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The Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies for Tennessee Drivers in 2020

Even though there are many car insurance companies in the state, when you start searching for cheap auto insurance, a handful of carriers will stand out in the crowd. Looking at the average insurance cost of five familiar car insurance companies provides a good starting point for what your car insurance might cost you. Since these auto insurance quotes are just averages, it’s likely the estimate you receive will vary slightly from what’s listed below.

Company
Amount
1. USAA
In 2020, USAA ranked #1 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance on average.
$602
per year
2. GEICO
In 2020, GEICO ranked #2 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance on average.
$776
per year
3. State Farm
In 2020, State Farm ranked #3 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance on average.
$826
per year
4. Erie
In 2020, Erie ranked #4 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance on average.
$877
per year
5. Progressive
In 2020, Progressive ranked #5 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance on average.
$959
per year

Every person’s car insurance price will vary. Factors like age, driving history, marital status, location and vehicle make and model all play a role in the cost of your insurance. The amount of insurance you need and what’s required of you in your state can play a factor as well.

The Best Car Insurance Companies in Tennessee for 2020

MoneyGeek ranks the best Tennessee car insurance companies based on a unique ranking system. Using reputable data from outlets like J.D. Power and AM Best, MoneyGeek’s system looks at four contributing factors including a company’s financial strength, customer satisfaction, claims rates and affordability. All four factors are weighted evenly and companies are given a score out of 100.

Expand all Rankings +

1

USAAScore: 95
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

5/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A++

Financial Stability

2

ErieScore: 92.5
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

5/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A+

Financial Stability

3

Auto-Owners Insurance CoScore: 90
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A++

Financial Stability

4

ALFAScore: 87.5
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

4/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A

Financial Stability

5

North Carolina Farm BureauScore: 87.5
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

4/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

Affordability

A

Financial Stability

6

GEICOScore: 85
+

3/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

3/5

Affordability

A++

Financial Stability

7

State FarmScore: 82.5
+

4/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

3/5

Affordability

A

Financial Stability

8

NationwideScore: 80
+

3/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

Affordability

A+

Financial Stability

9

TravelersScore: 80
+

2/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

Affordability

A++

Financial Stability

10

MetLifeScore: 80
+

2/5

User Satisfaction

3/5

Claims Ratings

3/5

Affordability

A+

Financial Stability


Market Share by Company

So who’s the largest insurance company in Tennessee? According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioner, StateFarm was the largest insurer in the state in 2019. The following companies also ranked among the top four largest companies.

Company
Market Share
1. State Farm
21.79%
2. Tennessee Farmers
16.40%
3. GEICO
9.31%
4. Progressive
8.60%
5. Allstate
6.15%

Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With a DUI in Tennessee

Insurance premiums are a direct reflection of how risky an insurance company believes you are. Getting in trouble with the law, especially while behind the wheel and under the influence, is a big red flag for insurance companies and always results in substantial rate increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Tennessee, the state’s DUI arrest rate is 290.3 per 100,000 people, with a fatality rate of 3.7 for every 100,000 people as a result of alcohol-related driving. Even first offenders can get up to 11 months in jail, $1,500 in fines and a suspended license for up to a year. The table below shows approximate auto insurance costs for drivers with a DUI in Tennessee.

Company
Amount
1. State Farm
In 2020, State Farm ranked #1 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with a DUI.
$902
per year
2. Progressive
In 2020, Progressive ranked #2 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with a DUI.
$1,048
per year
3. USAA
In 2020, USAA ranked #3 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with a DUI.
$1,107
per year
4. Erie
In 2020, Erie ranked #4 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with a DUI.
$1,335
per year
5. GEICO
In 2020, GEICO ranked #5 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with a DUI.
$1,382
per year

In Tennessee, a DUI could affect your insurance premiums for up to ten years. Once you’ve received a DUI you’re considered a “high-risk” driver, but keeping a clean driving record can help you get lower insurance premiums as time goes on. It’s a good idea to research the real costs of a DUI and how to avoid getting one so you know the best plan of action should you find yourself in an unfavorable situation.

