Tennessee auto insurance rates come in below the national average, meaning drivers here pay less than those in most other states. That is good news for those looking to get the best deal of on their car insurance, but as always rates vary greatly depending on the driver, and shopping around is always a good idea.
With choices ranging from homegrown companies to top national insurers, Tennessee drivers have plenty of choices, and that means anyone can get a great rate.
The Basics of Auto Insurance in Tennessee
Tennessee law requires that drivers carry a minimum amount of liability insurance on every vehicle registered in the state. The legal minimum is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident for bodily injury, and $15,000 for property damage.
While a liability insurance policy is the most common way to meet the financial responsibility law requirements, Tennesseans also have the option to post a $65,000 bond or make a cash deposit in that same amount with the Department of Revenue. This will be treated as a replacement for insurance and satisfy the requirement.
There is no other coverage required by law, but those who have a loan on their vehicle will likely have to carry comprehensive coverage and collision coverage as well to meet the lender’s requirements. Make sure to check with your lender to find out what they require, since they may also have a cap on how high your deductible can be.
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Specifics of Tennessee Auto Insurance
As a fault state, Tennessee drivers can be sued after a crash and held financially responsible for damage, injuries, and pain and suffering. That means not carrying insurance is a bad idea, and not only because it is illegal not to have it.
The state’s legal minimum is unlikely to be adequate in the event of a serious accident; if you are found at fault in a situation where vehicles are declared a total loss, people are seriously injured, or even in the event of a fatality, the minimum requirements simply will not be enough coverage. Experts recommend carrying higher limits to protect yourself from a financial disaster in the event of a major accident.
Outside of awareness of the law and meeting the legal minimums, there are no other specifics to Tennessee insurance that differ from other states.
We started our search for the best insurance choices in Tennessee by looking for companies that have built a solid reputation. We looked to trusted sources of company ratings – like J.D. Power’s annual studies, as well as our own reviews of customer comments and companies regarding the companies. All of our top picks are rated highly for taking care of customers as well as for claims handling.
Since price is always a factor, we also looked for great rates. Each of our top picks reflects an excellent value in car insurance – that means that the companies offer a good price for good coverage along with their very good reputation. Cheap rates alone do not make the cut if they aren’t offered by a company that will be there for you when the chips are down – at claim time.
All of our top picks are available to all Tennessee drivers. While some companies, such as USAA, are great choices if you qualify under the eligibility requirements, we chose companies that offer coverage to the general public to make the picks useful to the largest possible group.
Our Top Picks
These three companies offer some of the best values to Tennessee drivers, with an option to suit every need.
Rooted in Tennessee’s agricultural communities, Farm Bureau has a long history of helping Tennesseans. They rank at number one for the Southeast region in J.D. Power’s insurance satisfaction survey, which means they are taking good care of their customers.
They also have some of the best rates around, even offering good rates to drivers with a less than perfect record. Even with the small membership fee to join, Farm Bureau is a great value, offering extra coverage and benefits standard with every policy.
Having moved into the number two spot nationwide, GEICO is no surprise on this list. They are consistently one of the lowest priced options around thanks to their direct buy approach to insurance and that stands true for Tennessee as well.
GEICO also ranks well for customer service and claims and ranks in the top five for the Southeast region on J.D. Power’s list. GEICO is a great choice for drivers who want easy online and mobile access to their policy.
Auto-Owners made the top three for the Southeast region in J.D. Power’s rankings, and they also came in second on a national level for claims satisfaction. That is about as solid a reputation as you can ask for in a car insurance company.
While they do not have the best rates for everyone, their policies are still a great value, with comprehensive coverage and extra benefits included standard. Tennessee drivers can count on Auto-Owners to take care of them in the event of a claim, and that is more important than the lowest rate.
Shopping for Car Insurance in Tennessee
There are a lot of options for car insurance in Tennessee, and with rating systems so different across companies, it may take some research to find the right company for you. Most drivers should be able to find a great value among one of our top picks, but which company is right for you depends on a lot of personal factors.
Before you shop, make sure you know what kind of coverage you want, and then get quotes at the same liability levels and with the same deductibles across the board so that you know you are comparing apples to apples every time. Many companies will quote at the legal minimum for liability, or with high deductibles, to make their rates appear lower. As already discussed, the legal minimum is not enough for most drivers, and a low rate isn’t worth it when you need the coverage.
All of our top picks offer auto/home discounts, so it is always worth shopping your home insurance around at the same time to see how much you can save overall. Although bundling is not always the best deal for everyone, it can be a great value in the right circumstances.
The Bottom Line
Tennessee drivers have some great options to choose from, whether you want a local company, a big direct buy insurer, or a regional company with the assistance of a local agent. Shop your rate around regularly and make sure you know the reputation of the company you pick before you buy; low rates and great service are the two sides to the insurance coin.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.