The Best Tennessee Auto Insurance Companies
Tennessee's auto insurance rates are on the low side — on average $871 per year, compared to the nationwide average of $1,009. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your car, your coverage, and your address. Use our tool to find your best rates:
It pays to shop around.
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What Does Auto Insurance Cost in Tennessee
Average annual rate in Tennessee: $871
The Best Tennessee Auto Insurance Companies
Tennessee is a good place to be a car owner. The weather is moderate, car theft isn’t a big problem, and, in addition to being one of the 10 cheapest states to live in, your insurance rates are pretty moderate. An average of $871 annually — more than $100 less than the national average — gets you solid coverage in Tennessee. But we think you can do even better than that, and we’re here to show you how.
How We Found the Best Tennessee Auto Insurance Companies
We found the best auto insurance providers in Tennessee by starting with our nationwide best auto insurance review. After all, if we learned anything from our nationwide approach, it’s that finding the best auto insurance is about more than just getting the lowest possible rate. The best Tennessee auto insurance companies have the financial stability to settle any claims you might have. A broad range of coverage options as well as good customer service are also important factors we considered as we researched consumer resources like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, and financial ranking organizations such as A.M. Best, Moody’s, and S&P Global. Then, we got quotes from each company, as well, using the online quote tools, and based on a Ford F150 XL Crew Cab — the best-selling car in Tennessee.
The 5 Best Auto Insurance Companies in Tennessee
Tennessee Auto Insurance Reviews
State Farm has an easy-to-use quote tool that, after answering questions about the policy’s drivers and cars, offers three options, from a basic policy without comprehensive and collision to a premium version that gave us increased bodily injury ($100/300K) and property damage ($100K) coverage. The middle option, though, with 50/100/50 and $500 deductible on comprehensive and collision, was what we were looking for, and it comes in at $408 for six months, which includes $63 worth of discounts. That makes it the most expensive premium of the four companies we evaluated.
Because discounts can vary between states, State Farm offers a web page of discounts that are specific to Tennessee auto owners — the company has more discounts (13) than any of our other picks.
One of those discounts is called “Drive Safe and Save,” and it’s worth exploring. You save five percent just by signing up. Then, the company uses your OnStar capability or, if you don’t have it, a small beacon device, to determine in real time how safe your driving is — the more you stick to speed limits and drive safely, the higher your discount is, up to a whopping 50%. That could bring your premium down to a far more reasonable rate than the one we got.
As far as providing educational resources for their customers, State Farm’s website is second to none. Its Simple Insights blog is extensive, with articles on car safety, financial well-being, and demystifying the whole insurance process. Interactive calculators let you figure out how you could be spending less and if you’re better off paying down debt or investing your money. In fact, even if you don’t choose to insure your car with State Farm, we suggest you spend some time on the site, especially if you’re new to the insurance process.
State Farm also earns good marks from consumer rating organizations — an 89 reader’s score from Consumer Reports places it above the rest of our picks, although J.D. Power wasn’t as impressed, giving it a three out of five overall rating. Moody’s, A.M. Best, and S&P Global all gave it high “A” level marks for financial stability, though, so you know it’s well-established and not going to disappear or balk when you submit a claim.
Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee
The second most popular insurer in Tennessee is Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee (FBIT). It’s a regional company, and as such it doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles that you find at the larger national firms. But if you like working with local agents and a company that knows the Tennessee landscape intimately, it’s worth a look.
FBIT is too small a company for Consumer Reports to review, and only one of the three financial ranking institutions (A.M. Best) rates it — but that ranking is an A+, so we feel pretty confident in the company’s financial footing.
FBIT also scored well in J.D. Power’s regional ranking of southeastern U.S. insurance companies. Out of 16 companies, including powerhouses such as USAA, Auto-Owners, and State Farm, FBIT came in first.
Getting an online quote was a bit clunky — it takes a while just to find the quote tool on the website. You have to plug in your ZIP code on the home page, which takes you to a listing of local agents in your area. From there, you click on the agency of your choice and are taken to a page which features the quote tool hidden at the bottom of the page.
If you make it that far, though, you could find the search was worth the effort — our quote came in at $336 for six months, which placed FBIT solidly in the middle of our field. There were, however, few discounts, and the company adds two fees to this number: a one-time processing fee of $15 and annual membership dues of $25.
The FBIT website didn’t thrill us, either. It’s neatly organized and clearly presents the few available discounts and endorsements, but there’s no learning section. You can pay your bill and file a claim online. So, the basics are covered — but that’s about it.
Despite not making it to the top of our list, there were some things we liked very much about Allstate. Its website, for example, is packed with information that can be helpful to insurance newbies and veterans alike. Its quote tool is easy and intuitive, and lets you choose from among three proposed levels of coverage, or create your own customized policy. It also managed to find eight discounts for us, saving almost $300 — which still left us with a quote of $406, second only to State Farm
Although it scored in the “A” range with financial rankers Moody’s, A.M. Best, and S&P Global, Allstate was at the lower end of the rating scale. All three agencies judged it to be slightly less stable than our other contenders, although not enough for the average consumer to worry about.
Having said that, the differences between Allstate and the other top car insurance companies in Tennessee are minimal. The company’s reputation for claims satisfaction, backed by a three out of five score for claims from J.D. Power and “excellent” rating from Consumer Reports for “timely payment,” make it worth quoting with when you’re looking for the best auto insurance in Tennessee.
Progressive makes it easy to get a quote, and the number we received — $244 for six months — was the cheapest quote we got from our contenders. Its quote tool allows you to try out different levels of coverage to customize your own policy; there’s even a name-your-own-price tool that lets you input what you want to pay per month and see what coverage you can afford for it.
