What is high-risk auto insurance?
High- drivers have a history of at-fault accidents, speeding tickets or other infractions. aren't eager to provide to these drivers as they are more likely to file claims. Data suggest drivers who are younger, have or live in certain ZIP codes are also more likely to file a claim or have one filed against them.
The best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers
USAA, State Farm and American Family are three of the best major for those with accidents or other infractions on their driving records. While these companies will raise premiums after an accident or other , these rate hikes tend to be smaller than those levied by other . Any of them could be a good fit if you're looking specifically for high- that are reputable and can meet the needs of other drivers in your household, as well.
American Family doesn't have as wide a geographic footprint as some other major , as it currently serves only 19 states. However, high- drivers residing in a state in which policies are available should consider American Family (they even offer policies through Costco). The company's rates usually increase by a relatively small margin after common driving infractions. The company's accident forgiveness policy allows customers to avoid steep rate increases following their first at-fault accident. To be eligible for this you must meet the following criteria:
- Maintain an accident-free record for five years
- Must have held an American Family policy for five years
- No major violations or infractions
State Farm is one of America's largest . While State Farm is not often known as the cheapest option, drivers who are in the category can expect relatively minor increases in their premiums after committing any of a number of different driving violations. The company also offers discounts that may lessen the impact of a poor , including:
- Enrollment in the State Farm Drive Safe & SaveTM and Steer Clear® programs
- Driver training or defensive driving courses
- Vehicle safety discounts
- Bundling multiple policies
USAA is widely known as an affordable members of the military community — or their immediate relatives — to purchase a policy. USAA offers accident forgiveness, which can keep your rates from spiking after an at-fault accident. If you qualify for USAA, it could be a great option if you're looking for from a well-known . Further discounts or other ways for high- drivers to save on a USAA include:, and this holds true for high- drivers. USAA's rates do not increase as dramatically as the rates of some of its competitors. However, USAA is not available to everyone. Customers must be
- Enrollment in the SafePilot telematics program
- Multiple policy bundling
- Installing an anti-theft device
Need insurance now as a high-risk driver?
What driving factors make you a high-risk driver?
First, insurers typically look at the number of violations or citations you've received. Let's explore some of these common violations and consider the impact they could have on your , and whether or not you may be considered a with in the eyes of an .
As a , an at-fault accident — especially with a bodily injury payout — can be a major indicator of . It's not only a financial burden for the , which is responsible for damages through liability , but an ongoing accumulation of as the company insures you in the future. An at-fault car accident increases premiums by an average of $845 per year.
In most states, your will go up for three years following an at-fault accident. USAA, State Farm and Nationwide provide the cheapest policies after an at-fault accident. For more information, see our guide to finding after a car accident.
Dynamic auto insurance data methodology
Methodology: The auto insurance rates displayed above and throughout this page are dynamic, meaning the data will refresh when the most recent information is made available. Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage. This profile was adjusted based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies, like age, coverage level, driving record and others.
On average, you can expect your costs to increase by $431 per year after a ticket. Depending on the severity of the , the consequences of a ticket will vary. Less severe violations — like speeding — have a smaller impact on premiums. But don't be fooled: speeding tickets are seen as precursors of more serious incidents, resulting in raised rates.
Like an at-fault accident, you can be charged for a ticket for three to five years after a ticket citation. USAA, State Farm and GEICO provide the cheapest rates for drivers with speeding tickets.
rates rise by an average of over $1,428 per year after a charge — or over $4,000 in extra premium over the course of the three-year chargeable period. In many states, is defined as driving dangerously and without care, potentially resulting in bodily harm and/or property damage, and is considered a major moving violation. A charge is the sixth most expensive citation that affects .
The average premium after a charge is $3,187 a year. USAA, State Farm and Progressive provide the cheapest rates after a charge.
Because of the dangers associated with street racing, this citation carries some very costly consequences and is the second most expensive violation to affect premiums. Drivers charged with a racing violation were charged an additional $1,500 per year for . Drive smart — don't race on public roads!
In our survey of top after a racing citation, we discovered charge drivers cited for racing $1,218 per six-month policy. USAA, State Farm and GEICO provide the cheapest options.
