Buying car insurance is an important decision for all drivers in Tennessee. The state has mandatory liability coverage laws, meaning all motorists are required to carry at least a minimum level of car insurance.
Understanding Tennessee car insurance regulations, average costs, and ways to save can help drivers make the right policy choices.
Tennessee Car Insurance Laws
Tennessee is an “at-fault” state when it comes to auto accidents, meaning the driver who caused the crash can be held liable for damages and injuries. Because of this, the state requires all motorists to carry liability coverage with the following minimum limits:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
- $50,000 for total bodily injuries or deaths per accident
- $15,000 for property damage
These minimum coverage amounts provide financial protection in the case you cause an accident. However, many experts recommend choosing higher policy limits to guard your assets.
Uninsured motorist coverage is also mandatory in Tennessee at the same limits as your selected bodily injury liability coverage. This protects you if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance.
Average Cost of Coverage
Car insurance rates can vary dramatically from one Tennessee driver to the next based on factors like age, gender, location, driving history, and type of vehicle. However, the average annual premium Tennessee drivers pay for full coverage is around $1,450 per year or about $121 monthly. That’s slightly below the national average premium of $1,548.
To put that figure into context, Tennessee has the 31st highest average car insurance rates in the U.S. This makes rates quite affordable compared to some states. For example, Louisiana drivers pay nearly double at over $2,800 per year on average.
The Tennessee Car Insurance Requirements
Under Tennessee law, drivers must carry at least:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $15,000 property damage liability
This covers medical bills for other parties when an at-fault accident happens. Even still, accident-related expenses often exceed $25,000. Additional insurance is wise preparing for more devastating wrecks.
Before renewing a policy yearly, verify your limits still align with state-mandated minimums as regulations can change. Remaining properly insured keeps licenses and vehicle registrations valid status. Letting policies lapse leads to fines and complications during renewals.
Tennessee Car Insurance Quotes
The best way for Tennessee drivers to save on auto insurance is to comparison shop between providers, optimize liability limits and deductibles, maintain good credit, ask about all available discounts, and limit annual mileage.
Getting quotes from national insurers like Geico and Allstate as well as regional options can uncover the most competitive rates. Working with an independent insurance agent also provides guidance to new drivers or those experiencing rate hikes.
Major Factors Affecting Insurance Costs
Insurance companies set Tennessee auto insurance premiums based on the risk the driver brings. Certain drivers are seen as more likely to file claims, hence they pay more for coverage. Key risk factors that impact your costs include:
- Age – Teenagers and young drivers pay the highest premiums due to lack of experience behind the wheel. But rates ultimately drop until around age 25 when drivers are considered lower risk.
- Gender – Statistically, young males tend to have slightly higher average accident rates than females in Tennessee. This can result in higher policy costs especially for teen boys.
- Driving Record – Drivers with recent at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and other violations are considered high-risk with much higher rates.
- Type of Vehicle – Insuring sports cars, luxury vehicles and performance cars costs more due to higher repair costs, injury claims, and theft risk.
- Location – Insurance rates within Tennessee can fluctuate a lot depending on the driver’s home zip code. Urban areas like Memphis and Nashville have higher premiums.
Top Car Insurance Companies in Tennessee
Leveraging data accumulated from millions of policies over decades, leading national insurance companies have competitive market penetration across Tennessee. Still regional differences in pricing and customer service experiences mean what works well in Memphis may not be the best option in Nashville.
Top auto insurers statewide include:
- State Farm
- Tennessee Farmers Mutual
- Liberty Mutual
- The General
- Direct Auto
- Auto Owners
Balance quoted premiums against online reviews, complaint ratios with state departments of insurance, and the insurer’s financial strength rating given by reporting agencies like AM Best or Standard and Poor’s.
Ways Tennessee Drivers Can Save
The good news is Tennessee drivers have many options to reduce car insurance spending without sacrificing coverage. Top money-saving tips include:
- Shop around – Compare quotes from both national companies and local Tennessee insurance agencies. Rates can vary a lot between insurers.
- Boost deductibles – By accepting higher out-of-pocket costs in a claim you can lower premiums substantially.
- Ask about discounts – Taking defensive driving courses, bundling home & auto policies with one insurer, insuring multiple cars on a policy, and having anti-theft devices can all save you money.
- Maintain good credit – Insurers reward drivers with excellent credit scores with significant discounts and preferred rates.
- Limit mileage – Policies with lower annual mileage limits often provide cheaper premiums for Tennessee motorists who drive less throughout the year.
The cheapest car insurance option isn’t necessarily the same for every driver. You have to find the optimal balance of rate and coverage means taking the time to explore all available discounts and insurance providers available to you.
Buying adequate car insurance coverage is essential for all Tennessee drivers in order to comply with state laws and protect personal assets. The state mandates liability and uninsured motorist coverage, but experts recommend higher limits than the minimums.
Average annual premiums cost around $1,450 per year in Tennessee, which is slightly under national averages. However, insurance rates can vary dramatically based on risk factors like driving history, age, credit, location and type of vehicle.
Paying attention to coverage now yields peace of mind down the road in the case of an at-fault accident or incident requiring insurance claims. Checking rates once a year or with major life changes also keeps premiums affordable long-term.