Progressive does some things a little differently than many other companies. For one thing, it works with independent insurance agents, rather than dedicated agents who are employed by the company. There’s some benefit to you there: an independent agent can look for the best coverage for you from among all the companies they work with; you’re not tied to a particular company.
For another, the company offers service centers in some areas that provide concierge services following a claim. From providing estimates for repairs to leasing you a loaner, it’s one-stop convenience. The bad news? There are none in Tennessee — yet. If you travel a lot, though, this might appeal to you.
Tennessee might not be home to as many active-duty military personnel as other states, but we would be remiss not to give a special nod to USAA. Providing 11 unique auto insurance discounts, USAA comes in close second to our top pick when it comes to ways to save. Furthermore, USAA scored “Excellent” marks in all categories with Consumer Reports including the areas where we felt it mattered most to a customer: ease of reaching an agent, simplicity of claims process, and timely payments.
So, why didn’t we dive deeper into USAA? Simply put: it’s not for everyone. In fact, USAA exclusively serves current members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Reserves. Veterans are also eligible as well as immediate family of service members. If you fall into any of these categories, however, USAA is definitely worth considering.
Guide to Tennessee Auto Insurance Companies
Tennessee Minimum Liability
Tennessee requires fairly standard limits for bodily injury and property coverage:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 body injury coverage per accident
- $15,000 property damage coverage per accident
But that doesn’t mean you must or should stick to these minimums. $25,000 could be a drop in the bucket if you’re involved in an accident where someone is seriously hurt, for example — and you’d be responsible for covering whatever the insurance didn’t. A general recommendation would be to shoot for 100/300/100 (This is the shorthand method of referring to coverage amounts, and we’ll stick with it for this review).
Unless you’re driving a junker, we’d also urge you to take a look at two additional types of coverage: collision and comprehensive. Collision covers repairs to your own car if you’re in an accident, while comprehensive has you covered for the many non-accident-related mishaps that happen every day, like theft and natural disasters.
Protecting Tennessee’s Teens
Teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers aged 20 and older, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Tennessee addressed this problem by creating the Graduated Driver License Program, a multi-tiered program that eases novice drivers into full driving privileges as they develop more driving skills. Each of the three tiers (learner permit, intermediate restricted license, and intermediate unrestricted license) requires further training and practice before students finally earn their full driver’s license.
Two of our companies, State Farm and Progressive, offer discounts geared toward teen/student drivers, and State Farm’s website also includes helpful articles on teens and safety behind the wheel.
You Need Insurance. No, Really.
Have you been driving without insurance in Tennessee? You’re not alone. Tennessee ranks in fifth place among states with the highest percentage of uninsured drivers. Twenty percent of Tennesseans — that’s well more than a million people — have no coverage.
We don’t encourage this; it’s not even legal to park your car on a public road if you have no insurance in Tennessee. Here are a couple of ways you can make insurance more affordable:
- Raise your deductible. When we changed the deductible from $500 to $2,000, for example, on our Progressive quote (the lowest one we got), we brought the six-month cost of our policy down to a very reasonable $207.
- Drop coverage you can live without. When we took collision off that Progressive quote, it brought it down to under $200. If you’re driving around in a 2018 model sports car, you won’t want to do that. But if your car is older or not in great shape, it’s probably not necessary to have collision, because it would be cheaper to buy a newer car than to fix the old one if you’re in an accident.
- Drive a different car. Some cars are just cheaper to insure, for a variety of reasons including crash statistics and repair costs. In 2016, for example, the Jeep Wrangler SUV featured the lowest premiums per cost of any car in the U.S.
If you live in a tornado-prone area (west and middle Tennessee get more than the eastern part of the state), consider adding comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy. While not required by Tennessee law, comprehensive is the insurance that protects you from non-accident-related happenings, like, say, when a tree falls on your brand new pickup during a storm. It also covers flood, fire, and animal damage, as well as theft and vandalism.
Tennessee isn’t a top state for car theft (California leads that list), but like tornados, theft happens, especially in urban areas. Comprehensive insurance averages $134 a year — and may be considerably less if you go with a higher deductible and shop around. If you finance your car purchase, you might be required to carry comprehensive, but even if not, it’s worth looking into if you worry about natural disasters or theft.
Tennessee Auto Insurance FAQ
Who has the cheapest car insurance in Tennessee?
Unfortunately, there are no simple answers when it comes to finding the cheapest car insurance or even the best. All we can really do is tell you what we learned from our deep dive into Tennessee’s top 5 and hand the reins over to you. To that end, we encourage you to do like us and shop around, gathering as many quotes as possible. And remember that just because a provider offers you a cheaper price doesn’t mean it’s best for you and your needs. You also need to take the individual discounts of each provider into account as you might find that settling for the less-than-cheapest provider might yield more opportunities to save in the long-term.
What are the average auto insurance rates in Tennessee?
The average annual rate in Tennessee is about $871 and, while that might sound like a lot, it’s actually over a hundred dollars less than the national average ($1,009). Of course, this is just an estimate and you might find cheaper rates by shopping around for multiple quotes. Doing so is also the best way to learn more about the individual sets of discounts each provider offers, which can also help lower your rates.
How much auto insurance do I need in Tennessee?
We don’t advise limiting yourself to the bare minimum when it comes to auto insurance. While you might not need to worry so much about car theft and inclement weather, there is still the matter of more than a million Tennesseans driving around uninsured. You don’t want to risk an accident that could require you to pay the lion’s share out-of-pocket just because your minimal insurance did not cover the damages. Again, we recommend shopping around and speaking with representatives who can explain coverage costs and what you’ll be getting with their plans and policies.