Learn how to find affordable car insurance rates with a bad driving record.
In most cases, yes. If you’re seen as a bad driver, your premium will be higher as a result. Serious violations like a DUI or hit-and-run will significantly raise your rate by over 70%.
Car insurance is a double-edged sword: the more you use it, the more you pay for it. Regardless of your reason for filing a claim, frequent payouts or lots of traffic violations result in your being seen as a risky, i.e., "bad" driver, by insurance companies. If an insurance company sees you as a risky customer, it will cushion its risk exposure by charging higher premiums.
Below is a list of the cheapest car insurance company after certain violations along with the average cost of a six-month policy:
|Violation/accident type||Cheapest company||Cheapest company 6-month cost:||Average 6-month cost||Average 6-month savings|
|Speeding tickets||State Farm||$738||$964||$226|
|Reckless driving||State Farm||$965||$1,293||$328|
|At-fault accidents||State Farm||$809||$1,158||$349|
But not all insurance companies will charge you the same premiums after certain violations. Let’s explore how companies evaluate “bad” driving records and review some tips on how to find car insurance with violations or claims on your record.
Speeding, reckless driving, or racing can seriously impact your auto insurance rates. Depending on your violation-type and your state, you can be charged the next three to ten years after a citation. Let’s break down the most common traffic violations and tickets and their associated premium hikes.
Most tickets remain chargeable on insurance premiums for three years. Depending on the insurance company, the rate increase after a speeding ticket can vary greatly. The Zebra's data shows auto insurance premiums increase by between and $120 and $230 per six-month policy after a speeding ticket.
|Company||6-month premium: no violation||Premium after speeding: 11 - 15 MPH > limit|
While State Farm is not one of the cheapest auto insurance companies without a speeding ticket, they are after a citation. See our in-depth guide to finding affordable car insurance with speeding tickets.
A DUI or DWI is a major violation. On average, a DUI can raise your rates by 74% annually. In states like North Carolina and Hawaii, your insurance rates could increase by as much as 320% and 240%, respectively. In California, a DUI can remain on your record for ten years.
Outside of a hit-and-run or racing violation, a DUI is the third-costliest violation you can receive as a driver. For the insurance providers sampled by The Zebra, the average rate increase after a DUI was $1,745 per year.
|Company||6-month premium: no violation||Premium with DUI|
If you’re in the market for car insurance after a DUI, State Farm might be the cheapest insurer for you.
A reckless driving charge means you were driving with blatant disregard for the rules of the road. On average, this charge can increase your insurance costs by as much as 70%! Looking at the data below, the average increase for the insurers we surveyed was $530 for a six-month premium, or $1,060 per year.
|Company||6-month premium no violation||Premium after reckless driving|
Anytime your provider pays out a claim — even a small one — you should expect your insurance premium to increase. On average, an at-fault accident claim raised premiums by $617 per year in 2019 — over 40%. Among the insurers sampled by The Zebra, this average increase was even larger — after an accident with more than $2,000 in damages, the average increase was almost $400 per six months.
|Company||6-month premium: no incidents||Premium with an at-fault accident|
On average, a racing violation can raise your premium by over 73%, making it one of the most expensive citations you can have on your record. Of all insurers surveyed, the average premium increase calculated to an additional $568 per 6-month policy period or $1,136 per year.
|Company||6-month premium no violation||Premium after racing|
Concerned about your rate after a racing violation? Consider starting your search with State Farm and Progressive.
If you're caught and charged with a hit-and-run, be prepared to pay for the consequences. A hit-and-run is the most expensive violation to affect your premium and a will deal a significant blow to your driving record. Leaving the scene of an accident is a very serious charge that will be rated by your insurer for three to five years — meaning that on average, you'll be paying over 80% more for your car insurance policy until it falls off your record. Expect to pay an extra $1,200 or more per year if you have a hit-and-run on your record.
|Company||6-month premium no violation||Premium after hit-and-run|
There is quite a lot of variance when it comes to by how much individual insurance companies will raise your premium by after a hit-and-run. State Farm, Progressive, and Liberty Mutual may be good starting points if you're looking for a cheaper rate.
Let’s outline some ways to find affordable car insurance with a less-than-perfect driving history.
Before you file a claim, you should do a little math. For example, you collide with a pole and cause $1,500 worth of damage to your own vehicle. The average collision claim raised premiums $617 in 2019. That $617 will stay on your premium as a chargeable claim for at least three years — meaning it will actually cost you $1,851.
If your collision deductible is $500, the total monetary impact of this claim increases to $2,351. Compared to the out-of-pocket damage of $1,500, you can save yourself nearly $1,000 by paying for your damage out-of-pocket. Simplified below:
Bear in mind, there may be times you won’t be able to opt-out of insurance intervention. If you’ve damaged another person’s vehicle, they have every right to go through your insurance coverage rather than let you pay out-of-pocket.
If you have a renters or homeowners policy, get a quote for a home-and-auto bundle. This could reduce your auto insurance policy premium and your homeowners policy costs.
For some insurance companies, the risk of a guaranteed claim payout on their end is too high to insure. Still, state governments recognize that the legal requirement of car insurance puts these high-risk drivers on the verge of driving without insurance. So, each state goes through their DMV and groups these high-risk drivers together in a pool and assigns a certain number of these individuals to insurance companies — otherwise known as Assigned Risk Insurance.
Insurance companies are required to insure these drivers, although they will usually charge quite high for them and have different conditions for them as well. In order to be considered in this “pool,” you have to apply and prove you have no other option for car insurance, i.e., you keep getting denied coverage.
Again, this is pretty obvious but it is still worth noting. In most states and for most violations, you will be rated (charged) for three years. So, by maintaining insurance either with a standard or non-standard company for three years, you can expect your insurance rate to drop if you don’t have any further traffic violations or claims.
The difference between an assigned risk pool program and a non-standard company is basically the involvement of your government. Non-standard companies are not assigned any clients but they still specialize in high-risk drivers. Here at The Zebra, we specialize in both standard and non-standard companies to get you insured. Enter your ZIP code below to get started.
Most every company will at least pull your driving record, as it would almost be irresponsible not to. However, the degree to which your previous infractions will affect your rate varies from company to company.
If you've been rejected by the big companies like State Farm, GEICO, or Allstate, you should consider a smaller company. Below are some of the companies we work with throughout the US. If you're interested, enter your zip code to get insurance quotes from these carriers and others!
Even the best car insurance can be pricy for drivers with a poor driving history. However, that doesn't mean that you can't find affordable rates. The first step is to shop for auto insurance quotes. Getting car insurance quotes is one of the best ways to check prices and compare policies. The Zebra can get you a number of free quotes so that you can find the cheap auto insurance policy that you're looking for.