Drive Insured TN verification program now being implemented
By Logan Watson
If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of Tennessee drivers currently cruising the streets without any auto insurance, it’s time to start shopping for quotes.
When Governor Bill Haslam signed the James Lee Atwood, Jr. bill into law in 2015, it made several immediate changes that affected uninsured drivers. On July 1, 2015, fines for violating Tennessee’s financial responsibility law rose from $100 to $300 and police departments were given the discretion to tow the vehicle of any driver found to be driving without the state’s mandatory minimum level of liability insurance.
While local police chiefs have stated that they have yet to tow a vehicle due to a lack of insurance, a new stipulation put in place by the law could ultimately see uninsured drivers have their registrations suspended.
The James Lee Atwood, Jr. Law authorized the Tennessee Department of Revenue to create a statewide insurance verification program that would track down uninsured drivers through their vehicle registration.
The state’s Electronic Insurance Verification System, dubbed “Drive Insured Tennessee”, matches information on your vehicle’s registration against the information provided to the state by insurance carriers like Progressive and GEICO. If the system cannot confirm that a vehicle is insured, the owner will receive a notice from the Department of Revenue.
Failure to respond to the first notice will result in a $25 fine. If the driver does not respond to the final notice within 30 days, they will be fined $100 and the vehicle’s registration will be suspended. In the event that your vehicles registration is suspended, there will be a sizable reinstatement fee.
Gibson County Court Clerk Joyce Brown stated that the Department of Revenue will is still in the information-gathering process.
“The insurance companies have been a little slow getting all of that information to the state,” Brown said. The state will begin testing the program and the online response tool at www.driveinsuredtn.com by randomly selecting names. If you receive a Request for Information from the state, the letter will give you instructions on what steps to take to prove that you are covered.
“That won’t affect us until later on in the spring,” said Brown. “We will continue to renew registration like normal until they get the system set up.”
According to the Department of Revenue, there is currently no law on the books in Tennessee that would give the county clerks the ability to deny registration or renewal to a driver with no proof of insurance, so business at the Courthouse in Trenton will continue as normal. The new “Drive Insured Tennessee” verification program will go into effect on January 17. For more information on the program, visit www.driveinsuredtn.com.