On average, your premium will increase by $1,681 annually after you're charged with a DUI. This comes out to $140 per month in excess premium, making DUIs the second most impactful violation to affect your rate. DUIs result in more property damage, bodily injury and death benefit payouts than any other citation. Regardless of your location, expect your premium to rise by about 96% if you're a charged with a DUI or DWI — not to mention any additional fees or legal ramifications.
If you've been charged with a DUI, your cheapest might be Progressive, USAA and Farmers. For more information and state-by-state cost breakdowns, check out our guide on shopping for with a DUI.
Comparing your car insurance options is quick, simple and hassle-free.
What non-driving factors make you a high-risk driver?
While violations and accidents can lead to higher premiums, a number of personal factors can also influence rates.
To an , your is a reflection of what kind of you will be. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) studies show drivers with low credit scores are more likely to file a claim than drivers with better credit — and when drivers with do file claims, they lead to more expensive payouts. Any time more is involved, your will protect itself by charging an inflated premium.
If you have poor or low credit, Nationwide, GEICO and USAA will likely offer the cheapest policies.
If using your to determine your premium seems unfair to you, you're not alone — some states consider profiling a discriminatory practice and ban its use in determining car insurance rates. Learn more about how to find with .
|Credit Tier||Avg. Annual Premium||Avg. Monthly Premium|
As far as driving is concerned, age matters and youth equates to inexperience behind the wheel of — to put it simply, a is more of a . see teenage drivers as high- due to their lack of driving experience, which correlates to an increased likelihood of filing a claim.
Below are samples of rates comparing yearly and monthly premiums between people in their 20s versus adults in their 40s. Drivers who are in their 20s should look to USAA, GEICO and Nationwide for the cheapest average rates. Read more about how to find cheap as a young adult.
Gaps or lapses in are seen as red flags by . Drivers with uninterrupted histories of carrying with high levels are seen as more financially responsible than drivers with lapses.
Looking at the data, a with the same current car insurance but no history pays over $190 more for than a with five years of history. If your sees you as financially responsible, they will reward you with a lower premium. Certain insurers won't even draft a policy for a who hasn't maintained continuous for the past six months.
|Insurance History||Avg. Annual Premium||Avg. Monthly Premium|
|6 Months with 50-100 BI Limit||$1,805||$150|
|1 Year with 50-100 BI Limit||$1,794||$149|
|3 Years with 50-100 BI Limit||$1,760||$147|
|5 Years with 50-100 BI Limit||$1,742||$145|
The way in which you use your vehicle can impact your rates, even if you don't see yourself as a with especially . If you use your vehicle for rideshare or commercial purposes, your might deny outright based on the . Using your vehicle in high-density areas — and driving more miles — warrants the premium increase. As more people become drivers for rideshare companies, it's important to make sure your makes sense for the additional . Use our guide to compare rates for pleasure use vs. commuter use policies.
|Use of Vehicle||Avg. Annual Premium||Avg. Monthly Premium|
|Work - One-way commute (less than 10 miles)||$1,778||$148|
|Work - One-way commute (10-15 miles)||$1,784||$149|
|Work - One-way commute (15+ miles)||$1,799||$150|
rates will vary by vehicle type as well. Owning a high-performance vehicle is considered an added by . that are capable of off-roading or hitting high speeds, or those with valuable parts, are seen as a risky investment to an . This can mean a potentially for a of these types of vehicles.
Many states use “points" systems to score driving violations. Each traffic violation is tied to a specific number of points that stay on your record for a length of time depending on your state and the severity of the violation. If you earn a certain number of points, you can have your license suspended or revoked.
However, your auto insurance company doesn’t cite points directly — they use your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) to see the information that comprises your points total. Your MVR will provide a comprehensive list of any tickets you have been issued, as well as any traffic collisions. Although points on your driver's license can be reflective of a higher-risk driver, they do not lead directly to higher premiums.
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How to save money on high-risk auto insurance
Exercise caution before filing a collision claim
Collision claims are meant to repair damage to your vehicle when you collide with a fixed object — like another vehicle, a wall or a pole. These claims can dramatically increase your premium. But depending on the value of the damage, you could pay more in premium surcharges than the out-of-pocket expense.
