The Best Cheap Car Insurance in Tennessee for 2021

Auto insurance costs differ from one company to another depending on personalized factors such as location, age and driving record. MoneyGeek ranked companies that provide the cheapest car insurance in Tennessee based on cost, customer satisfaction and more. If you wish to insure your car or simply want to compare different rates, MoneyGeek’s ranking can help you find the best policy for your needs. Comparing car insurance costs from some of the best companies in Tennessee could help you save up to $689.

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In an at-fault accident, liability-only coverage covers third-party costs and not your own. This type of coverage is the cheapest insurance in Tennessee and only meets the minimum coverage requirements in the state.

The cheapest car insurance companies in Tennessee for minimum coverage are:

  • USAA: $324 per year (only serves veterans and current military members)
  • GEICO: $369 per year

MetLife is the costliest provider of minimum coverage, with average rates of $686 per year.

Average Cost for Minimun Liability Coverage
  • Company
    Annually
    Monthly
  • 1.
    $324
    $27
  • 2.
    $369
    $31
  • 3.
    $389
    $32
  • 4.
    Tennessee Farmers
    $395
    $33
  • 5.
    $427
    $36
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Please keep in mind that prices are only averages and should serve as a guide for comparing rates between carriers.

These prices are only estimates based on rates for an average Tennessee driver and should not be used to compare insurance prices.

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A minimum coverage policy in Tennessee only covers bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. Drivers looking for protection against the cost of damages to their own car or who want to boost the amount of liability coverage should purchase a full coverage policy.

A full coverage policy with comprehensive and collision insurance and higher liability limits can shield you against most road and off-road accidents in Tennessee. It costs more than minimum liability insurance, but it also covers your car. To reduce your premiums, compare car insurance quotes from multiple providers.

The least expensive car insurers in Tennessee for full coverage are:

  • USAA: $602 per year (only serves veterans and current military members)
  • GEICO: $776 per year

The most expensive car insurance for full coverage is Farmers, costing $1,291 per year on average.

Average Comprehensive and Collision Rates in Tennessee

Please note that your individual costs will vary from these examples. Rates are for a policy with comprehensive and collision insurance with $100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, $300,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident and $100,000 in property damage coverage per accident.

The Best Car Insurance Companies in Tennessee for 2021

Based on MoneyGeek’s study, the best car insurance companies in Tennessee for most drivers are:

  • Best Overall: Erie
  • Runner-up: Auto-owners

USAA received the highest score in Tennessee by MoneyGeek's rating system. However, because USAA is only available to military members, veterans and their families, it is not listed as best overall.

MoneyGeek determined the best car insurance companies in Tennessee by combining J.D. Power’s auto insurance study scores with AM Best’s financial strength scores. MoneyGeek also used affordability data to establish the most affordable insurance in Tennessee.

MoneyGeek weighed these factors equally to come up with overall car insurance company ratings out of 100. By using these rankings, you can identify the companies with the lowest typical costs in Tennessee.


1
USAA
Score:95

4/5

Affordability

5/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

User Satisfaction

A++

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

USAA is one of the best car insurance companies, balancing customer service, affordability, claims performance and financial stability. It’s only available to drivers who are veterans or current military members.

More About USAA

USAA ranks consistently as one of the best and cheapest insurance companies in the United States. It’s the cheapest insurer in Tennessee as well. It offers a discount to active military members who garage their vehicles on base. If your parents are also USAA customers, you can qualify for a rebate since this provider rewards loyalty.

Read MoneyGeek's USAA auto Insurance Review
2
Erie
Score:93

4/5

Affordability

5/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

User Satisfaction

A+

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

Erie gets the second spot in MoneyGeek’s Tennessee ranking of best insurers. This provider gets high marks for claims ratings, affordability, customer satisfaction and financial stability.

More About Erie

Erie policies include coverage for damages to items inside your car. Its optional Rate Lock feature guarantees your rates will stay the same each year if you don't alter your policy. You can qualify for automatic accident forgiveness after you've been a customer for three years. Erie also offers a diminishing deductible which reduces your deductible by $100 every year if you don't file a claim.

