Lauren Lewthwaite Last Updated On: July 17, 2023

Drive With Peace of Mind Thanks to Tennessee Car Insurance

Tennessee is the home state of some of your favorite snacks, from Mountain Dew to moon pies, and even cotton candy. But if you’re planning on driving to pick up your snack craving, you better have car insurance coverage in place or you could face some hefty consequences.

But enough doom and gloom: let’s get to the good stuff, like the coverage you didn’t know you wanted (looking at you, accident forgiveness!) and the average cost of car insurance in the Volunteer State, so you can ensure your budget leaves room for plenty of ‘Dew and pies.

We’ve got you covered. Keep reading for tips on how to find the best car insurance Tennessee has to offer.

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Table of Contents

Is Car Insurance Required in Tennessee?

If you plan on getting behind the wheel, then you need to have car insurance in place in the state of Tennessee. The state lays out minimum coverage requirements in the form of 25/50/15. This means:

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

Skirting these requirements is a bad idea, both legally and financially. If you’re involved in an accident and you don’t have insurance, you’ll be on the hook for all costs, which can easily rack up into the tens of thousands of dollars when you consider medical costs, car damage, and even being sued. 

Legally, the situation isn’t good either. You could be hit with fines, jail time, a towed vehicle, suspension of license and vehicle registration, and more. Driving without insurance simply isn’t worth the risk when you consider the consequences. 

Now, keep in mind that this is just the bare minimum Tennessee requires you to have in order to drive legally. Having more coverage is strongly recommended, because if an accident occurs, the costs can very quickly add up and surpass the minimum coverage limits. Anything not covered by insurance would be yours to pay out of pocket. Click here for more info on minimum coverage requirements.

Here’s the good news: great car insurance coverage is more affordable than you might think. Keep reading for average costs to help you get a better idea of what to budget for. 

Tennessee Car Insurance Coverage Options

Before we dive into cost, we want to make sure you’re fully aware of your options for coverage. The state’s minimum requirements tell you what you absolutely must have, but you have plenty more options when it comes to protecting your vehicle and your peace of mind.

These are the coverage options you can pick and choose from, as long as the minimum requirements are met:

  • Collision: This covers you if you collide with another vehicle. It pays to repair or replace your car.
  • Comprehensive: This covers you if something happens to your car other than colliding with another vehicle, such as hitting an animal, weather-related damage, and theft/vandalism
  • Liability: Bodily injury liability covers the other person in the accident for medical costs related to the accident, while property damage liability covers costs for damage you’ve caused in the accident. Liability also helps cover legal fees and damages if you’re sued after the accident.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: This covers you if you’re involved in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough of it to pay for the damages, so that you’re not stuck footing the rest of the costs.
  • Medical Payments: Also known as MedPay, this covers the medical costs of you and your passengers after an accident, to certain limits. This is important to consider, especially if you don’t have great health insurance, because bodily injury only covers the other driver in an accident, not you or your passengers.

These are the main buckets of coverage drivers choose from to build their policy, but there’s even more options depending on what’s important to you. You can add riders, or endorsements, to your policy and get add coverage. Common car insurance riders include:

  • Roadside Assistance: If you get stranded on the side of the road, this covers a tow to a nearby service shop plus minor quick fixes on the side of the road. 
  • Gap: If your vehicle is leased and gets totaled, this covers the difference between what you still owe on the loan and what your depreciated car is valued at (and paid out) by insurance.
  • Rideshare: If you drive for services like Lyft or Uber, you need special rideshare insurance to cover you and your passengers. Otherwise, your claims could be denied if it’s found you were driving paying customers at the time.
  • Classic Car: If you have an antique or classic car, you need special insurance to help cover the higher value and higher costs of repairs/parts.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: If your vehicle is being repaired after an accident, this covers the cost to rent a vehicle in the meantime.
  • New Car Replacement: If your vehicle is newer (usually less than two years old) and is totaled, this covers a completely new car of the same make and model, rather than the depreciated value of your previous car.
  • Accident Forgiveness: This allows you one accident that doesn’t raise your rates.

