The Best Car Insurance Companies for High-Risk Drivers

If you're struggling to find affordable insurance coverage after a speeding ticket, DUI or accident, consider a policy from one of these insurance companies.

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What is the best car insurance for a bad driver?

Car insurance companies are built on anticipating and accounting for risk. If you’re a high-risk driver, you’re not an insurance company’s dream candidate. Your status as a high-risk driver — to an insurance company — is comprised of your behavior behind the wheel and non-driving factors. Your driving and claims records are primary indicators of your “risk level,” but other factors include age, credit score and location.

 

The top 3 car insurance companies for high-risk drivers

USAA, State Farm and American Family Insurance are three of the best major car insurance companies for those with accidents or other infractions on their driving records. While these companies will raise premiums after an accident or other violation, these rate hikes tend to be smaller than those levied by other insurance companies.

Your rates may vary, depending on the type of infraction and other factors that could affect your rates.  

 

American Family Insurance

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American Family Insurance doesn't have as wide a geographic footprint as some other major insurance companies, as it currently serves only 19 states. However, high-risk drivers residing in a state in which policies are available should consider American Family. 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 coverage you must meet the following criteria:

  • Maintain an accident-free record for five years 
  • Must be an exiting American Family policyholder for five years
  • No major violations or infractions

 

State Farm

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State Farm is one of America's largest insurance companies. While State Farm is not often known as the cheapest option, high-risk drivers 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 driving record, 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

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USAA is widely known as an affordable car insurance company, and this holds true for high-risk drivers. USAA's car insurance rates do not increase as dramatically as the rates of some of their competitors. However, USAA coverage is not available to everyone. Customers must be members of the military — or their immediate relatives — to purchase a policy. USAA offers accident forgiveness, which can keep your rates from spiking after an at-fault accident. Further discounts or ways for high-risk drivers to save on a USAA car insurance policy include:

  • Enrollment in the SafePilot telematics program
  • Mulitple policy bundle
  • Installing an anti-theft device
 

 

Take a deep dive into car insurance for high-risk drivers:
  1. High-risk insurance factors — driving
  2. High-risk insurance factors — non-driving
  3. How do license points affect car insurance?
  4. How to save on high-risk auto insurance
  5. Where to get a high-risk car insurance policy
  6. FAQs

 


 


What makes an insurance company consider you a bad driver?

When an insurance company calculates your premium for your auto insurance policy, they assess driving and non-driving factors to determine how much risk you pose.

Insurers typically look at the number of violations or citations you've received, paying special attention to the below:


At-fault accidents

These car insurance companies provide the cheapest six-month policy after an at-fault accident:

An at-fault accident — especially with a bodily injury payout — can be a major indicator of insurance risk. It’s not only a financial burden for the insurance company, which is responsible for damages through liability coverage, but an ongoing accumulation of risk as the company insures you moving forward. An at-fault car accident increases auto insurance premiums by an average of $658 per year.

Time After At-Fault Accident
Average Increase
Increase at 6 months
$329
Increase at 12 months
$658
Increase at 3 years
$1,974


In most states, your car insurance rates will go up for three years following an at-fault accident. Below are car insurance premiums from popular companies after a driver has been involved in an at-fault accident.

Car Insurance Company

6-Month Premium

Allstate$1,706
American Family$884
Farmers$1,138
GEICO$982
Liberty Mutual$1,179
Nationwide$952
Progressive$1,088
State Farm$810
Travelers$923
USAA$767

For more information, see our guide to finding insurance after a car accident.

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Speeding tickets

The following insurers provide the cheapest rates for a six-month policy for drivers with speeding tickets: 

On average, you can expect your insurance costs to increase by $347 per year after a ticket. Depending on the severity of the violation, the insurance consequences of a ticket will vary. Less severe violations — like speeding — have a smaller impact on insurance premiums. But don't be fooled: speeding tickets are seen as precursors of more serious incidents, resulting in raised insurance rates.

Length of Time After Ticket
Premium Increase
Increase at 6 months
$174
Increase at 12 months
$347
Increase at 3 years
$1,041


Like an at-fault accident, you can be charged for a ticket for three to five years after a ticket citation. Below are some average car insurance premiums you can expect by insurance carrier.