Read MoneyGeek's Erie auto Insurance Review
3
Auto-Owners Insurance Co
Score:90

4/5

Affordability

3/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

User Satisfaction

A++

Financial Stability

4
GEICO
Score:85

3/5

Affordability

3/5

Claims Ratings

3/5

User Satisfaction

A++

Financial Stability

5
State Farm
Score:83

3/5

Affordability

3/5

Claims Ratings

4/5

User Satisfaction

A

Financial Stability

6
Nationwide
Score:80

2/5

Affordability

3/5

Claims Ratings

3/5

User Satisfaction

A+

Financial Stability

7
Travelers
Score:80

2/5

Affordability

3/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

User Satisfaction

A++

Financial Stability

8
MetLife
Score:80

3/5

Affordability

3/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

User Satisfaction

A+

Financial Stability

9
Safeco
Score:78

3/5

Affordability

2/5

Claims Ratings

3/5

User Satisfaction

A

Financial Stability

10
Progressive
Score:78

3/5

Affordability

2/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

User Satisfaction

A+

Financial Stability

11
Allstate
Score:75

2/5

Affordability

2/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

User Satisfaction

A+

Financial Stability

12
Liberty Mutual
Score:75

2/5

Affordability

3/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

User Satisfaction

A

Financial Stability

13
National General
Score:73

3/5

Affordability

2/5

Claims Ratings

2/5

User Satisfaction

A-

Financial Stability

While USAA scores highly in many areas, this provider is only available to military members, veterans and their families.

List of the Largest Insurance Companies in Tennessee

According to market share, the three biggest insurance companies in Tennessee are State Farm, Tennessee Farmers and GEICO. Market share is computed by the number of premiums an insurance company writes divided by the total number of premiums written in the state. A large insurance provider offers more security to policyholders and can pay out legitimate claims but isn’t necessarily the best option for every driver.

How to Compare Cheap Tennessee Car Insurance Quotes Online

You can get a reasonably accurate quote using the online quote tool provided by most insurers in Tennessee.

  • When comparing quotes, use consistent limits. For example, if you get a quote with one carrier for $50,000 in bodily liability insurance per accident, you should use the same number when comparing costs with other providers.

  • Input your ZIP code below to compare rates or use MoneyGeek’s price data as a guide to find suitable company websites to review.

  • The three cheapest companies for liability coverage in Tennessee are USAA, GEICO and State Farm. You can begin your research by getting rates from these insurers.

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What Is the Average Cost of Car Insurance in Tennessee?

Auto insurance costs vary depending on several personalized factors. MoneyGeek calculated the average rates for a 40-year-old male driving a Toyota Camry with no accident history. Your specific quotes may vary based on your location, credit score, age and more.

  • Average Driver: $1,018
  • DUI: $1,637
  • Speeding Ticket: $1,233
  • Poor Credit Score: $1,885
  • Seniors: $1,055
  • Students: $2,367

A severe driving offense in Tennessee, like a DUI, can raise your car insurance costs. A Tennessee driver with a recorded DUI needs to pay $1,637 per year on average for their auto insurance coverage compared to $1,018 for the average driver with a clean record.

The cheapest car insurance companies in Tennessee for a driver with a DUI and full coverage are:

  • State Farm: $902 per year
  • Progressive: $1,048 per year

In comparison, USAA and Geico offer the cheapest insurance for drivers with a clean record in Tennessee.

Average Car Insurance Rates With a DUI

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), 2,663 people in Tennessee died in alcohol-related crashes between 2009 and 2018. 1.4% of Tennessee drivers admit to driving after drinking too much in the previous 30 days.

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.

Even a minor offense like a ticket can increase your auto insurance prices. In Tennessee, a driver with a speeding ticket is charged an average annual rate of $1,233 for their car insurance coverage compared to $1,018 for the average driver with a spotless record.

