Across the country, lawmakers at the state level have been looking for many ways to ensure that residents don’t end up paying more than they should have to for auto insurance. And while this has delivered some rules and laws of varying impacts, two that recently passed in the state of Tennessee could have a particularly far-reaching impact on drivers there. For this reason, insurance agents operating in any state will have to keep close tabs on what the legislatures there might do to impact the auto insurance industry going forward, and let their clients know as soon as possible.
The more immediate impact of the laws recently put into place by the Tennessee legislature is that people caught driving there without insurance could be in a position to lose their cars starting July 1, according to a report from the Sweetwater Advocate and Democrat. But that only applies to when people are pulled over for traffic violations. There will also be checks when people attempt to renew their cars’ registrations, but they wouldn’t have the power to seize cars or withhold driving privileges.
In the past, Tennessee law dictated that those who didn’t have insurance – and the most recent data suggests that more than 1 in 5 drivers in the state go without – were supposed to be hit with a $100 fine, the report said. But now, that fine is $300 and it would be at the officer’s discretion to have the car towed as well.
Fortunately for drivers there, while that rule goes into effect on July 1, another will not for some time to come, the report said. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, those people who don’t have auto insurance will also be denied registrations by government agencies, meaning that they would likely end up in even more trouble.
“The way it will work, is a database will be created that will list everybody with insurance,” Monroe County clerk Larry Sloan told the newspaper. “If you’re not on that list, you won’t be able to get your registration. All we’ll do is say we’re sorry. We won’t be taking your license and car or anything. Really, depending on where you buy your insurance and what kind of car you have, it would just be cheaper to buy insurance, and that’s probably what they’re hoping people will do.”
What can insurance agents do?
The more auto insurance agents can do to help their clients better understand state regulations related to this kind of coverage, the better off both parties are likely to be going forward. For consumers, a better understanding of the ins and outs of their coverage, as well as what’s required of them, will help them to feel good about their plans and relationship with their insurers overall. And for agents, that improved relationship status will typically translate into higher customer satisfaction ratings and, not coincidentally, better customer retention numbers in the long run.