Cheapest Car Insurance for TN Speeding or Distracted Driving Tickets

Unfortunately, Tennessee continues to see a rise in accidents as a result of distracted driving. According to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, in 2017, there were 24,700 crashes in the state that were related to distracted driving. Receiving a speeding ticket or distracted driving ticket can add anywhere from three to eight demerit points to your license. The more points you have the higher your insurance premiums will be. If you have a ticket on your record, you can expect to pay the following insurance rate estimates.

Company
Amount
1. USAA
In 2020, USAA ranked #1 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for distracted drivers.
$713
per year
2. GEICO
In 2020, GEICO ranked #2 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for distracted drivers.
$888
per year
3. State Farm
In 2020, State Farm ranked #3 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for distracted drivers.
$902
per year
4. Erie
In 2020, Erie ranked #4 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for distracted drivers.
$905
per year
5. Tennessee Farmers
In 2020, Tennessee Farmers ranked #5 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for distracted drivers.
$1,033
per year

We all make mistakes and getting a ticket is not usually the end of the world. The demerit points you receive from a speeding ticket can be removed from your record by taking an online driving class. The key to not having your tickets affect your insurance for a long period of time is to try and avoid getting multiple tickets. The more tickets you receive the more your rates will increase and it will be hard to find affordable car insurance.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in TN for Drivers With Bad Credit

Although Tennessee’s average FICO score is 690, that falls just below the national average of 703. A poor credit score can lead to much higher premiums. Insurers have found a link between people with poor credit and the number of claims that are filed. Ultimately, those with poor credit are more likely to file claims and so insurance companies make up for the risks by increasing the price of premiums. The table below provides some examples of the cost of insurance for those who have a low credit score.

Company
Amount
1. USAA
In 2020, USAA ranked #1 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with poor credit.
$995
per year
2. GEICO
In 2020, GEICO ranked #2 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with poor credit.
$1,160
per year
3. Tennessee Farmers
In 2020, Tennessee Farmers ranked #3 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with poor credit.
$1,194
per year
4. State Farm
In 2020, State Farm ranked #4 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with poor credit.
$1,563
per year
5. Nationwide
In 2020, Nationwide ranked #5 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for drivers with poor credit.
$1,568
per year

A credit score is only one factor that companies take into consideration so rates will vary for drivers with bad credit. Fortunately, it’s possible to raise your credit score so if you’re feeling less than stellar you can always work to increase your score and apply for a cheaper rate.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Tennessee for Seniors

If you’re looking for cheap car insurance in Tennessee for seniors, there are a couple of factors you’ll want to keep in mind. While the state has no additional requirements for senior drivers outside of renewing their license every five years, driving can be negatively affected by the natural changes that come with aging.

Due to those changes, insurance companies pay close attention to senior drivers. A few average monthly costs for seniors are highlighted in the below table.

Company
Amount
1. USAA
In 2020, USAA ranked #1 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for seniors.
$633
per year
2. State Farm
In 2020, State Farm ranked #2 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for seniors.
$805
per year
3. GEICO
In 2020, GEICO ranked #3 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for seniors.
$861
per year
4. Erie
In 2020, Erie ranked #4 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for seniors.
$903
per year
5. Tennessee Farmers
In 2020, Tennessee Farmers ranked #5 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for seniors.
$973
per year

Like all factors that affect insurance rates for seniors, everyone is different so seniors can expect different rates based on their age, driving history, health and the type of vehicle they drive.

Cheapest Car Insurance for Students

Tennessee Car Insurance: How Much a Teen Driver Will Cost You

Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:

$2,241 INCREASE

This is a difference of 173%.

Teen drivers in Tennessee do not need their own insurance until they are driving on their own. Once it’s time to insure your teen, there’s a good chance your rates will increase. According to the CDC, motor crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, which directly leads to higher rates.

The good news is there are a few ways to find cheap car insurance for teenagers in Tennessee by opting for a sedan with enhanced crash protection over an SUV or sports car and by adding your child to your policy. Some companies also offer discounts to good students or those who take a defensive driving course.

If your student is heading off to college there’s a chance your insurance carrier will offer a discount to students who maintain good grades. At the end of the day, teens and student drivers lack the experience to be great drivers on the road, so teaching your teen good driving habits and ensuring they maintain a good driving record can lower rates over time.