Insurance Provider

6-Month Premium After Speeding: 11-15 MPH > Limit

Allstate$1,261
American Family$823
Farmers$975
GEICO$785
Liberty Mutual$997
Nationwide$841
Progressive$885
State Farm$764
Travelers$881
USAA$677

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Reckless driving

The following insurers provide the cheapest rates for a six-month policy after a reckless driving charge: 

Insurance rates rise by an average of over $500 per six-month policy period after a reckless driving charge — or over $3,000 over the course of the three-year chargeable period. In many states, reckless driving 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 reckless driving charge is the fifth most expensive citation that affects car insurance.

Time After Reckless Driving Charge
Average Increase
Increase at 6 months
$445
Increase at 12 months
$890
Increase at 3 years
$2,670


The average premium after a reckless driving charge is $1,173 for a six-month policy. Your cheapest option, according to our data, is State Farm if you don't qualify for USAA.

Insurance Provider

6-Month Premium After Reckless Driving

Allstate$1,949
American Family$988
Farmers$1,309
GEICO$1,225
Liberty Mutual$1,275
Nationwide$1,357
Progressive$1,015
State Farm$906
Travelers$955
USAA$841

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Racing

The average cost of a six-month policy is cheapest with these insurance companies:

Because of the dangers associated with racing, this citation carries some very costly insurance consequences and is the second most expensive violation to affect car insurance premiums. Drivers charged with a racing violation were charged an additional $979 per year for auto insurance. Drive smart — don’t race on public roads!

Time After Racing Charge
Average Increase
Increase at 6 months
$490
Increase at 12 months
$979
Increase at 3 years
$2,937

In our survey of top insurance companies after a racing citation, we discovered insurance companies charge drivers cited for racing $1,218 per six-month policy. This rate is 67% more than what a driver without citations would pay for car insurance.

Insurance Provider

6-Month Premium After Racing Violation

Allstate$1,992
American Family$988
Farmers$1,337
GEICO$1,264
Liberty Mutual$1,275
Nationwide$1,479
Progressive$1,059
State Farm$925
Travelers$955
USAA$1,092

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DUI

If you have a DUI, the average cost of a six-month policy is typically cheapest with these insurance companies:

On average, your premium will increase by $477 for a six-month policy after you’re charged with a DUI. This comes out to over $79 per month in excess premium. 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 65% if you’re charged with a DUI or DWI — not to mention any additional fees or legal ramifications.

For more information and state-by-state cost breakdowns, check out our guide on DWI and auto insurance.

Length of Time After DUI Conviction
Average Increase
Increase at 6 months
$477
Increase at 12 months
$953
Increase at 3 years
$2,859


If you’ve been charged with a DUI, your cheapest insurance provider might be American Family, Progressive or State Farm.

Insurance Company

6-Month Premium After DUI

Allstate$2,001
American Family$823
Farmers$1,244
GEICO$1,377
Liberty Mutual$1,317
Nationwide$1,479
Progressive$919
State Farm$940
Travelers$1,003
USAA$1,106

What makes you a high-risk driver? Non-driving factors:

While violations and accidents can cause increases in your rates, there are also a number of personal factors that can influence how much you pay for car insurance. This can include factors such as your credit score, marital status, and even the neighborhood you live in. 

 

The top 3 car insurance carriers for high-risk non-driving factors

USAAGEICO and Nationwide generally offer the best rates for drivers who fall into the high-risk category for factors unrelated to driving. If you fall into this category, you may want to start your car insurance search with these companies. However, underwriters for insurers may rate you differently depending on your individual profile, so use the rates that we provide as a guide only. Keep reading to get a sense of how much rates are impacted by these non-driving rating factors. Non-driving red flags commonly used by car insurance companies include:

 

Poor credit

If you have a poor credit score, look to the following insurance companies for the cheapest average cost of a six-month policy:

To an insurance company, your credit score is a reflection of what kind of driver you will be. FTC studies show drivers with low credit scores are more likely to file a claim than are drivers with better credit — and when drivers with poor credit do file claims, they lead to more expensive payouts. Any time more risk is involved, your insurance company will protect itself by charging an inflated premium.

