cars in the rain in Nashville, TN
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From the scenic highways of the Great Smoky Mountains to the gates of Graceland, Tennessee holds a lifetime of natural and cultural attractions to explore. But before you hit the road for a trip to the store or family vacation, you need to have Tennessee car insurance.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, Tennessee has more than 5.6 million registered vehicles, based on the most recent 2015 statistics. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports that 1,040 people died in 2017 as a result of traffic accidents in the Volunteer State. Between January and early September 2019, 735 people died on Tennessee roads and highways, a 4.9% increase compared to the same period in 2018. So, you can see why you need to protect yourself with car insurance.

When shopping for a Tennessee insurance company, follow a few simple guidelines established by the Insurance Information Institute and National Association of Insurance Commissioners:

  • Before you make an automobile purchase, research insurance rates to find out if you can afford coverage for the make and model you want to buy.
  • Get quotes from several insurance companies to compare prices.
  • Ask insurance agents about discounts that can lower your premium.
  • If you have a homeowners policy, ask your agent if you can get a special rate if you bundle it with an auto policy.
  • Ask agents how your credit history might affect your insurance rate.
  • If you need to insure an older vehicle, consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverages to lower your rate.
  • Ask agents how much you can save by increasing the deductible on a policy.
  • When you decide on a company, ask for details about what your policy covers and its maximum limits.
  • Find out if you must use a provider-approved auto body repair shop following an accident and how a collision might affect your rate.
  • Before purchasing a policy, search the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s database to make sure the insurance company holds a valid license.

Best car insurance companies in Tennessee

Every year, J.D. Power, a market research company, conducts a study of U.S. car insurance companies. Using a five-star rating system, J.D. Power ranks insurance companies regionally based on overall customer satisfaction, policy offerings, pricing, billing process and policy information, customer interaction and claims handling. In its 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, the top car insurance companies in the southeast region include:

  1. Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee
  2. USAA
  3. Erie Insurance
  4. Alfa Insurance
  5. North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance
  6. State Farm

Although USAA came in second in J.D. Power’s survey, the company does not qualify for ranking because it only offers insurance products to military members and their families.

Overall Satisfaction Policy Offerings Price Billing Process/Policy Information Customer Interaction Claims Handling
Farm Bureau TN 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars
USAA 4 stars 5 stars 4 stars 5 stars 4 stars 5 stars
Erie Insurance 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars 5 stars
Alfa Insurance 4 stars 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars
NC Farm Bureau 4 stars 3 stars 4 stars 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars
State Farm 4 stars 4 stars 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars 3 stars

A.M. Best Rating Services rates insurance companies based on their financial strength. The financial strength of an insurance company should play an important role in purchasing a policy, because it is an indicator of a company’s ability to fulfill its claims obligations. A.M. Best rates J.D. Power’s top picks:

The Better Business Bureau helps resolve consumer complaints and rates businesses based on several criteria, including company size, the number of complaints it receives about a business and how well a company resolves complaints. The Bureau rates J.D. Power’s top southeast region car insurance companies:

Finding the right cheap car insurance in Tennessee for you

Tennessee insurance does not come in a one-size-fits-all package. Factors such as age, credit rating and driving record can play a major role in how a Tennessee insurance company might calculate your rate.

The Zebra, a private research organization, conducts studies on the insurance industry and publishes reports that detail the average car insurance rates for different types of drivers. In its nationwide 2019 study, The Zebra found that insurance companies offering the lowest rates for good drivers include:

  • Nationwide – $644 per year
  • Farmers – $677 per year
  • Geico – $709 per year
  • Liberty Mutual – $736 per year
  • Allstate – $786 per year

Teenage drivers often pay higher insurance premiums than most other types of drivers. Based on the national average, teenagers pay an average six-month car insurance premium of:

  • Farmers – $1,222
  • Progressive – $1,277
  • Geico – $1,284
  • Liberty Mutual – $1,327
  • Nationwide – $1,135

A low credit score can cause your car insurance rate to soar. The lower your score, the more you can expect to pay for your premium. Among companies offering the lowest six-month premium rates for drivers with bad credit, The Zebra found:

  • Nationwide – $934
  • USAA – $1,128
  • Geico – $1,130
  • Farmers – $1,180
  • State Farm – $1,512

Insurance companies consider some drivers high risk due to a history of traffic violations such as speeding tickets, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or at-fault accidents. Based on The Zebra’s research, at-fault drivers pay over $600 per year more than policyholders with clean driving records. In its most recent survey, The Zebra found that certain companies charge the lowest six-month premiums to people with at-fault accidents, including:

  • USAA – $498
  • State Farm – $655
  • Geico – $657
  • Nationwide – $675

Average cost car insurance in Tennessee

Based on a 2019 The Zebra study, Tennessee drivers pay an average annual car insurance premium of $1,427, an increase of more than $110 over the previous year. Rising premiums have been a trend for some time. In fact, prices for Tennessee auto insurance increased by more than $330 between 2015 and 2018.

