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Best Cheap Car Insurance in Tennessee for 2020

Jan. 2, 2020
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Because prices for auto coverage rise and fall depending on where you look, comparing quotes from several companies is the best way to find cheap car insurance in Tennessee.

To help you snag a competitive deal, NerdWallet sampled rates from the nine largest insurers in Tennessee and found the cheapest options for several driver types.

Cheapest for good drivers in Tennessee

For a Tennessee driver with good credit and a clean driving record, these are the cheapest car insurance companies and their average rates for full coverage:

  1. Geico: $797 per year.
  2. Erie: $904 per year.
  3. Auto-Owners: $1,010 per year.
  4. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $1,094 per year.
  5. Progressive: $1,196 per year.
Drivers with no recent accidents or violations can get cheaper car insurance rates for having good credit. For this calculation, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a clean driving record and good credit. In terms of driving and credit history, a large portion of drivers are closest to this profile, which carries standard "full coverage" insurance, including comprehensive and collision, along with state-required coverage. Prices shown include a good driver discount, when available from the insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage in Tennessee

When a Tennessean wants just bare-bones insurance, the cheapest companies and average rates for the state’s minimum required coverage are:

  1. Geico: $281 per year.
  2. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $311 per year.
  3. Erie: $326 per year.
  4. Auto-Owners: $386 per year.
  5. State Farm: $417 per year.
We calculated these numbers by averaging rates for 40-year-old good drivers (earning them a discount if the insurer offers one) who have only the minimum mandatory insurance in their state. Such light coverage isn't typically recommended since it might not cover all the bills resulting from a car accident, but it's better than nothing — especially if you can't afford much more. If you're looking for the cheapest possible insurance you can get, though, you'll still want to get car insurance quotes from at least three auto insurers.

Cheapest for good drivers with poor credit

For a Tennessee driver with poor credit and a good driving history, here are the cheapest insurers and average rates for full coverage auto policies:

  1. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $1,265 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,348 per year.
  3. Auto-Owners: $2,116 per year.
  4. Progressive: $2,401 per year.
  5. Allstate: $2,408 per year.
If you have a spotty credit history, it's important to shop around to find the cheapest auto insurance rates you can. Poor credit can have a bigger effect on car insurance premiums than even a DUI conviction or a recent at-fault crash, but prices vary by insurer. To calculate these figures, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-olds with a clean driving record and associated good driver discount, if the insurer offered one. They had poor credit as reported to their insurer, and standard "full coverage" car insurance.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash

After an at-fault accident, Tennessee drivers may want to consider these insurance companies, which showed the cheapest average rates for full coverage:

  1. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $1,094 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,142 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,472 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,569 per year.
  5. Progressive: $1,845 per year.
After a relatively minor crash, some auto insurers will charge a lot more than others for coverage. To get these figures, we averaged rates for 40-year-olds with typical "full coverage" insurance and one recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Your rates will remain high for three to five years after you cause an accident or have a moving violation — and you still may be rejected for coverage from certain companies, including those above. If you fall into this category, be sure to shop for new insurance rates just after the three-year and five-year anniversaries of your infraction.

Cheapest insurance after a DUI in Tennessee

For Tennesseans with a recent DUI on their driving record, these are the cheapest insurance companies and average rates for full coverage:

  1. Progressive: $1,314 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,352 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,700 per year.
  4. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $1,742 per year.
  5. Allstate: $2,001 per year.
A conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI, generally results in higher auto insurance premiums than before. NerdWallet analyzed rates for 40-year-old drivers and standard “full coverage” car insurance with a recent DUI conviction to see which companies were cheapest. Be warned that you may be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. Rates can vary by hundreds between carriers after a DUI, and some penalize for longer than others, so it’s important to shop around for the best available price right after you see a price hike and each year after that.

Cheapest insurance after a ticket in Tennessee

After a recent speeding ticket, these are the cheapest insurance options and average rates for Tennessee drivers buying full coverage policies:

  1. Geico: $855 per year.
  2. Erie: $932 per year.
  3. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $1,094 per year.
  4. State Farm: $1,336 per year.
  5. Progressive: $1,534 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket will result in higher car insurance rates from most companies for three to five years. To see who has the cheapest rates, we calculated average car insurance rates for 40-year-old drivers with “full coverage” insurance and a recent ticket for speeding 16 mph over the limit. Though these larger companies were the cheapest we found on average, others may be cheaper for you, so be sure to get at least three quotes before deciding on a carrier.

