What small business owners should know about commercial auto insurance in Tennessee
Tennessee is the home of stunning views, vibrant music, tasty food, and rich history of hard-working citizens. The labor-driven population of Tennessee even helped coin the state’s nickname: “The Volunteer State.” This history of hard work carries on today in the nearly 640,000 small businesses which continue to add to the state of Tennessee’s growing economy.
Many small businesses transport goods and services to their customers, and they couldn’t do it without the help of commercial vehicles. To protect against costly liabilities resulting from collisions, physical damage, medical expenses, and other damage sustained by potentially negligent drivers, any small business owner with one or more commercial vehicles must carry commercial auto insurance.
Other varieties of small business insurance policies exist to ensure owners are covered in most business-related cases. Still, only commercial auto insurance protects small businesses from liability and physical damage in the event of an accident involving a company vehicle. Types of company vehicles include but are not limited to cargo vans, food trucks, limos, taxis, heavy trucks, tow trucks, and contractor vehicles. It’s important to note that carrying a commercial license plate is a prerequisite for commercial vehicle classification in the state of Tennessee.
Seven facts about Tennessee commercial auto insurance
We’ve compiled a list of seven important points about Tennessee’s commercial auto insurance to help your small business understand the coverage it needs.
- The state of Tennessee requires all small businesses that use a vehicle, or multiple vehicles, for business purposes to carry a commercial auto insurance policy.
- The Financial Responsibility Law of Tennessee requires every driver to be financially responsible in the event of an accident. The best way to know your small business is covered is to obtain commercial auto insurance, as personal auto policies typically exclude coverage for any commercial use.
- There are only a few exceptions to the Financial Responsibility Law of Tennessee. Two instances that could qualify a small business owner to be exempt from the state law are (1) if the owner no longer owns the vehicle or (2) if the owner’s vehicle is stored or inoperable.
- Small businesses that fail to obtain commercial auto insurance or another means of financial responsibility can face fines or lose the right to drive their commercial vehicle.
- Tennessee requires a minimum liability coverage split of 25/50/15. This means, in Tennessee, your commercial auto insurance must cover a minimum of:
- $25,000 for each injury or death per accident,
- $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident,
- and $15,000 for property damage per accident.
- Vehicles over 10,000 pounds need to carry additional coverage, especially if the vehicles are being used to transport hazardous materials.
- Many commercial vehicles will need a USDOT Number, especially when over 10,000 pounds, transporting passengers for money, and crossing over state lines.
While commercial auto insurance is required by law in all states except New Hampshire and Virginia, it’s still important to evaluate how much liability coverage is right for your small business. State minimum coverages can and do vary, and your business may need more than the minimum to truly cover your potential liabilities. Commercial auto insurance laws are also subject to change so stay up to date on your research and consult a trusted advisor, such as a licensed insurance agent.
Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only. As laws change regularly, refer to your state legislation and/or an advisor for specific legal counsel. If you’re a small business owner interested in knowing more about commercial auto insurance check out our resources to learn more about the basics of commercial auto insurance or get a quote from Pie.