest, but there is concern regarding the financial burden of the exchange program. Governor Bill Haslam has shown concern that the state may be unable to build its own exchange by the federal deadline of 2014 due to legislative inaction.
Tennessee is home to more than 6 million people, of which 14% do not have health insurance coverage. If the state cannot built its own exchange, the federal government will work to ensure that these people receive access to affordable plans.
Tennessee Insurance Resources:
Tennessee Insurance Commissioner: Julie Mix McPeak
Tennessee Department of Insurance Website: http://tn.gov/insurance/index.shtml
Tennessee Insurance Agent Licensing Info: http://tn.gov/insurance/agentsRes.shtml
File Insurance Complaint: http://tn.gov/insurance/complaint.shtml