The following table shows estimates of what Tennessee parents can expect to pay when adding a young driver to their policy.

Company
Amount
1. Progressive
In 2020, Progressive ranked #1 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for students.
$1,715
per year
2. GEICO
In 2020, GEICO ranked #2 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for students.
$1,812
per year
3. State Farm
In 2020, State Farm ranked #3 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for students.
$2,311
per year
4. Allstate
In 2020, Allstate ranked #4 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for students.
$2,614
per year
5. Nationwide
In 2020, Nationwide ranked #5 in Tennessee for the cheapest car insurance for students.
$3,198
per year


Premium Comparison by Student Type

PREMIUM COMPARISON FOR TWO ADULTS + 16-YEAR-OLD

car
Average premium for two 2014

Mustang GTs

$5,111
car
Average premium for two 2008

Town and Country Limiteds

$3,019
Annual benefits of minivans:$2,092 saved

This is 41% less expensive.

Cheaper premium for college vs. high school drivers

Median premium change with a college student vs. high school driver:

$898 DECREASE

This is a savings of 24%.

Potential discounts for teens in Tennessee

Impact on annual premium with good student and defensive driving discounts:

coins
$249 SAVED

Tennessee students: a long-distance discount

You may pay a smaller annual family premium if your child lives 150 miles or more away from home.

male
Average premium for a 19-year-old male
car

$3,248 at home

graduation

$2,957 at school

$291 IN SAVINGS

female
Average premium for a 19-year-old female
car

$2,759 at home

graduation

$2,566 at school

$193 IN SAVINGS

Insurance Rate Information for Military Drivers and Veterans

Many auto insurance companies in Tennessee will offer military discounts to active-duty personnel and retired veterans. The state is home to hundreds of thousands of active-duty personnel and retired veterans. Rates will vary, so shopping around for quotes is a good idea.

If you know you will be deploying you can work with your insurance company to temporarily suspend your insurance and pause payments. Military drivers and veterans in Tennessee can register their vehicles at their county clerk’s office. If you’re living out of state, you can mail your registration to any county clerk’s office and some counties will allow you to renew registration online. Below is a sample of insurance costs for active and retired military members in Tennessee.

Age savings for Tennessee service members

male
25 years$1,359
50 years$1,040
female
25 years$1,268
50 years$1,018

$319 Saved
$250 Saved

Median auto insurance for service members: $1,115

Who Needs Car Insurance in Tennessee?

If you’re operating a vehicle in Tennessee then you need insurance. As of 2017, the state started charging drivers who are uninsured and revoking driving privileges as part of the James Lee Atwood Jr. Law. The only time you don’t need to insure a vehicle is if it is inoperable or no longer belongs to you.

Proof of Insurance in Tennessee

In Tennessee, you have to provide proof of insurance in the following situations:

  • If a police officer asks for it
  • If you're in a car accident that causes injury, death or more than $400 in property damages

An ID card is the most common proof of insurance, but drivers can also carry an insurance binder or policy declaration page. All of these documents are available through the insurance company covering the vehicle.

Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in Tennessee

If you live and drive in Tennessee, you're required to carry liability auto insurance in at least these amounts, according to the state DMV:

  • $25,000 for one injury or death per accident
  • $50,000 for all injuries and deaths per accident
  • $15,000 for property damage per accident

Alternatives to Insurance in Tennessee

Instead of buying auto insurance, Tennessee residents can post a $60,000 secure bond with the DMV for each automobile. However, if an accident costs more than that, you'll be liable for the extra costs.

Car Insurance Requirements in TN: How Much Coverage Do You Need?

What percentage of drivers in Tennessee lack vehicle insurance?

20.1%

National average: 12.6%

Source:

Insurance Information Institute.

While each state has its minimum requirements for car insurance, oftentimes these amounts will not fully cover you in an accident, especially if it involves another person. The general recommendation for insurance coverage is $100,000 per injury or death and $300,000 for total injuries or deaths, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Additional car insurance policies that are worth considering include uninsured motorist coverage, collision insurance or a comprehensive policy. Each of these policies can protect you in different ways which you can learn about in MoneyGeek’s guide to car insurance.


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Sources