Cheapest for couples and families in Tennessee

Maybe you’re married, with a couple of cars in the driveway. Maybe you have a teenager itching to get that first driver’s license. Either way, you may find that the companies with the best rates for single drivers aren’t the cheapest options for you. Companies apply rates and discounts in different ways, so whenever there’s a big change in your life — like getting married or adding a teen to your policy — it’s smart to shop for insurance quotes and find the best prices. We checked rates for a 50-year-old couple, with and without a teen driver, to see which insurers are cheapest for families in Tennessee.

Cheapest for a married couple in Tennessee

For a Tennessee husband and wife, both 50 years old with clean driving and credit records, here are the cheapest insurance companies we found, ranked by their average rates for full coverage policies for two vehicles:

  1. Geico: $977 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,117 per year.
  3. Auto-Owners: $1,444 per year.
  4. Allstate: $1,521 per year.
  5. Progressive: $1,630 per year.
Couples who live together can save on auto insurance by combining policies, whether they are married or not, because they can earn multi-car and multi-driver discounts. Once they tie the knot, rates can dip further, but not because of discounts — insurers see married people as less risky and so charge them lower rates. Our hypothetical 50-year-old couple’s clean driving record also earns them both a good driver discount.

Cheapest for families with a teen in Tennessee

For a 50-year-old couple along with an 18-year-old driver in Tennessee, these companies have the cheapest average rates for insuring two vehicles with full coverage:

  1. Geico: $2,393 per year.
  2. Erie: $2,410 per year.
  3. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $2,838 per year.
  4. Auto-Owners: $2,935 per year.
  5. Progressive: $3,152 per year.
Adding a teen with two years’ driving experience to a married couple's policy is sure to cause a big jump in rates. Since different insurers tend to see a teen’s inexperience in different ways, we analyzed rates to see which companies had the cheapest car insurance for teens. These rates are averaged for 50-year-old couples with male and female 18-year-old drivers.

Cheapest for young drivers in Tennessee

For people in their 20s, shopping for cheap car insurance may feel like an uphill battle. Rates are almost always higher for young drivers than for those with more experience. But some companies are cheaper than others for young drivers, because each insurer uses its own formula to account for age, driving experience and other factors. To see which companies are cheapest for young drivers in Tennessee, NerdWallet analyzed rates for 25-year-olds in a variety of circumstances.

Cheapest full coverage for young good drivers

For buying full coverage insurance, these companies had the cheapest average rates in Tennessee for a 25-year-old with clean driving and credit histories:

  1. Geico: $935 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,178 per year.
  3. Progressive: $1,348 per year.
  4. Auto-Owners: $1,398 per year.
  5. State Farm: $1,442 per year.
Drivers in their 20s can have a hard time finding cheap car insurance, and that's even truer when they need full coverage. The rates above are averages for 25-year-old male and female drivers with comprehensive and collision coverages, which are often required for drivers with active auto loans or leases. These rates reflect a good driver discount. Young drivers, like all drivers, should check several quotes to find the cheapest for the coverage levels they need.

Cheapest minimum coverage for young good drivers

For a young driver purchasing only Tennessee’s minimum required insurance, the cheapest companies and their average rates are:

  1. Geico: $329 per year.
  2. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $407 per year.
  3. Erie: $422 per year.
  4. State Farm: $480 per year.
  5. Auto-Owners: $543 per year.
Since young people often have fewer assets to protect with liability insurance, they can usually get away with lower coverage limits. For an age group with relatively high insurance rates on average, that's good news, keeping rates as low as possible. For this price set, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers who have clean driving records, good credit and bare-bones insurance coverage.

Poor credit and minimum coverage

For a 25-year-old in Tennessee with a good driving record and poor credit, here are the cheapest insurers and their average rates for minimum coverage:

  1. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $469 per year.
  2. Geico: $569 per year.
  3. Allstate: $871 per year.
  4. State Farm: $997 per year.
  5. Auto-Owners: $1,051 per year.
Poor credit is common for younger folks just starting out, who may still be building their credit files. That can increase rates further, so it's extra important to shop around and compare as many insurance quotes as possible to find the cheapest you can get. For these prices, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with no recent accidents or violations (earning them a good driver discount), minimum coverage car insurance, and credit in the "poor" tier as reported to an insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a crash

For a young Tennessee driver who was at fault in a recent accident, the cheapest insurance companies and average rates for minimum coverage are:

