Moving to Tennessee from Kentucky

There’s a lot to think about when moving to Tennessee from Kentucky. From differences in the cost of living to insurance premiums along with getting over to the Tennessee DMV to transfer your Kentucky driver’s license and vehicle registration, you’ll want to do some budgeting and planning before you make the move.

Relocalate.com has done the heavy lifting for you. Our expert researchers have compiled the key things you need to know when moving to Tennessee from Kentucky. Find out what you can expect to pay in federal and Tennessee state taxes, whether you’ll be spending more or less in key cost of living categories, and how long you’ll have to get a new driver’s license and car registration. Plus, you can even get a head start on saving the most money when you move by comparing free quotes for health coverage, car insurance, home/renters insurance, and more.


Kentucky 130 miles Tennessee

Estimate the cost of your move.

Effective Tax Rates

Lower

compared to Kentucky

Jump to Tax Comparison


Cost of Living

Lower

compared to Kentucky

Jump to Cost of Living Section


Car Insurance

Lower

compared to Kentucky


Home Insurance

Lower

compared to Kentucky


Healthcare

Higher

compared to Kentucky


License & Registration

Transfer your Kentucky driver’s license to Tennessee within 30 days.

Transfer your vehicles & get Tennessee license plates upon establishing residency.

Jump to DMV Section


On this page, you’ll be able to:

  • See how the cost of living compares for Tennessee and Kentucky.
  • Estimate how much more or less you can expect to pay in state and federal income taxes after you move to Tennessee.
  • Find out what to expect when it comes to Tennessee property taxes, buying a home, and home insurance premiums.
  • Learn whether you’ll be able to save some money or have to spend a little more in key cost of living categories including groceries, transportation, housing, and healthcare.
  • Find out what you’ll need to do with the Tennessee DMV to transfer your Kentucky driver’s license and vehicle registration. (And how long you’ll have to do it.)
  • Estimate how much it will cost to move from Kentucky to Tennessee.
  • BONUS: Start saving money today by comparing free quotes for all your new insurance policies in Tennessee.

Moving to Tennessee from Kentucky Checklist

  • 1. Estimate the cost of the move.
  • 2. Update your insurance policies.
  • 3. Be prepared to transfer your Kentucky license & registration to Tennessee.
  • 4. Budget and prepare for cost of living changes.
  • 5. Change your address and forward your mail through USPS.
  • 6. Register to vote.
  • 7. Update your new address with your banks, loans, and other accounts.
  • 8. Set up your utilities and services at your new home.

Find some more tips and to-dos for Moving to Tennessee here.

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Cost of Moving from Kentucky to Tennessee

Unfortunately moving can be expensive. Moving to a brand new state usually comes with some extra costs.

Use this moving cost calculator to get a rough idea of how much your move from Kentucky to Tennessee will cost.

The rough distance between Tennessee and Kentucky is 130 miles. We’ll use that for our calculations. Select the size of your home that you’ll be moving to get an idea of the costs.

Moving Cost Calculator: Kentucky to Tennessee


Estimated cost:

Kentucky Tennessee

Remember, this is just a rough estimate. The cost of your move will vary depending on the company you choose, your belongings, and other circumstances.

Update Your Insurance Policies for Coverage in Tennessee

Don’t wait! Update your car insurance coverage for Tennessee

When you move to Tennessee, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll be covered for all of life’s unexpected situations. That means updating your insurance policies with your new address and the minimum requirements for Tennessee.

Tennessee Car Insurance

One of the first policies you’ll want to update when you move is going to be your car insurance coverage.

In Tennessee, the minimum liability coverage is $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident, $15,000 property damage liability per accident.

Average Cost of Minimum Coverage

$371

On average, the annual premium for a minimum liability coverage policy is lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less for car insurance in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Average Cost of Full Coverage

$1,429

On average, the annual premium for a full coverage auto insurance policy is lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less for full coverage in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Do you own a motorcycle?



Get a Motorcycle Insurance Quote ➜

Tennessee Home & Renter’s Insurance

Whether you’ll rent or own your new home, you’ll want to make sure you have the right coverage when you arrive.