These are just some of the examples of added coverage out there, but each insurance provider has different offerings. These riders are designed to give you peace of mind and financial protection, so pick and choose what makes sense to you. These riders do come with an added cost, so it’s important to weigh the benefits to you against the cost.

Full Coverage versus Minimum Coverage

You’ll often come across the term “full coverage” when it comes to car insurance, but what does it mean exactly? Basic coverage, or minimum coverage, is just the minimum coverage that the state requires.

On the flip side, full coverage includes liability, comprehensive and collision. This means you’re fully covered in most scenarios, including accidents with other vehicles, weather, animals, and theft.

If you can afford it, full coverage offers a lot more protection than basic coverage. You’ll see the difference in costs next.

The Average Cost of Car Insurance in Tennessee

Speaking of cost, it’s time we get you the numbers. These are just averages across the state, but they can help you understand roughly what you should expect to pay, whether you’re new to the state or new to driving—or you simply want to make sure you’re not overpaying on your current policy. So, what does car insurance cost in the Volunteer State?
  • Minimum coverage is $371 per year
  • Full coverage costs $1,429 per year on average
  • The average full coverage cost in Nashville is $1,412, $1,358 in Chattanooga, $1,389 in Knoxville, and $1,659 in Memphis
Your rates will depend on a number of factors, including:
  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your vehicle make/model
  • Your driving history
  • Your claims history
  • Your location
  • Your average mileage
  • And more
Quotes will vary significantly from person to person, and even from provider to provider. Each insurance provider uses their own formula to calculate quotes based on these factors, so it’s critical to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best possible rate. We’ve got more money-saving advice up our sleeve. Keep reading, or get started by accessing free quotes here.

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How to Save on Tennessee Car Insurance Rates

Car insurance doesn’t have to break the bank to protect you. We want to help you save on your car insurance premiums so that you can have the coverage you need at a rate you can afford. Here are our top ways to save on car insurance in Tennessee:
  • Compare Quotes: It’s worth saying again. Getting multiple quotes and comparing cost and coverage is so important when shopping for car insurance. Quotes can vary by hundreds of dollars between providers, so you’re leaving money on the table by not shopping around.
  • Don’t Skip Insurance: If you can avoid it, don’t allow a pause in your insurance coverage. Even if you’re not driving for a period of time, drop down to parked car insurance or minimum coverage. Otherwise, a lapse in coverage is a red flag to insurers and your rates could increase when you do reinstate your insurance.
  • Review Your Coverage: Make sure you know exactly what you’re paying from year to year. It’s easy to let your insurance auto-renew each year, but you could end up paying for coverage you no longer need.
  • Ask for Discounts: Every insurance provider offers discounts on car insurance at this point, so you should be asking for all discounts that you might qualify for. Discounts can often be stacked and add up to as much as 30% in savings. Common discounts include:
    • Claims-free history
    • Safe driver
    • Multi-car bundle
    • Paperless billing
    • Vehicle safety features
    • And more
  • Increase Your Deductible: If you can afford it, try raising your deductible (the amount you have to pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in for a claim). This will cause your premiums to drop.
  • Choose the Right Car: Luxury cars and sports cars might be fun, but they’re more expensive to insure. If you’re in the market for a new car, choose one that’s known for its safety ratings, because you’ll save on insurance.
  • Drive Carefully: This might be an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning. The best way to keep your rates down is to keep your record clean. Avoid speeding, drive defensively to avoid accidents, and obey all signs/road rules. Anything on your record will eventually drop off and your premiums will lower, but only if you don’t get any new violations in the meantime.
There you have it, folks. Our best tips for saving on car insurance in Tennessee. All that’s left is to start getting quotes, and you’ll be on the road to saving big.

Shopping for Car Insurance Quotes in Tennessee

Now that you know the coverage you want and how much you can expect to pay, it’s time to start collecting quotes. After all, comparing quotes is the single best thing you can do for your wallet.

But you don’t have to sink hours into it. Just click here for access to free quotes fast, and you’ll be on the open road before you know it. We’ve got you covered.

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