The most affordable car insurance providers in Tennessee for a driver with a speeding ticket and full coverage are:

  • USAA: $713 per year (only serves veterans and current military members)
  • GEICO: $888 per year

These two insurers also offer the cheapest full coverage for drivers with a clean record.

Average Car Insurance Rates With a Ticket

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.

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.

Drivers with low credit scores in Tennessee tend to be charged higher rates than those with good scores. A Tennessee driver with a bad credit score shells out an average annual cost of $1,885 for car insurance compared to $1,018 for the average driver with healthy credit.

The least expensive carriers in Tennessee for a driver with poor credit and full coverage are:

  • USAA: $995 per year (only serves veterans and current military members)
  • GEICO: $1,160 per year

These two companies also provide the cheapest full coverage for the average driver with good credit.

Average Car Insurance Rates 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.

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.

Senior drivers are generally charged slightly higher insurance rates. In Tennessee, a senior driver needs to pay $1,055 per year on average for their auto insurance coverage compared to $1,018 for the average 40-year-old driver.

The cheapest car insurance companies in Tennessee for senior drivers with full coverage are:

  • USAA: $633 per year (only serves veterans and current military members)
  • State Farm: $805 per year

Though GEICO offers cheaper full coverage for the average 40-year-old driver, State Farm’s prices are lower for senior drivers.

Average Car Insurance Rates for Seniors

17% of fatal accidents in Tennessee in 2017 were caused by drivers over the age of 65.

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 above table.

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.

Car insurers consider young student drivers riskier to cover because they are inexperienced. Therefore, student drivers are charged higher rates. A student driver in Tennessee pays an average yearly price of $2,367 compared to $1,018 for the average driver.

The most affordable car insurance providers in Tennessee for student drivers with full coverage are:

  • Progressive: $1,715 per year
  • GEICO: $1,812 per year

Although USAA offers cheaper full coverage for the average adult driver, Progressive’s costs are lower for student drivers.

Average Car Insurance Rates for Students

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

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. Some counties will allow you to renew registration online. Below is a sample of insurance costs for active and retired military members in Tennessee.

Average Rates for Tennessee service members

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

Car Insurance in Tennessee: What You Need to Know

If you’re operating a vehicle in Tennessee, you need insurance because the state fines uninsured drivers and revokes driving privileges. The only time you don’t need to insure a vehicle is if it is inoperable.

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 (or digital version) is the most common proof of insurance, but drivers can also carry an insurance binder or policy declaration page.

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:

  • $25,000 for one injury or death
  • $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.

How Much Coverage Do You Need in Tennessee?

While each state has its minimum car insurance requirements, these amounts will often not fully cover you in an accident. 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 and comprehensive insurance.

Average Insurance Rate by City in Tennessee

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FAQs About Car Insurance in Tennessee

MoneyGeek answers commonly asked questions about car insurance in Tennessee to help consumers make the right choice.

Expert Advice on Finding Cheap Car Insurance in Tennessee

To help you find credible and accurate details on car insurance in Tennessee, MoneyGeek received expert advice from trusted professionals. The perspectives and opinions expressed are those of the individual contributor.

  1. What are the key factors drivers in Tennessee should look for when searching for the best auto insurance coverage?
  2. What steps can drivers in Tennessee take to find affordable car insurance?
  3. How do regulations and rules in Tennessee impact insurance pricing and how consumers might shop for coverage?
Hank Bahr
Hank Bahr

Adjunct Lecturer at Haslam College of Business at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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About the Author


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Sara East is a freelance writer and content marketing professional based in Reno, NV. She has more than 10 years marketing experience in public relations, content and digital marketing. Sara has been a published writer for more than 10 years having written articles about finance, business, entrepreneurship, education, travel, real estate, insurance, healthy living, social media, travel and study abroad.

Sara's writing has been published in national news sites including Mashable, The Muse and The Next Web as well as on a variety of blogs. When she's not writing, Sara enjoys spending time with her fur kids exploring the mountains of Reno/Tahoe and enjoying the outdoors.


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