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Tennessee is only the 36th largest state in the nation by area, occupying 41,235 square miles, but it’s one of the more densely populated states. According to the most current U.S. Census, Tennessee is home to 6.8 million people, and this means there are 154 residents per square mile. Tennessee ranks 20th nationwide in population density. 

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There are 4.7 million licensed drivers in Tennessee, and there are about 2.3 million registered vehicles on the roads. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports that there were 208,471 traffic crashes in the state in 2018. Car insurance can help shield your assets if you’re involved in a crash. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at Tennessee’s laws as they relate to car insurance. We’ll also offer guidance that will help you find the Tennessee insurance providers offering the lowest rates. 

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Tennessee

The rates shown here are based on a study performed by Quadrant Information services on behalf of U.S. News. The study examined rates from nine largest car insurance companies in the United States, using certain driver profiles. Your rates will differ.

How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance in Tennessee

At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our ranking in other fields, like healthcare, government, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Cheapest Car Insurance Rankings.

Our Study Rates

For this study, U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations of certain driver archetypes. 

To get the state-wide study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers ages 25, 35 and 60 who drive 12,000 miles per year, have medium coverage, good credit and a clean driving record. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Tennessee?

See the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

Based on the results of our research, Tennessee’s average representative car insurance rates are lower than the national average. Our study found that nationwide, average annual representative rates from the country’s top nine insurers range from a low of $895 to a high of $1,778. The average annual representative car insurance rate across the nation stands at $1,323. In Tennessee, representative rates from the nine insurers that took part in our research range from $837 to $1,586. Our study reveals that the average representative rate for Tennessee car insurance is $1,150. 

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The rates discussed in this article are representative averages. This means that they may not reflect the actual amount you can expect to pay when you sign up for car insurance in Tennessee. Your actual car insurance rates will depend on a host of factors that are unique to your driving history and your background. These include things such as your age and marital status, as well as the number of accidents and moving violations on your driving record.

Tennessee Car Insurance Rates by Age

We wanted to learn more about how age affects car insurance in Tennessee. Our study used representative driver profiles with medium insurance coverage and a clean driving record. Your credit history can impact car insurance rates, and our study used driver profiles with good credit. Our profiles included male and female drivers that log 12,000 miles annually, and the vehicles used in our study are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

The profile of a 25-year-old male Tennessee driver in our study has an average representative car insurance rate of $1,405. For a female driver profile of the same age, the representative rate drops to $1,306. 

These representative rates get lower as our driver profiles get older. The profile of a 35-year-old male Tennessee driver has an average representative car insurance rate of $1,108, while the rate for a female driver profile in the same age group comes in at $1,110. 

The lowest representative rates in our study go to the 60-year-old driver profiles. A male profile in this age group pays a representative car insurance rate of $1,002. For a female driver profile in this age group, the average representative rate is $968.

Company

25-year-old male

25-year-old female

35-year-old male

35-year-old female

60-year-old male

60-year-old female

Allstate

$1,747.82

$1,694.67

$1,537.13

$1,594.30

$1,497.39

$1,446.15

Farmers

$1,605.37

$1,486.64

$1,035.13

$1,012.13

$968.10

$857.33

Geico

$1,000.72

$970.72

$917.99

$899.78

$812.63

$812.63

Nationwide

$1,918.46

$1,747.71

$1,496.79

$1,480.59

$1,321.07

$1,300.48

Progressive

$1,508.88

$1,371.46

$1,032.52

$1,106.95

$910.83

$863.92

State Farm

$1,310.74

$1,132.13

$1,013.73

$1,013.73

$929.65

$929.65

Travelers

$1,105.42

$1,055.08

$1,041.53

$994.31

$868.60

$822.54

USAA

$1,045.78

$986.32

$790.86

$777.36

$710.48

$709.20

Tennessee Car Insurance Rates by Credit Score

Poor credit can hurt your car insurance rates. We were interested in learning more about the impact that credit score can have on a driver’s annual car insurance premiums. To figure this out, our study used driver profiles in three categories: good credit, fair credit, and poor credit. Our profiles consisted of male and female drivers who are 25, 35, and 60 years old. Each profile drove 12,000 miles each year and had medium insurance coverage, as well as a clean driving record. The vehicles used in our study are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

A driver profile with poor credit can expect to pay an average representative rate of $2,096 per year for Tennessee car insurance. That’s about $600 more than our driver profile with fair credit. For a driver profile with good credit, the average representative rate for car insurance stands at $1,150. The representative rate for these driver profiles is about $950 less expensive than the rate for driver profiles with poor credit.