Let’s face it, accidents happen during a move. Make sure you have the coverage you need to protect your belongings and your house.

Average Cost of Homeowner’s Insurance

$1,755

You can usually expect that the annual premium for home insurance will be lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less for your home insurance policy in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Will you own or rent your home?



Get a Home Owner’s Quote ➜Get a Renter’s Quote ➜

Tennessee Health Insurance

You’ll also need to make sure that you and your family have health coverage once you arrive in Tennessee.

If you’ll be keeping your job when you move, be sure to ask your employer about any implications for your current health insurance policy.

You’ll need to find out which hospitals and plans are available near your new home. Spend some time researching providers in your area.

Healthcare Costs in Tennessee

Higher

Generally, healthcare costs are higher in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay more for healthcare in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.


Will you be keeping health insurance with your current employer?




Find Health Coverage ➜

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Tasks when Moving to Tennessee from Kentucky

Transfer your Kentucky Driver’s License

within 30 days.

After you’ve moved to Tennessee, you’ll need to get a valid driver’s license.

Transfer your Kentucky Car Registration

upon establishing residency.

You’ll also need to transfer your vehicle registration and get Tennessee license plates.

When you become a resident of Tennessee, you’ll need to transfer your Kentucky driver’s license and vehicle registration.

You’ll also need to update your car insurance policies so that they meet the minimum requirements for Tennessee. Sometimes this can come with a rate hike, so it’s always a smart idea to shop around.

The minimum liability coverage you’ll need in Tennessee is $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident, $15,000 property damage liability per accident.

You can start comparing car insurance quotes for Tennessee for free right here on Relocalate.com.

Transfer Your Kentucky Driver’s License to Tennessee

Minimum Age for a Tennessee Driver’s License

17 years old

A standard Tennessee driver’s license is available to residents who are at least 17 years old.

Tennessee Driver’s License Expires

every 8 years

You’ll need to renew your driver’s license every 8 years.

Tennessee Driver’s License Cost

$28.00

A driver’s license will cost around $28.00.

One of the first things you’ll want to do after becoming a resident of Tennessee is to get a driver’s license.

In fact, new residents should apply for their Tennessee driver’s license within 30 days.

In Tennessee, driver’s licenses are issued by the DLS.

To apply, you’ll need to:

  • Complete the Tennessee Driver’s License Application.
  • Surrender your Kentucky driver’s license.
  • Present the necessary proof of identity and residency with your new Tennessee address.
  • Pass any required testing.
  • Take a photo.
  • Pay the driver’s license fee.

After applying and passing any necessary tests, you’ll receive a temporary paper license. The Tennessee DLS will mail you your new license, and it should arrive within a few weeks.

For official information and for details about scheduling appointments, visit https://www.tn.gov/driver-services.html.

Tennessee Driver’s License Knowledge Exam

Total Questions on the Tennessee Driver’s License Test

30 total questions

The Tennessee knowledge exam will typically consist of 30 total questions that are based on the driver’s handbook.

Passing Score

80%

You’ll need to score 80% to pass the test.

When you transfer your Kentucky license to Tennessee, you should be prepared to pass the driver’s license written exam.

While not every applicant will be required to take the test, it is still a good idea to brush up on traffic laws in Tennessee.

Before you visit the DLS, take some time to study the official driver’s handbook for Tennessee. While many traffic laws and safety rules are universal from state to state, there are some specifics that may be a little different.

Assuming your Kentucky driver’s license is valid and unexpired, you should not need to take the Tennessee driving test.

Is your Kentucky driver’s license valid?

One potential hang up to be aware of is around the validity of your Kentucky driver’s license.

To make things as easy as possible, your Kentucky license should be valid when you apply for a license in Tennessee.

Ideally what this means is that you should clear any issues with the Kentucky DMV BEFORE you move.

For example:

  • If your Kentucky driver’s license is lost or damaged, you should replace it before moving.
  • If your Kentucky driver’s license is suspended or revoked, you should try to reinstate it before you move.

