Car Insurance for Bad Drivers

Learn how to find affordable car insurance rates with a bad driving record.

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Is car insurance more expensive for bad drivers?

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 driving 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.

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%.

Premiums by Violation.png

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.

  1. Speeding tickets
  2. DUI
  3. Reckless driving
  4. At-fault accidents
  5. Racing
  6. Hit-and-runs
  7. How to save

 

Car insurance for bad drivers: violation types

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 violations and tickets and their associated premium hikes.


Speeding tickets

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.

6-month premium: no violationPremium after speeding: 11 - 15 MPH > limit
Allstate - $944$1,140
GEICO - $638$758
Farmers - $763$966
Liberty Mutual - $824$997
Nationwide - $674$864
Progressive - $802$1,033
State Farm - $657$738

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


DUIs

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 $660 - $1,745 per year.

6-month premium: no violationPremium with DUI
Allstate - $944$1,817
GEICO - $638$1,323
Farmers - $763$1,316
Liberty Mutual - $824$1,317
Nationwide - $674$1,546
Progressive - $802$1,002
State Farm - $657$987


If you’re in the market for car insurance after a DUI, State Farm might be the cheapest insurer for you. 


Reckless driving

A reckless driving charge means you were driving with blatant disregard for the rules of the road. On average, this charge can increase your premium 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.

6-month premium no violationPremium after reckless driving
Allstate - $944$1,767
GEICO - $638$1,227
Farmers - $763$1,432
Liberty Mutual - $824$1,275
Nationwide - $674$1,481
Progressive - $802$1,188
State Farm - $657$965


If you're looking for cheap car insurance companies after a reckless driving charge, consider State Farm, Progressive, or GEICO.

 

At-fault accidents and claims

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.

6-month premium: no incidentsPremium with an at-fault accident
Allstate - $944$1,508
GEICO - $638$998
Farmers - $763$1,113
Liberty Mutual - $824$1,179
Nationwide - $674$1,087
Progressive - $802$1,386
State Farm - $657$809

For more information related to car insurance with an accident history, see here.

 

Racing

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.

6-month premium no violationPremium after racing
Allstate - $944$1,768
GEICO - $638$1,204
Farmers - $763$1,304
Liberty Mutual - $824$1,275
Nationwide - $674$1,563
Progressive - $802$1,190
State Farm - $657$975

Concerned about your rate after a racing violation? Consider starting your search with State Farm and Progressive.

 

Hit-and-runs

If you're caught and charged with a hit-and-run, be prepared to pay for the consequences by way of the most expensive violation to affect your premium and 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 insurance 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.

6-month premium no violationPremium after hit-and-run
Allstate - $944$1,808
GEICO - $638$1,388
Farmers - $763$1,441
Liberty Mutual - $824$1,333
Nationwide - $674$1,563
Progressive - $802$1,192
State Farm - $657$971

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.

 


 

Finding cheap car insurance with a bad driving history

Let’s outline some ways to find affordable car insurance with a less-than-perfect driving history.


Be smart about filing claims

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:

  • Out-of-pocket cost: $1,500
  • Deductible: $500
  • Average rate increase in the US after a collision claim: $617
  • Total amount of surcharge after 3 years: $1,851
  • Surcharge + deductible: $2,351
  • Difference between out-of-pocket and claim: $851

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.


Bundle when possible

If you have a renters or homeowners policy, get a quote for a home-and-auto bundle! This will not only lower your auto insurance policy but your homeowners policy costs as well.


Government insurance programs

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.


Wait for the violations to fall off your driving record

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.


Chose a non-standard insurance company

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 standard and non-standard companies to get you insured. Enter your zip code below to get started.

 

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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!

  • Kemper
  • Gainsco
  • The General
  • SafeAuto
  • Unique/Stonegate/Lighthouse
  • Jupiter
  • Direct Auto
  • Hallmark
  • Traders
  • Commonwealth
  • Foremost
  • Infinity
  • Aspire
  • Falcon Insurance
  • Assurance America
  • Founders Insurance
  • Pronto
  • Arrowhead

 

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Recent Questions:

Cheap Car Insurance for Bad Drivers

If the person who damaged my vehicle is paying for the repair out of pocket, will the claim show up anywhere on my record?

Unless you notified an insurance company to file a claim or a police officer wrote an incident report of the damage, the repair will not be documented on your driving record or claims history. Insurance companies verify your driving history by looking at your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) and CLUE report.

How can I get insurance with a not so good driving record?

Unfortunately the decreasing of points on your license doesn't necessarily translate to lower insurance rates, because the original ticket itself is still on your record. If you happen to have tickets actually dropped from your driving record then that would lead to lower rates.

How do I get my insurance company to stop charging me for a ticket that was expunged from my record?

If you are being charged for a ticket that has already been removed from your record, you may be required to show proof to your insurance company that the ticket has been dropped. If the ticket has been dropped and your insurance company will not lower your rate, you should consider shopping with a new insurance company.

What is the best way to find an insurance policy with a bad driving record?

There are 2 things I can recommend that should lead you to success: 1st - Quote with as many companies as possible. 2nd - Disclose everything on your driving record when quoting.