Company

Good

Fair

Poor

Allstate

$1,586.24

$2,032.78

$2,632.31

Farmers

$1,160.78

$1,339.53

$2,255.00

Geico

$902.41

$1,033.09

$1,716.87

Nationwide

$1,544.18

$1,728.12

$2,153.78

Progressive

$1,132.43

$1,412.37

$2,025.37

State Farm

$1,054.94

$1,354.54

$2,249.13

Travelers

$981.25

$1,395.29

$1,951.50

USAA

$836.67

$1,006.05

$1,785.39

Tennessee Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record

Many people realize that their driving record can have a potent effect on their car insurance rates. Things like accidents and speeding tickets can cause your rates to rise. 

We took a look at the impact that driving record can have on Tennessee car insurance. Our study used male and female driver profiles aged 25, 35, and 60 with good credit and medium insurance coverage. Our driver profiles accrued 12,000 miles of annual mileage, and the vehicles used in our study are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

According to our study, the average representative rate for a profile with a clean driving record in Tennessee is $1,150. For a driver profile with one speeding ticket, the representative car insurance rate rises by roughly $200. A driver profile with one accident pays about $400 more than a profile with a clean record. A Tennessee driver profile with a DUI pays an average representative rate of $1,941, which is about $800 more than a profile with an unblemished record.

Company

Clean record

With 1 speeding violation

With 1 accident

With 1 DUI

Allstate

$1,586.24

$1,780.71

$2,103.14

$2,181.08

Farmers

$1,160.78

$1,443.88

$1,583.08

$1,646.84

Geico

$902.41

$902.41

$1,556.54

$3,338.26

Nationwide

$1,544.18

$1,833.42

$1,544.19

$2,873.27

Progressive

$1,132.43

$1,498.93

$1,839.57

$1,265.87

State Farm

$1,054.94

$1,151.20

$1,247.48

$1,151.20

Travelers

$981.25

$1,306.17

$1,357.29

$1,480.29

USAA

$836.67

$996.66

$1,193.33

$1,589.58

Tennessee Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type

Most states have minimum insurance coverage requirements. However, many drivers choose to exceed these minimums to ensure that they have enough insurance to protect their assets. To figure out what impact coverage type has on rates, we looked at profiles with three levels of coverage: low, medium, and high. Our study focused on male and female driver profiles aged 25, 35, and 60 who drive 12,000 miles annually and have good credit. Our profiles have clean driving records, and we used the following vehicles in our study: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

In Tennessee, the average representative rate for a profile with low car insurance coverage is $1,107. Our study shows that for a driver profile with medium coverage, the average rate in our analysis rises by about $40. Tennessee driver profiles with high coverage can expect to pay an average representative rate that’s about $100 higher than that of a driver profile with low coverage. 

You might find yourself having to pay more out of pocket if you have an accident while driving with minimum coverage rates. The difference in cost between low and high coverage among driver profiles in Tennessee is relatively small. For this reason, it’s advisable to give some consideration to purchasing coverage that exceeds the state minimum. This type of coverage will do a better job of protecting your assets in a crash, while requiring just an incremental increase in annual premium cost.

Company

Low

Medium

High

Allstate

$1,533.88

$1,586.24

$1,654.14

Farmers

$1,109.85

$1,160.78

$1,224.90

Geico

$853.69

$902.41

$959.03

Nationwide

$1,573.61

$1,544.18

$1,614.39

Progressive

$1,063.65

$1,132.43

$1,202.74

State Farm

$985.17

$1,054.94

$1,115.06

Travelers

$928.56

$981.25

$1,039.57

USAA

$810.01

$836.67

$872.25

Tennessee Car Insurance Rates by Annual Mileage

Your annual mileage will impact your car insurance rates, and it’s easy to see why. All other things being equal, a person who rarely drives is less likely to have a car crash than someone who is frequently behind the wheel, since an infrequent driver spends less time on the road. 