If your Kentucky driver’s license is expired when you go to apply for your Tennessee license, it’s possible that the DLS will treat it like a brand new application, which may require a written exam and a road test, plus any other requirements for new drivers.

The bottom line: Try to take care of any issues with your Kentucky driver’s license BEFORE you move and visit the Tennessee DMV.

Transfer Your Car Registration from Kentucky to Tennessee

If you’re going to bring your car with you when you move, you’ll also need to transfer your Kentucky registration to Tennessee.

Vehicle registration and titles are handled by the Tennessee VSD.

You can find more specific details for your vehicle registration and official information at https://www.tn.gov/revenue/title-and-registration.html

Tennessee Registration Fee Basis

flat rate

Tennessee vehicle registration fees are generally calculated by flat rate.

Registration Base Fee Estimate

$23.75+

Additional fees may vary based on vehicle type as well as any local fees and taxes.

Tennessee Registration Expiration

every year

In Tennessee, you’ll need to renew your registration every year.

Front License Plates

A front license plate is not required in Tennessee.

Vehicle Safety Inspections

There is typically no vehicle safety inspection required in Tennessee.

Smog & Emissions Testing

Emissions testing is not required for vehicles registered in Tennessee.

New residents in Tennessee are required to transfer their out-of-state vehicle registration upon establishing residency.

When moving to Tennessee with vehicles from Kentucky, you should be prepared to:

  • Complete an application for Tennessee registration and title.
  • Present your current registration documents from Kentucky.
  • Provide any other necessary proof of ownership documents (title, lease agreement, lienholder information, etc.)
  • Pass any necessary vehicle inspections required for Tennessee registration.
  • Have a valid Tennessee insurance policy for your vehicles.
  • Pay the registration fees.

Notify the Kentucky DMV

While it’s not always a requirement, it can be worthwhile to update your address with the Kentucky DMV and notify them that you have moved out of the state.

This can often be done on the DMV website, and will prevent you from receiving any renewal notices for your old driver’s license and registrations.

Taxes in Tennessee vs Kentucky

Differences in taxes are a big consideration in any state to state move.

Unfortunately, it’s not all black and white. In order to get the full picture, it’s important to consider all of your potential tax burdens when moving from Kentucky to Tennessee including state income tax, property taxes, and sales tax.

Plus, you’ll need to think about how the overall cost of living on key spending categories is going to compare. More on that below.

For example, if you’re a homeowner, it’ll be smart to look at both income tax differences, property tax burdens, as well as average home prices to get a more accurate idea of your tax savings or hike once you move to Tennessee.

We’ll cover some key differences in your tax savings and tax hikes when moving to Tennessee from Kentucky.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll be comparing effective tax rates, which simplify the marginal tax rates and tax brackets in each state to look at the estimated average total tax you may be paying.

Note that your tax situation may be much different than the estimates provided here. Use these as a high-level comparison tool.

Federal & State Income Taxes when Moving to Tennessee from Kentucky

Overall, you’ll likely be looking at an income tax savings when moving to Tennessee from Kentucky.

Tennessee Income Tax (effective rates)

0.00% (single) & 0.00% (joint)

Tennessee doesn’t have a state income tax.

Effective Rates: Federal + State Income Taxes

15.67%

On average, the effective income tax rate (state + federal) is lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less in income tax in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Tax Comparison Calculator

Kentucky Tennessee

Effective income tax rates (Federal + State):

  • Tennessee: 15.67% (single), 15.47% (joint)
  • Kentucky: 20.38% (single), 20.04% (joint)



Estimated tax:

In Tennessee, your tax would be . In Kentucky, your tax would be .

You would pay more in than in .

When comparing your overall tax burdens between states, it can help to look at both the state and federal income tax rates.

Remember, this comparison is looking at the effective rates in order to simplify things.