Remember that a claim is likely to stay on your insurance record for three to five years. So even if it seems cheaper in the short term to file a claim, you could ultimately end up paying much more in the long run. In general, don't sweat the small stuff.
Learn more about when and when not to file an insurance claim.
Should you file a claim?
- Get an estimate for the out-of-pocket expense at a local repair shop
- Use The Zebra's State of Insurance study or claims calculator to see how much an at-fault accident would raise rates in your state
- Compare the out-of-pocket expenses to the rate increase plus your deductible in case it's cheaper to pay for the damage yourself
Take a defensive driving course
Take the course before the ticket is reported to your insurance company. Although this solution won’t help if you already have the ticket on your record, it’s something to keep in mind in case you are considering signing up for an expensive class. Some states may even allow you to take a defensive driving course in lieu of having points added to your record.
Consider our partner iDriveSafely for an online defensive driving course. Available in nearly every state, the skills you learn in this course may help you become a safer driver, thus avoiding traffic violations and accidents. Learn more about iDriveSafely's defensive driving courses.
Improve your credit score
Improving your credit score from poor to excellent can save you more than $1,400 per year on auto insurance! On average, you can save about 17% with every credit score bracket you move up. According to The Zebra's rate data, drivers with poor credit (scores between 300 and 579) pay $137 more per month for car insurance than drivers with very good credit (between 740 and 799).
Go car-free for a while
At the end of the day, it’s hard to undo mistakes you have already made. If you’re a high-risk driver, you’re going to be paying quite a bit more for car insurance. If you can’t afford car insurance currently and can get by with public transportation, a bicycle or rideshare services, try going car-free.
Bear in mind that you will not be able to legally drive your vehicle without insurance coverage. However, this could be a good solution if you’re on a budget.
Compare insurance quotes
This is the most effective way to save money on auto insurance. Not all insurance companies will rate or charge you for your violations equally. There is a lot of variation between companies and the only way to know you're getting the best rate possible is to compare auto insurance quotes near the end of each policy period.
Get personalized insurance rates in less than 5 minutes.
Where to buy high-risk auto insurance
Because of the risk some drivers present, there are instances where no auto insurance company — not even non-standard insurers, some of which we've listed below — will issue you a policy regardless of how much you're willing to pay. In these unique circumstances, assigned risk insurance comes into play. Assigned risk insurance is a last resort for drivers with very poor driving records seeking car insurance.
In order to qualify for assigned risk insurance, you need to prove you've tried and failed to get insurance multiple times and have been denied based on your driving record. Once that happens, an insurance agent will submit a report to the state notifying them that you need assigned risk insurance. Unfortunately, assigned risk insurance is typically more expensive than other forms of auto insurance.
Being “too risky” for an insurance company isn’t a definable quality. The easiest way to find cheap auto insurance as a high-risk driver is to shop around.
Compare car insurance policies and make an informed decision.
High-risk insurance FAQs
How much is high-risk car insurance?
High-risk drivers will pay more for car insurance. However, the amount your premiums increase will vary depending on a number of variables. For example, a DUI/DWI conviction can raise your premiums by around 96%, which adds up to an extra $1,680 per year. On the other hand, a speeding ticket could increase the annual cost by an average of $431.
Which company has the cheapest car insurance for high-risk drivers?
This depends on your individual situation but among the major carriers, USAA tends to provide the cheapest coverage for drivers in a number of high-risk categories, such as at-fault accidents and speeding tickets. However, as USAA is only available to those in the military (or their immediate family members), other carriers offering lower rates include GEICO, Nationwide and State Farm. Chances are a major carrier will not offer the cheapest rate so it might be worth looking into a carrier that specializes in high-risk insurance.
What if I can’t find auto insurance coverage?
If you are denied coverage from a standard carrier, your best bet is to look for what’s known as a non-standard carrier. These insurance companies specialize in insuring drivers who don’t have the cleanest driving records. While you may forego some of the perks offered by standard carriers like GEICO or State Farm, you will be more likely to find coverage. However, if your driving record is such that even non-standard carriers are wary of taking you, most states have what is known as a high-risk pool. Your state can mandate that insurance companies provide auto coverage to these drivers, but beware this coverage is not cheap.
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About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
- The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
- The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
- The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.