To understand the relationship between annual mileage and car insurance rates, we looked at two driver profiles. The first drives 6,000 miles annually, and the second puts 12,000 miles on the odometer each year. Our study used male and female driver profiles aged 25, 35, and 60 with medium insurance coverage, a clean driving record and good credit. The vehicles used in our study are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Our study reveals that a profile that drives 6,000 miles annually can expect to pay an average representative rate of $1,117 in Tennessee. For a Tennessee driver profile that logs 12,000 miles each year on the odometer, the average rate rises to $1,150. 

Company

6,000 miles annually

12,000 miles annually

Allstate

$1,586.25

$1,586.24

Farmers

$1,160.78

$1,160.78

Geico

$867.20

$902.41

Nationwide

$1,544.19

$1,544.18

Progressive

$1,132.43

$1,132.43

State Farm

$954.50

$1,054.94

Travelers

$915.10

$981.25

USAA

$778.81

$836.67

Tennessee Car Insurance Rates by City

Within each state, insurance rates can vary dramatically from city to city. To get a sense of how these differences affect Tennessee car insurance premiums, we looked at average representative rates across 10 of Tennessee’s top cities. In our study, we used male and female driver profiles aged 25, 35, and 60 who put 12,000 miles on the odometer each year. Our profiles have medium insurance coverage, a clean driving record, and good credit. We included three vehicles in our study: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Among these large Tennessee cities, Memphis has the highest average representative rate in our study: $1,472. Nashville is in second place, with a representative car insurance rate of $1,158. Jackson comes in third, with a representative rate of $1,180. Johnson City has the lowest representative rate of the cities we examined. In that town, the average representative rate for car insurance stands at $1,006. 

Keep in mind that there is no single factor that determines what insurance rates will look like in a town or city. Rates can be influenced by population density and crime levels. Rates may also be impacted by a city’s accident statistics. 

City

Average Rate

Nashville

$1,157.92

Memphis

$1,472.32

Knoxville

$1,145.67

Chattanooga

$1,107.75

Clarksville

$1,105.41

Murfreesboro

$1,125.75

Franklin

$1,080.07

Johnson City

$1,006.36

Jackson

$1,180.16

Hendersonville

$1,091.58

Tennessee Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements

As is the case with most states in the nation, Tennessee has minimum car insurance coverage requirements. By law, drivers in this state must carry a certain amount of liability insurance. These are the minimum required insurance limits in Tennessee:

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident

  • Property damage liability: $15,000 per accident

If you’re at fault in an accident that causes injury to others, bodily injury liability insurance will cover their medical costs up to the limits of your policy. However, this type of insurance won’t cover your personal medical costs in this type of accident. 

What if you cause an accident that damages another person’s vehicle or property? In this type of crash, property damage liability insurance will pay for repair costs associated with the damaged vehicle or property, up to the limits of your policy. 

Tennessee is governed by a Financial Responsibility Law that gives drivers an alternative to traditional liability insurance. This law requires all drivers to have proof of their ability to cover financial losses if they cause a car crash. This can take the form of a cash deposit or bond posted with Tennessee’s Department of Safety. This deposit or bond should cover property damage liability for a single accident and bodily injury liability for at least two people, at the same minimum limits required for car insurance. This means you’ll need to post a deposit or bond of at least $65,000. 

Cheapest Car Insurance in Tennessee

Note: Due to USAA's limited membership, we excluded them from this segment evaluation.

