Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 55: Motor and Other Vehicles

Chapter 12: Financial Responsibility Law

TCA 55-12-102: Chapter definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Autocycle" means an autocycle as defined in SC 55-1-103;

(2) "Bond" means irrevocable bond executed by a corporate surety company licensed to do business as a corporate surety company in this state, with penalties of like amounts as those pertaining to an insurance policy or the amount of damages suffered, whichever is less, the bond to guarantee the payment of any final judgment which might thereafter be rendered against the bonded party resulting from the accident up to and including the total amount of the bond, except the bond may specify a limited payment to those persons who have at the time of its execution filed claims with the commissioner, and shall contain a clause therein that it shall remain in force for one (1) year from the date of the accident or until final determination of any court action brought as a result of the accident, whichever may be the longer period of time;

(3) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of safety, unless otherwise indicated or unless the context otherwise requires;

(4) "Judgment" means any judgment that shall have become final by expiration without appeal of the time within which an appeal might have been perfected, or by final affirmation on appeal, rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction of any state or of the United States, upon a cause of action arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of any motor vehicle, for damages, including damages for care and loss of services, because of bodily injury to or death of any person, or for damages because of injury to or destruction of property, including the loss of use thereof;

(5) "License" means any license, temporary instruction permit, or temporary license issued under the laws of this state, or any other state, pertaining to the licensing of persons to operate motor vehicles within this state;

(6) "Motor vehicle" means every self-propelled vehicle that is designed for use upon the highway, including trailers and semitrailers designed for use with motor vehicles, and every vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead wires but not operated upon rails, except traction engines, road rollers and farm tractors. "Motor vehicle" does not include "motorized bicycle" as defined in SC 55-8-101;

(7) "Motor vehicle liability policy" means an "owner's policy" or "operator's policy" of liability insurance, certified as provided in SC 55-12-120 or SC 55-12-121 as proof of financial responsibility, and issued, except as otherwise provided in SC 55-12-121 by an insurance carrier duly licensed or admitted to transact business in this state, to or for the benefit of the person named therein as insured;

(8) "Nonresident" means every person who is not a resident of this state;

(9) "Nonresident operating privileges" means the privilege conferred upon a nonresident by the laws of this state pertaining to the operation of a motor vehicle, or the use of a motor vehicle owned by the nonresident, in this state;

(10) "Operator" means every person who is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle whether or not licensed as an operator or chauffeur under the laws of this state;

(11) "Owner" means a person who holds the legal title of a motor vehicle, or in the event a motor vehicle is the subject of an agreement for the conditional sale or lease thereof with the right of purchase upon performance of the conditions stated in the agreement and with an immediate right of possession vested in the conditional vendee or lessee, or in the event a mortgagor of a vehicle is entitled to possession, then the conditional vendee, lessee or mortgagor shall be deemed the owner for the purpose of this chapter;

(12) "Proof of financial responsibility" or "proof of financial security" means:

(A) (i) If proof is required after December 31, 1989, but prior to January 1, 2009, such proof means:

(a) A written proof of liability insurance coverage provided by a single limit policy with a limit of not less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) applicable to one (1) accident;

(b) A split-limit policy with a limit of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for bodily injury to or death of one (1) person, not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for bodily injury to or death of two (2) or more persons in any one (1) accident, and not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for damage to property in any one (1) accident;

(c) A deposit of cash with the commissioner in the amount of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000); or

(d) The execution and filing of a bond with the commissioner in the amount of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000).

(ii) An insured holding a policy that complies with the insurance requirements of the financial responsibility law on December 31, 1989, will not be deemed to be in violation of the law if the policy meets the limits specified in subdivisions (12)(A)(i)(a)-(d) as of the first renewal after that date;

(B) (i) If proof is required after December 31, 2008, proof means:

(a) A written proof of liability insurance coverage provided by a single limit policy with a limit of not less than sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) applicable to one (1) accident;

(b) A split-limit policy with a limit of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for bodily injury to or death of one (1) person, not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for bodily injury to or death of two (2) or more persons in any one (1) accident, and not less than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for damage to property in any one (1) accident;

(c) A deposit of cash with the commissioner in the amount of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000); or

(d) The execution and filing of a bond with the commissioner in the amount of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000).

(ii) An insured holding a policy that complies with the insurance requirements of the financial responsibility law on December 31, 2008, will not be deemed to be in violation of the law if the policy meets the limits specified in subdivision (12)(B)(i)(a)-(d) as of the first renewal after December 31, 2008;

(13) "Registration" means a registration certificate or certificates and registration plates issued under the laws of this state pertaining to the registration of motor vehicles; and

(14) "State" means any state, territory or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any province of the Dominion of Canada.

History: Acts 1977, ch. 446, SC 2; 1979, ch. 247, SC 9; T.C.A., SC 59-1252; Acts 1983, ch. 53, SCSC 1, 2; 1984, ch. 494, SC 1; 1986, ch. 804, SC 5; 2007, ch. 484, SC 77; 2008, ch. 616, SCSC 1, 2; 2013, ch. 308, SC 38.