Here’s a high level look at how your effective tax rates may be different after you move to Tennessee from Kentucky

  • State Income Tax (single filers): 0.00% in Tennessee vs 4.71% in Kentucky
  • State Income Tax (joint filers): 0.00% in Tennessee vs 4.84% in Kentucky
  • Federal + State Income Tax (single filers): 15.67% in Tennessee vs 20.38% in Kentucky
  • Federal + State Income Tax (joint filers): 15.47% in Tennessee vs 20.04% in Kentucky

Sales Tax in Tennessee vs Kentucky

Next, it’s helpful to consider the differences in sales tax.

Sales tax is a consumption tax you pay when you buy goods and services. It is typically calculated as a percentage of the final price you pay.

Note that many states have a state-wide sales tax and local governments and municipalities can charge an additional sales tax on top of that. This comparison looks at the state-wide sales tax.

Tennessee Sales Tax

7%

Tennessee has a state sales tax rate of 7%.

The sales tax rate is higher in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay more on sales tax in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Property Taxes in Tennessee vs Kentucky

If you’re a homeowner, or plan to buy a home in Tennessee, it’s also a good idea to take a look at the difference in property taxes and home values.

Tennessee Property Tax Estimate

0.71%

The property tax rate is lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less for property taxes in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Home Prices in Tennessee

$167,200

On average, the average home price is higher in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay more for a house in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

This is also a good time to back sure you are getting the best deal on your Tennessee homeowner’s insurance policy.

How Does the Cost of Living Compare in Tennessee vs Kentucky?

Cost of living is another major difference when moving to a brand new state.

Depending on the local industries, geography, region, and population, the price of different goods and services can vary greatly.

Now, the cost of living will also depend on your own lifestyle, spending habits, and which city you move to in Tennessee.

Cost of living (COL) indexes are used to compare each state to the national average of 100. The difference between COL values higher or lower than 100 represent the percentage difference from the national average.

We can compare the cost of living indexes for Tennessee and Kentucky to get a high level idea of whether we’ll be saving money or have to spend a bit more on the following categories:

  • Overall Cost of Living.
  • Groceries.
  • Housing.
  • Utilities.
  • Transportation.
  • Healthcare.
  • Miscellaneous goods and service.
Kentucky Tennessee

Overall, the cost of living in Tennessee is

-9.60% cheaper


than the national average, compared to -6.20% cheaper for Kentucky.

Tennessee Cost of Living Index

90.4

National Avg: 100

On average, the cost of living is lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less for many things in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Cost of Groceries

-2.20% cheaper
than the national avg.

Typically, the cost of groceries is lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less for groceries in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Housing Costs

-17.10% cheaper
than the national avg.

Generally, the cost of housing (rent/mortgage/etc) is higher in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay more for housing costs in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Tennessee Utilities

-6.80% cheaper
than the national avg.

The cost of utilities is typically lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less for your monthly utility bills in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Transportation Costs

-10.00% cheaper
than the national avg.

On average, the cost of transportation is lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less on transportation in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Healthcare in Tennessee

-11.90% cheaper
than the national avg.

Generally, healthcare costs are higher in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay more for healthcare in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Miscellaneous Costs

-7.20% cheaper
than the national avg.

The cost of miscellaneous goods and services are generally lower in Tennessee. You’ll likely pay less for these things in Tennessee than you did in Kentucky.

Relocalate.com Methodology

While big changes like moving to a new state can be exciting, we also know that any move can be stressful. That’s why we created Relocalate.com.

The data and comparisons on this page are designed to give you a high level look at what you can expect when moving from Kentucky to Tennessee.

Our free moving tools and calculators are here to help you play around with the numbers so you can start working on a budget for your big move to Tennessee.

We’ve crunched the numbers from census data, federal government resources, state and local data, as well as interviews and chats with people who’ve made the move from Kentucky to Tennessee.

While there are many things we can’t control when moving to a new state, like the overall cost of living and housing prices, we’ve found that one of the single most effective ways to save money is by getting a better deal on your insurance policies.

That’s why we’ve partnered with trusted insurance providers and some of the best in Tennessee to bring your free quote tools that you can access while you plan out your move.

Good luck! We wish you the best as you get settled into your home and start feeling like a Tennessee local.