FICO Credit Tier

Average 6-Month Premium

Very Poor (300-579)$1,424
Fair (580-669)
$1,127
Good (670-739)
$930
Very Good (740-799)
$779
Exceptional (800-850)
$641


If you have poor or low credit, consider the following insurance providers as a good jumping-off point for your search for affordable car insurance.

Insurance companyVery Poor (300-579)Fair (580-669)
Allstate$1,577$1,341
American Family$1,254$1,036
Farmers$1,179$1,006
GEICO$903$752
Liberty Mutual$1,921$1,074
Nationwide$785$711
Progressive$1,181$944
State Farm$1,481$1,132
Travelers$1,426$1,195
USAA$1,382$1,051

If this policy of using your credit score to determine your insurance premium seems unfair to you, you're not alone — the states of California, Hawaii and Massachusetts consider credit score car insurance profiling a discriminatory practice. Learn more about how to find car insurance with bad credit.

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Age

Drivers who are in their 20s or 40s should look to GEICO, Nationwide and USAA  for the cheapest average cost of a six-month policy. As far as driving is concerned, youth equates to inexperience — and this means risk. Insurance companies see teenage drivers as high-risk due to their lack of driving experience, which correlates to an increased likelihood of filing a claim. If you’re a young driver looking for car insurance savings, check out our guide here

Below are samples of rates comparing six-month premiums between young adults in their 20s versus adults in their 40s.

Insurance companyDrivers in their 20sDrivers in their 40s
Allstate$1,255$999
American Family$834$621
Farmers$953$744
GEICO$700$556
Liberty Mutual$1,053$718
Nationwide$730$498
Progressive$822$592
State Farm$851$621
Travelers$797$602
USAA$772$552

 

Location

Because insurance is priced by zip code and regulated by your state, your location impacts car insurance rates. Living in a state with onerous insurance regulations — such as Michigan or other no-fault insurance states — can impact your premium regardless of your driving record. Learn more about auto insurance costs by state.

State6-Month Premium
Michigan$1,267
Louisiana$1,152
Florida$1,162
Kentucky$925
Rhode Island$937

 

Insurance coverage history

Gaps or lapses in auto insurance coverage are seen as red flags by insurance companies. Drivers with uninterrupted histories of carrying car insurance with high coverage levels are seen as more financially responsible than drivers with coverage lapses.

Insurance History6-Month Premium
None$819
6 Months$768
1 Year$763
3 Years$747
5 Years$735


Looking at the data above, a driver with the same current coverage but no insurance history pays over $80 more for car insurance than a driver with five years of insurance history. If your insurance company sees you as financially responsible, they will reward you with a lower premium. Certain insurers won't even draft a policy for a driver who hasn't maintained continuous coverage for the past six months.

 

Vehicle use

The way in which you use your vehicle can impact your insurance rates. If you use your vehicle for rideshare or commercial purposes, your insurance company might deny coverage outright based on the risk. Using your vehicle in high-density areas — and driving more miles — warrants the premium increase.

Vehicle Use

6-Month Premium

Farm$699
Pleasure$741
Work/commute, less than 10 miles$744
Work/commute, 10-15 miles$747
Work/commute, 15+ miles$750
Business$825

Compare insurance rates for pleasure use vs. commuter use policies.

 

Vehicle type

Owning a high-performance vehicle is considered by insurance companies as an added risk. Vehicles that are capable of off-roading or hitting high speeds, or those with valuable parts, are seen as a risky investment to an insurance company.

Vehicle Type

6-Month Premium

Sedan$1,129
Truck$849
SUV$959
Van$808
Luxury$1,058
Hybrid/green$1,112

 

License points and car insurance

Many states use “points" systems to score driving violations. Each violation is tied to a specific number of “points” that stay on your record for a length of time dependent on your state and the severity of the violation. If you earn a certain number of points, you can lose your license.

However, your insurance company doesn’t cite points directly — they use your Motor Vehicle Report (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 high premium, they do not lead directly to higher premiums.