Teen drivers often pay extremely high premiums, but rates typically drop by the time they reach their early 20s. Middle aged drivers usually pay the lowest rates, but their premiums often rise when they reach their golden years. On average, Tennessee drivers pay:

Age Average Annual Premium
16 $7,926
17 $5,945
18 $4,948
19 $3,215
20s $1,793
30s $1,273
40s $1,173
50s $1,109
60s $1,126
70s $1,359

Gender also plays a role in the way insurance companies set rates. In Tennessee, female drivers pay an average annual premium of around $1,275, while males pay $1,300.

Getting married and staying married can make a difference in the amount you pay for car insurance. In Tennessee, drivers pay:

Marital Status Average Annual Premium
Single $1,300
Married $1,219
Divorced $1,300
Widowed $1,282

Some states do not allow insurance companies to consider policyholders’ credit scores when determining rates. However, Tennessee does, so drivers with low credit scores often pay more than twice the insurance rates as people with exceptional credit. Based on credit ratings, Tennessee car insurance costs:

Credit Score Average Annual Rate
Very Poor (300-579) $2,679
Fair (580-669) $2,147
Good (670-739) $1,724
Very Good (740-799) $1,373
Exceptional (800-850) $1,115

It pays to maintain a good driving record. Even one traffic infraction can lead to an unwanted, sometimes painful increase in your car insurance rate. In Tennessee, drivers with traffic violations pay:

Traffic Violation Average Annual Rate
DUI/DWI $1,903
Reckless Driving $1,844
At-Fault Accident, under $1,000 in damage $1,764
At-Fault Accident, $1,000-$2,000 in damage $1,787
Open Container $1,660
Speeding, 21-25 MPH over the speed limit $1,578
Speeding, 16-25 MPH over the speed limit $1,557

Car insurance discounts in Tennessee

Tennessee insurance companies offer a variety of discounts, for everything from driver education to safety equipped automobiles to association membership. Even if you already have a car insurance policy, you may qualify for discounts to reduce your insurance premium.

Erie Insurance offers its policyholders loyalty rewards with:

  • Multi-car discounts, for purchasing Erie policies for two or more automobiles.
  • Multi-policy discounts for car insurance policyholders who purchase an Erie life or home insurance policy.

State Farm policyholders can reduce their car insurance rates with:

  • Defensive driving course discounts for taking an approved defensive driving class.
  • Driver training discounts, available for drivers under the age of 21 who complete an approved driver education course.
  • Good student discounts, for students under the age of 25 who rank in the top 20% of their classes or make the honor roll.

Alfa Insurance rewards policyholders who protect themselves and their vehicles, with:

  • Air bag discounts up to 25%, for policyholders who own suitably equipped vehicles.
  • Anti-theft device discounts up to 10%, for policyholders who own cars with alarm systems.

State minimum insurance requirements in Tennessee

Purchasing auto insurance is not just a good idea, Tennessee law requires you to carry certain minimum amounts of liability coverage. According to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, all registered vehicles must carry at least:

  • $25,000 to pay for medical or death expenses of one person caused in an at-fault accident.
  • $50,000 to pay for medical or death expenses of more than one person caused in a single at-fault accident.
  • $15,000 to pay for property damage in a single at-fault accident.

Tennessee allows exemptions to the minimum insurance requirement for stored or inoperable vehicles.

Frequently asked questions

What is the cheapest car insurance in Tennessee?

Car insurance rates vary according to your age, driving history, the type of car you drive and the number of miles you drive each year. To find the cheapest Tennessee auto insurance, you must shop around to determine which company offers the best rate for you.

What information is needed in order to get car insurance in Tennessee?

When you call a car insurance company for a quote, the agent will need to know your age, where you live, the type of car you own, your average annual mileage and information about your driving record.

Does Tennessee require car owners to purchase no-fault insurance?

Tennessee requires automobile owners to carry certain minimum liability policies but does not require no-fault or uninsured/underinsured coverage.

Can my credit score affect my Tennessee car insurance rate?

Tennessee allows car insurance companies to rate premiums based on a policyholder’s credit score. Drivers with very poor credit scores typically pay substantially higher car insurance rates than people with excellent credit.