If you have a traffic citation, no driving experience, or poor credit, insurers may classify you as a high-risk driver and raise your premiums accordingly. However, there is still hope. There are many reputable carriers that will insure people with a bad driving record, and if you’re having difficulty finding insurance, your state’s automobile insurance program may be an option.
Find Low-Cost Auto Insurance in Your Area
If you want to get a list of high-risk insurance companies in your area, enter your ZIP code above to get a quote.
Which companies provide the most affordable high-risk auto insurance?
If your driving record places you in one of the high-risk categories, some companies may offer you lower car insurance rates than others. We compared rates from several major insurance companies that provide plans for high-risk drivers, and Geico consistently provided the lowest prices, with rates 36 percent lower than the average.
Geico consistently provided the most affordable rates, providing the least expensive option for each of our sample drivers, though State Farm’s rates were also competitive.
Aside from price, higher-risk drivers should be wary of another hazard: limited availability. If you have one of the above items on your driving record, some insurers may refuse to give you a quote at all.
However, before switching to a nonstandard insurer, we recommend that you try several mainstream insurers. These companies have higher prices and poorer service than standard insurers, so if you can find a standard company that will sell you a policy, it’s often worth the extra effort — even if it takes longer.
The nonstandard insurer we included in our survey, The General, didn’t offer competitive rates to any of our sample drivers. High-risk drivers, on the other hand, may find that mainstream insurers refuse to provide them with a quote at all, whereas nonstandard insurers, such as The General, are more likely to provide coverage.
Because this study is based on a small sample of driver profiles, your rates may differ. Always compare quotes from multiple companies to find the most affordable high-risk auto insurance.
How to get insurance if insurers won’t cover you
Car insurance is required in almost every state, but some insurance companies may refuse coverage to high-risk drivers. There are two main options to consider in this case: nonstandard insurance companies and state-sponsored automobile insurance plans. Unfortunately, both charge drivers higher rates than mainstream providers.
Nonstandard insurance companies are simply those that specialize in providing coverage to those who are unable to obtain a quote from another carrier. Nonstandard insurers are more regional in nature than mainstream insurers, but larger companies include The General, Safe Auto, and National General.
For more information on assigned risk plans, contact an insurance agent or broker, or read about your state’s plan in the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office (AIPSO) directory.
The name and link to the state plan or mechanism for high-risk drivers in each state and the District of Columbia are listed below.
What is a high-risk driver?
A prior DUI offense, age, gaps in insurance coverage, and credit scores can all impact your risk profile, and thus your auto insurance premium.
The following are the most common high-risk factors:
- DUI offense
- Multiple tickets
- Young or first-time drivers
- Lapse in insurance coverage
- Poor credit
- Other serious driving violations
The amount you’ll pay more as a high-risk driver varies, but the more factors that apply to you, the higher your rates. Younger drivers with a traffic infraction have the highest overall rates. Although not every state uses driver’s license points, many of these high-risk factors will also add points to your license.
Your premiums will rise if you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence. When you regain possession of your license, your insurer may be required to file an SR-22 form on your behalf. This form confirms that you have auto insurance with at least the minimum required by the state. You may be required to keep the SR-22 form on file for several years, during which time you will pay higher rates.
While one speeding ticket may not put you in the high-risk category, if you receive multiple infractions or a ticket for exceeding the posted speed limit, you may have difficulty finding an affordable rate.
Young or inexperienced drivers
According to research, young drivers are more likely to engage in risky driving behavior and cause car accidents, so insurance companies adjust their premiums accordingly.
Drivers who are newly licensed, regardless of age, always face higher insurance rates than seasoned drivers who have been driving for a longer period of time. This rule can be circumvented in one way: Request that a more experienced driver add you to their existing insurance policy. This shortcut guarantees that your premiums will be lower.
Insurance coverage lapse
If you let your insurance lapse, whether by canceling your policy or failing to pay your premiums, you’ll discover that your premiums are higher when you reapply. This is because a lapse in coverage indicates to insurers that you may be financially untrustworthy. The good news is that once you’ve proven to the insurance company that you’re a responsible driver, your premiums will return to normal levels. The bad news is that it could take up to six months for your policy premiums to drop.
People with a bad credit history are also considered high-risk drivers. Insurance companies are essentially placing millions of bets in the form of insurance policies, and they want to insure people who are less likely to file claims in order to reduce their risk.
Checking your credit history is one quick and easy way for insurers to estimate the likelihood that you will file a claim. Fortunately, some insurance companies do not conduct credit checks — but you must shop around. Furthermore, some states prohibit insurers from using credit history when calculating rates.
Other serious traffic offenses
A DUI is one example of a serious driving violation, and if you have any other type of serious driving violation, such as hit and run, road rage, reckless driving, or excessive speeding, your insurance premiums will rise. However, higher insurance premiums may be the least of your concerns because some of these moving violations can be considered felonies and result in jail time.
How do I locate high-risk auto insurance?
The first step in locating a good rate for a driver with a poor driving record is to obtain several online quotes from various insurers and compare rates to determine the best plan.
You won’t know which carrier will offer you the lowest premium until you get your quotes. There are additional steps you can take to reduce your rate. With a few exceptions, proactive measures such as the ones listed below may help improve your risk profile:
- Work to raise your credit score.
- As a student, make good grades.
- After a violation, enroll in driving classes.
Remember that your insurance company will want proof of these precautions, so keep detailed records and submit them to the carrier when you’re ready.
Find Low-Cost Auto Insurance in Your Area
Being a high-risk driver does not last indefinitely.
While insurance companies may view you as a high-risk driver today, you’ll be relieved to know that your rates will decrease over time as you demonstrate you’re a safe and responsible driver. Yes, certain events, such as a DUI, will cause you to pay higher premiums for a longer period of time, but most high-risk drivers can begin paying lower rates after a year or two.
Commonly Asked Questions
What exactly is a high-risk driver?
A high-risk driver is someone who insurers believe is more likely than the average driver to file a claim or be involved in an accident. There are no hard and fast rules about who is or isn’t high-risk, but if you’re young, have multiple serious driving infractions on your record, or have let your insurance lapse, you’re probably high-risk.
How much does high-risk insurance cost?
The amount you’ll pay as a high-risk driver will depend on what makes you high-risk, how long ago the incident occurred, and where you live. However, we discovered that being high-risk can raise your rates by as little as 4% or as much as 165 percent.
What is the best high-risk driver insurance?
Geico provided excellent rates for high-risk drivers, but drivers with extremely low risk profiles may need to consider a nonstandard insurer such as The General or Safe Auto. You can also obtain coverage through your state’s high-risk insurance pool.
Actual quotes will vary based on your physical location, driving history, and other factors, and are based on survey results only. The insurance rate data used in ValuePenguin’s analysis came from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were obtained publicly from insurer filings and should only be used for comparison purposes; your own quotes may differ.