Learn more about the relationship between points on your license and insurance premiums.

 

How to save on high-risk car insurance

Below are some quick ways you can save on car insurance as a high-risk driver.

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 than in premium surcharges than the out-of-pocket expense. If you're unsure whether to file a claim, follow our guide below.

  • Get an estimate for the out-of-pocket expense at a local repair shop.
  • Use our State of Insurance study to see how much an at-fault accident would raise rates in your state. Consider that value cumulatively over three years.
  • Compare the out-of-pocket expenses to the rate increase plus your deductible. If it is cheaper to pay for the damage yourself, take that approach. 

For example:

You back into your mailbox and cause $1,300 worth of damage to your vehicle. In the state of California, the average collision claim with this amount of damage raised rates $1,429 per year. Over three years, this increase would be multiplied to $4,287. If you have a $500 deductible, your total amount paid for this single claim would be $4,787. In this situation, you would save yourself $3,487 by paying out-of-pocket. Learn more about when and when not to file an insurance claim.

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. The skills you learn in your course may actually help you become a safer driver, thus avoiding traffic violations and accidents.


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.


Wait for your violations to expire

Stay on top of when your violation will expire. When the clock runs out, contact your insurance company to ensure you’re not being charged for the violation after the period has passed. Your insurance rate will be “re-run” every six months, but if your violation subsides prior to that, you need to reach out to your company directly. Chances are they will not adjust the rate unprompted.

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, you will not be able to legally drive your vehicle without insurance coverage. However, this could be a good solution if you’re out of options and low on money.


Compare insurance quotese

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. As you can see with the insurer data we displayed above (methodology), there is a lot of variation between companies. 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.

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Where can I 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, which specifically cater to the high-risk category of drivers — 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 expensive.

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 and compare quotes

Below are companies that cater to high-risk drivers: 

 

High-risk insurance FAQs

 

What is high-risk car insurance?

High-risk car insurance is really no different than normal car insurance. What is different, however, is the driver. Insurance companies aren’t eager to provide coverage to drivers with a history of at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, or other infractions, as they are more likely to file claims. Similarly, data suggest that drivers who are younger, have bad credit, or live in certain ZIP codes are also more likely to file a claim or have one filed against them. Because of this added risk, high-risk drivers almost always pay higher insurance rates and have a smaller choice of insurance companies to choose from.

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 65%, which adds up to an extra $477 for a six-month policy. On the other hand, a speeding ticket could increase the cost of a six-month policy by an average of $174.

What makes a driver high-risk?

Driving and non-driving factors alike might cause an insurance company to classify a driver as high-risk. Driving factors include things such as a history of at-fault accidents, a high number of claims, a hit-and-run, or a DUI. Non-driving factors include a driver’s age, gender, address, vehicle, or credit score (except in Hawaii, California, and Massachusetts). Any of these factors could cause an insurance company to see you as an elevated risk.

Which company has the cheapest car insurance for high-risk drivers?

This depends on your individual situation. However, 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, among others. 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, though prices depend on the offense. Chances are a major carrier will not offer the cheapest rate. For this, it might be worth looking into a non-standard carrier specializing in high-risk insurance.

What if I can’t find car insurance?

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 of 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 (those with a hit-and-run or multiple DUI convictions), most states have what is known as a high-risk pool. Your state can mandate that insurance companies provide auto coverage to these drivers. Be aware, however, that this coverage is not likely to be cheap.

 

Learn more about high-risk car insurance in U.S. states:


AlabamaKansas
AlaskaLouisiana
ArizonaMaine
ArkansasMaryland
CaliforniaMassachusetts
ColoradoMinnesota
ConnecticutMississippi
DelawareMissouri
FloridaMontana
GeorgiaNebraska
HawaiiNevada
IdahoNew Hampshire
IllinoisWisconsin
IndianaWyoming
IowaWashington, D.C.
Ross Martin LinkedIn

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross is responsible for researching and writing about all matters related to auto and home insurance. He has a background in writing and education, as well as a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London. He has been quoted by CNET, iDriveSafely.com, and Kin Insurance.