Auto insurance for high-risk drivers in Tennessee

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There were 1,040 fatal car accidents leading to 1,135 deaths in 2019 in Tennessee. This statistic translates to 16.6 deaths per 100,000 population. The equivalent national figure for that year was 11 deaths per 100,000 population. In 2020, there were 1,221 traffic fatalities in Tennessee. The vast majority of highway fatalities in the U.S. result from some form of high-risk driving behavior involving a traffic violation.

Bankrate considers a driver to be high-risk if that driver has one or more of these incidents in their history: an at-fault accident, a speeding ticket, a single DUI conviction or a lapse in car insurance coverage.

Rates for high-risk car insurance in Tennessee

As demonstrated below, these high-risk drivers in Tennessee typically pay increased car insurance premiums. We specifically looked at the high-risk factors that lead to increases in average annual car insurance premiums. The factors reviewed and their impact on insurance rates are a speeding ticket, an accident, a DUI and a teenage driver.

Rates after a speeding ticket

The impact of a speeding ticket on average annual car insurance premiums varies significantly by the insurer in Tennessee.

A speeding ticket in Tennessee can have serious consequences. The normal fine for a violation runs from $40 to $150. Tennessee’s traffic violation point system is relatively straightforward:

  • 1-5 mph over the speed limit: 1 point
  • 6-15 mph over the speed limit: 3 points
  • 16-25 mph over the speed limit: 4 points
  • 26-35 mph over the speed limit: 5 points
  • 36-45 mph over the speed limit: 6
  • 46 or more mph over the speed limit: 8 points

If one of the above violations occurs in a construction zone, an additional point is added. The accumulation of 12 or more points in a year can result in license suspension.

Car insurance company Tennessee average annual premium for full coverage before a speeding ticket Tennessee average annual premium for full coverage after a speeding ticket % increase
Allstate $1,777 $2,100 18%
Celina $1,422 $1,630 15%
Chubb $1,808 $1,924 6%
Geico $992 $1,030 4%
Grange $966 $1,441 49%
Nationwide $1,219 $1,706 40%
Progressive $1,287 $1,789 39%
Safe Auto $1,672 $2,498 49%
Travelers $1,052 $1,532 46%
USAA $1,116 $1,202 8%

Rates after an accident

Tennessee has an “fault”-based system for allocating responsibility for paying for property and personal injury damages arising from a car accident. While the specific payments required will be sorted out through negotiations between insurers or in court, your insurance company may increase your rates depending upon various factors including your level of fault, the severity of the damages and injuries and other high-risk factors in your driving record. Certainly, a series of accidents will have a significant impact on premiums in Tennessee.

Car insurance company Tennessee average annual premium for full coverage before an accident Tennessee average annual premium for full coverage after an accident % increase
Allstate $1,777 $2,204 24%
Celina $1,422 $2,406 69%
Chubb $1,808 $2,720 50%
Geico $992 $1,838 85%
Grange $966 $1,286 33%
Nationwide $1,219 $1,740 43%
Progressive $1,287 $2,191 70%
Safe Auto $1,672 $2,924 75%
Travelers $1,052 $1,521 45%
USAA $1,116 $1,508 35%

Rates after a DUI

A DUI conviction will have a serious and often costly impact on your ability to obtain car insurance and its cost.

It may be difficult due to state laws for a car insurance company to immediately cancel coverage following a DUI. It is helpful to check the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office (AIPSO) website which has information on these state rules. However, insurers are always within their rights to refuse to renew coverage.

Tennessee is one of many states that require that a proof of insurance form known as an SR-22 be filed following a serious traffic violation. The violations include a DUI as well as a series of accidents or speeding tickets in a certain period.

Car insurance company Tennessee average annual premium for full coverage before a DUI Tennessee average annual premium for full coverage after a DUI % increase
Allstate $1,777 $3,416 92%
Celina $1,422 $3,679 159%
Chubb $1,808 $6,297 248%
Erie $1,629 $1,944 19%
Geico $992 $4,121 316%
Grange $966 $1,696 76%
Nationwide $1,219 $2,421 99%
Progressive $1,287 $1,566 22%
Safe Auto $1,672 $2,924 75%
Tennessee Farmers Mutual $1,222 $1,809 48%
Travelers $1,052 $1,659 58%
USAA $1,116 $1,952 75%

Rate for teen drivers

The highest risk age group for accidents are teens aged 16-19. Often teens younger than 18 can remain covered under their parents’ policies and though this is not cheap, it is typically less expensive than the cost of a teen acquiring a separate policy.

The highest premiums paid of any age group are 18 and 19 year old teens. This is due to car insurance company efforts to offset the higher risk. After this, as drivers gain more experience and risk reduces, rates tend to decrease for ages 20 to 25 and start to level off from there.

Car insurance company Average annual premium for full coverage
Allstate $2,068
Celina $4,710
Chubb $1,305
Erie $2,067
Geico $3,222
Grange $1,443
Nationwide $832
Progressive $1,937
Safe Auto $2,699
State Farm $1,755
Tennessee Farmers Mutual $1,903
Travelers $1,410
USAA $2,168
Westfield $2,735

Who is a high-risk driver?

Here, we have examined certain factors relating directly to risks associated with driving ability. These encompass all serious traffic violations and risks associated with teen drivers.

The car insurance industry looks at these factors as well in setting premiums to account for risks. But auto insurance companies also look at a wider range of factors such as credit scores, safety features on the insured vehicle and crime patterns in the areas where the car operates. The definition of a high risk driver is broader for the industry.

How to lower your rate if you’re a high-risk driver

High-risk drivers do have options that might help improve their risk status and reduce car insurance premiums. These options include:

  • In Tennessee, in some instances, a driver can reduce the points designated for a traffic violation if the fine is paid before its due date.
  • Completing a defensive driving course may help improve your risk status.
  • Trading in your current vehicle for one which grades better on safety tests and has additional safety features can help reduce risk.
  • Above all, drive defensively and obey all traffic laws.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company for high-risk drivers?

There is no single best car insurance for everyone. If you are a high-risk driver, it will be important to review all of the factors that place you in the high-risk category and include these in assessing various car insurance companies. Obtain several quotes from the best car insurance companies which include these factors and compare the quotes to determine the best policy to meet your needs.

How long does it take for insurance premiums to decrease for high-risk drivers?

As discussed, drivers become high-risk based upon a wide variety of factors, some more serious than others. Ask your current insurer for detailed information about the length of time your factors will remain on your record. Typically, infractions remain on a driver’s record from three to five years and it may be that your carrier only “looks back” for a specific period of time.

What are the most significant factors that make a driver high risk?

The most significant factors that make a driver high risk are serious traffic violations such as a single or multiple DUIs, speeding violations or serious at fault accidents. A combination of less significant factors such as a poor credit score or a young age can also lead to a high-risk classification.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually. These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

High-risk drivers
Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Written by
Rick Hoel
Insurance Contributor
Rick Hoel is an international business attorney and legal and insurance writer for Bankrate.com, Reviews.com and Accessibility.com. Over the last several years, he has covered topics dealing with personal and commercial insurance and technology and the law. Rick is General Counsel and Director of Risk Management and sits on the Board of Power Stow Americas Inc., a subsidiary of Power Stow A/S in Denmark, the world leader in the supply of tracked conveyor systems to the airline industry.