Category

Cheapest Company

Drivers with a Military Affiliation

USAA

Single Young Adult Drivers

Geico

Married Adult Drivers

Geico

Senior Drivers

Geico

Drivers with Good Credit

Geico

Drivers with Poor Credit

Geico

Drivers with a Clean Record

Geico

Drivers with One Speeding Violation

Geico

Drivers with One Accident

State Farm

Drivers with One DUI

State Farm

Low-mileage Drivers

Geico

High-mileage Drivers

Geico

Drivers with Low Coverage

Geico

Drivers with High Coverage

Geico

Drivers with Used Cars

Geico

Drivers with New Cars

Geico

So, which Tennessee car insurance companies offer the lowest rates? To find out, our study used representative driver profiles that put 12,000 miles on the odometer each year. Our profiles have a clean driving record, along with good credit and medium insurance coverage. Male and female drivers who are 25, 35, and 60 years old are included in our profiles. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are used in our study.

Our study reveals that the cheapest type of car insurance in Tennessee is low coverage. USAA distinguishes itself as the least expensive company for low-coverage insurance, with an average representative rate of $810. Geico is in second place, with an average representative rate of $854. Travelers rounds out the top three, with an average representative rate of $929. 

Keep in mind that to be eligible for the best rates, you’ll need to have a clean driving record and good credit. 

Certain affiliations may qualify you for lower rates. Our study shows that the USAA is the cheapest company for driver profiles with a military affiliation. Geico is the most affordable company for driver profiles who are seniors, single young adults, or married adults. State Farm offers the lowest rates for driver profiles with a single accident or DUI. 

Why Car Insurance Rates Vary in Tennessee

When it comes to car insurance rates, statistics play an all-important role. Statistically speaking, drivers who have had prior accidents or speeding tickets have a higher risk of experiencing a crash, so these drivers tend to pay steeper rates. This is true not just in Tennessee, but across all states. 

Statistics also show that a driver’s age, driving experience and financial history can be predictive when it comes to the likelihood of suffering a crash. That’s why older drivers with good credit scores tend to pay the lowest insurance premiums. 

Among big Tennessee cities like Nashville, Memphis, and Chattanooga, insurance rates can vary significantly. The rates in these cities may be dependent on factors such as population density and vehicle theft rates. 

How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in Tennessee

If you want to optimize your car insurance rates, the best thing you can do is to shop around. Rates can vary significantly from one company to the next. Compare rates from several insurance providers before making a final commitment. 

It’s also wise to check to see if you qualify for money-saving discounts. Some insurance companies offer affiliation discounts for those who work in certain industries. If you have a military background, or if you work as a lawyer, doctor, scientist, firefighter, or police officer, you may be eligible for discounts with certain insurance companies. Drivers who are willing to have their driving habits tracked by a device installed in their car may receive a discount, too.

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Another way to qualify for discounts is by bundling your insurance policies. For example, if you have home insurance, you may be able to save money by getting your car insurance from the same provider. Some providers will give you a lower rate if you purchase coverage for more than one vehicle. 

Take a proactive approach when searching for discounts. Insurance providers won’t always volunteer which discounts are offered, so it’s important to ask. 

Your driving record plays a huge role in your car insurance rate. Maintaining a clean driving record is one of the most effective ways of keeping your premiums low. 

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Important Laws Around Auto Insurance in Tennessee

Across most states, there are two types of car insurance liability laws: at-fault (also known as tort liability) and no-fault. These laws differ when it comes to a victim’s right to sue. At-fault and no-fault insurance liability laws also differ when it comes to who is assigned responsibility for covering the injured party’s damages. 

In states with at-fault insurance laws, the insurance company of the person who caused the crash is responsible for paying for injuries related to the accident. At-fault insurance doesn’t place any restrictions on a victim’s right to sue. If you’ve caused an accident, the injured party may sue you for pain and suffering, as well as medical costs. 

No-fault insurance laws require all drivers to purchase a personal injury protection policy. If an accident occurs, all injured parties have to file claims with their own insurance providers, regardless of who caused the accident. Also, no-fault insurance takes a more restrictive approach to a victim’s right to sue. With no-fault laws, an injured person can sue for severe injuries and pain and suffering only if their injuries meet a certain threshold. 

Tennessee is an at-fault state. Since at-fault insurance liability laws make it easy for a victim to sue you if you’ve caused an accident, it’s a good idea for Tennessee drivers to get coverage that exceeds state minimums. This will protect their assets in the event of a lawsuit.