  1. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $407 per year.
  2. Geico: $528 per year.
  3. Erie: $560 per year.
  4. State Farm: $600 per year.
  5. Allstate: $820 per year.
To get prices for this group, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with good credit and a recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Since car insurance is often pricier after a crash, and especially so for young drivers, we assumed minimum required insurance in the state to contain costs for our hypothetical driver. Depending on your situation, you may still be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. If you've caused a crash, no matter your age, be sure to check auto insurance quotes just after the third and fifth anniversaries of your incident, when insurers often adjust rates downward.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a DUI

For a 25-year-old driver in Tennessee whose record includes a recent DUI, these are the cheapest insurers and average rates for minimum coverage:

  1. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $643 per year.
  2. Erie: $682 per year.
  3. Progressive: $692 per year.
  4. State Farm: $703 per year.
  5. Allstate: $775 per year.
Young drivers with a recent DUI on their records will need to be diligent to find the lowest car insurance rates they can get — it's likely that many companies' rates will be quite expensive. Depending on the circumstances, you may be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. But spending the time to shop around for quotes can help you find the lowest price from a company available to you. For this analysis, we averaged rates for male and female 25-year-old drivers with a recent DUI conviction. They had good credit and minimum required car insurance, which helps keep rates down.

Cheapest for minimum coverage and a ticket

After a recent speeding ticket, a young Tennessee driver may want to get quotes from these companies, which returned the cheapest average rates for minimum coverage:

  1. Geico: $342 per year.
  2. Tennessee Farm Bureau: $407 per year.
  3. Erie: $438 per year.
  4. State Farm: $537 per year.
  5. Allstate: $654 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket is never fun, and neither is the higher car insurance bill you may receive months later. At that point, it's time to shop around for better rates, and it wouldn't hurt to repeat on your third and fifth ticket anniversaries, when insurers may adjust rates downward. We analyzed rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with a recent speeding violation for going 16 mph over the speed limit to see prices for this group.

Cheap for military families

If you’re an active member of the military or a veteran — or have an immediate family member who is — you’ll probably get a good rate with USAA, a company that’s not available to the general public. For that reason, we don’t rank it against other insurers, but USAA was among the five cheapest options in Tennessee for every category listed above except one — young drivers with a DUI.

» MORE: Best car insurance for veterans and military

Recap: Cheapest car insurance in Tennessee

  • Good drivers: Geico.
  • Minimum coverage: Geico.
  • Poor credit: Tennessee Farm Bureau.
  • After an at-fault crash: Tennessee Farm Bureau.
  • After a DUI: Progressive.
  • After a speeding ticket: Geico.
  • Married couples: Geico.
  • Families with a teen: Geico.
  • Young good drivers: Geico.
  • Minimum coverage for young good drivers: Geico.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers with poor credit: Tennessee Farm Bureau.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a crash: Tennessee Farm Bureau.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a DUI: Tennessee Farm Bureau.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a ticket: Geico.

» MORE: Compare car insurance

Minimum required car insurance in Tennessee

Tennessee law requires liability insurance for all drivers living in the Volunteer State. If you cause a crash, this coverage kicks in to pay others’ injury treatment and property damage, up to your limit.

The state’s minimum liability limits are:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident.

A serious crash could easily result in damages that surpass these limits. To avoid paying out-of-pocket costs, consider selecting more than the bare minimum. You might also benefit from adding optional coverages such as collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist insurance.

Check out NerdWallet’s guide to car insurance requirements by state for more detail on common coverage options in Tennessee and how they work.

Alternative Tennessee car insurance

If you’re denied car insurance on the voluntary market due to past violations, crashes, poor credit or other reasons, you can apply for coverage via the Tennessee Automobile Insurance Plan.

For more help finding cheap car insurance in Tennessee, try NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool.

Methodology

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in the state for 40-year-old men and women in all ZIP codes with 12,000 annual miles driven. The policy includes:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
If required, minimum additional coverages were added and "good driver" discounts were automatically applied. Our “young driver” had all the same characteristics, but average rates were for 25-year-old men and women. We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all single drivers. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.
  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.
  • For drivers with a ticket, we added a single speeding violation for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.
  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.
Couples in our analyses were 50-year-old men and women with good credit and clean driving histories, averaged across all ZIP codes with the same policy outlined above. To see rates for families with a teen, we added an 18-year-old licensed two years ago, averaging rates for male and female teens. For couples and families we added a 2016 Nissan Rogue S to create a two-car household.

In all cases, a paperless discount, e-signature discount and electronic funds transfer discount were automatically applied. These are rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.