In states that require insurance, the police expect you to be able to provide proof of this coverage when you’re behind the wheel. One way of doing this is by keeping an insurance card in your car’s glove box. Many states have enacted laws that allow you to substitute a physical insurance card with digital one. Tennessee has laws in place that allow you to use digital insurance cards. 

Tennessee Driving Laws and Punishments

Under Tennessee law, texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers. A new law that came into effect on July 1, 2019, prohibits all drivers from using a hand-held cell phone while driving. 

In Tennessee, a vehicle’s driver and front-seat passenger are required to wear seatbelts if they’re 16 or older. A seatbelt is required for children between the ages of nine and 16, regardless of where they're sitting. If the vehicle has a rear seat, kids who are nine and younger must be seated in the second row. A booster seat is required for kids who are between four and nine years old, and those who are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall. For children between the ages of one and four who weigh more than 20 pounds, a child seat is required. Kids who weigh less than 20 pounds, and those who are younger than a year old, must be properly restrained in a rear-facing car seat. Tennessee law prohibits those younger than 12 years old from riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck. 

As far as alcohol-related DUI offenses are concerned, most states have set a blood alcohol limit of 0.08%, and this is the legal limit in Tennessee. As with all other states and the District of Columbia, the legal drinking age in Tennessee is 21.

Tennessee is like other U.S. states in that its chemical test law has an implied consent provision. This means that if you’re operating a vehicle on a public street and you’re suspected of driving under the influence, the law requires you to consent to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol level. If you fail the test or refuse to take it, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. 

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For your first DUI conviction, you could face jail time in Tennessee that lasts anywhere from 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days. Those who tested positive for a blood alcohol level of 0.2% or more face jail time of at least seven days. First offenders must pay fines that range from $350 to $1,500. They may also have their driver’s licenses suspended for a year. 

For a third DUI offense, there is a minimum jail sentence of 120 days. Fines can climb as high as $10,000, and your license may be suspended for six years. 

The judge may issue a temporary restricted license if your driver’s license has been suspended due to a DUI. This allows you to drive for work, school, or treatment purposes. In this situation, you may be required to use an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This device works like a breathalyzer, and it tests your blood alcohol level before you start the car. If your level exceeds the legal limit, it temporarily locks the car’s ignition. 

In Tennessee, drivers aren’t required to get uninsured motorist insurance coverage. 

Tennessee Car Insurance FAQs

Is car insurance required in Tennessee?

Yes, car insurance is required in Tennessee. This can take the form of bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. You may also post a cash deposit or bond in the amount of $65,000 with the Tennessee Department of Safety. 

Tennessee drivers are required to have proof of insurance when they’re behind the wheel, and this can take the form of a physical insurance card or a digital one. 

Which cars are required to be insured in Tennessee?

Any vehicle that is registered to be driven in Tennessee needs to be insured. 

When should I get car insurance in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, you don’t need to show proof of insurance to register a vehicle. However, you need to have insurance in place before you take your car on the road, since driving without proper coverage could subject you to fines or a suspension of your driver’s license.

What happens if my car is not properly insured in Tennessee?

It’s a Class C misdemeanor to drive without car insurance in Tennessee. If you’re convicted of this crime, your driver’s license could be suspended, and you could be slapped with fines. You may also be blocked from renewing your vehicle registration in the future. 

Is Tennessee a no-fault state?

No, Tennessee is an at-fault state. This means that your insurance company will be responsible for covering the medical and repair bills of all injured parties if you’ve caused a crash. 

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in Tennessee?

No, uninsured motorist coverage isn’t required in Tennessee. 

Is liability insurance required in Tennessee?

Yes, liability insurance is required in Tennessee if you choose to get a traditional insurance policy. For bodily injury liability, the minimum coverage required is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. For property damage liability, drivers are required to have coverage of at least $15,000 per accident.

Tennessee’s Financial Responsibility Law allows you to forego a traditional insurance policy and replace it with a cash deposit or bond posted to the state’s Department of Safety. This deposit or bond must have a value of at least $65,000. 

Does Tennessee accept digital insurance cards?

Yes, in Tennessee you can use digital insurance cards to provide proof of insurance.