Cheap Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

Even as a high-risk driver, you can still find affordable auto insurance.

What is high-risk car insurance?

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. Status as a high-risk driver — to an insurance company — comprises your behavior behind the wheel and non-driving factors. Your driving and claims record are primary indicators of your “risk level,” but other factors include age, credit score, and location.

Cheap car insurance for high-risk drivers
  1. Why does my driving profile label me as a high-risk driver?
  2. Are there other factors that could label me as a high-risk driver?
  3. How do license points affect car insurance?
  4. How can I save on high-risk auto insurance?
  5. Where can I get a high-risk car insurance policy?

What makes a high-risk driver? Driving factors:

When an insurance company calculates your premium, they assess driving and non-driving factors to determine how much risk you pose. Insurers typically look at the number of at-fault claims, tickets, violations, or citations.

At-fault accidents

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 they insure you moving forward. An at-fault accident increases car insurance premiums by about $612 per year.

Year after At-fault AccidentAverage Increase
Increase at 6 months$306
Increase at 12 months$612
Increase at 3 Years$1,837

In most states, your car insurance rates will go up for three years following an at-fault accident.

Speeding tickets

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 after TicketAmount of Premium Increase
Increase at 6 months$155
Increase at 12 months$309
Increase at 3 Years$926

Reckless driving

In many states, reckless driving is a major moving violation, defined as driving dangerously and without care, potentially resulting in bodily harm and/or property damage. A reckless driving charge is the third most expensive violation for car insurance, behind only racing and driving under the influence. Insurance rates rise by an average of nearly $500 per six-month policy period after a reckless driving charge — or almost $3,000 over the course of the three-year chargeable period.

Year after Reckless Driving ChargeAverage Increase
Increase at 6 months$499
Increase at 12 months$997
Increase at 3 Years$2,992


Because of the dangers associated with racing, this citation carries some costly car insurance consequences. Drivers charged with a racing violation were charged an additional $1,045 per year for auto insurance. Be smart — don’t race on public roads!

Year after Racing ChargeAverage Increase
Increase at 6 months$523
Increase at 12 months$1,045
Increase at 3 Years$3,135


A DUI, or driving under the influence, is a major violation in the eyes of an auto insurance company. DUIs result in more property damage, bodily injury, and death benefit payouts than any other citation. Regardless of location, expect your premium to rise by about 40% 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 to DWI and auto insurance.

Year after DUIAverage Increase
Increase at 6 months$529
Increase at 12 months$1,057
Increase at 3 Years$3,171

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

Many factors influence car insurance rates — some of which are unrelated to your driving history. Non-driving red flags commonly used by car insurance companies include bad credit, lack of driving experience, location in a high claim area, prior gaps in insurance coverage, vehicle use, and vehicle type.

Poor credit

To an insurance company, your credit score is a reflection of what kind of driver you will be. Studies by the FTC have shown that 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 risk is involved, your insurance company will protect itself by charging an inflated premium.

Credit LevelAverage Annual Premium
Below fair$1,934

If this policy of using your credit score to determine your insurance premium seems unfair to you, you're not alone. California, Hawaii, and Massachusettsdo not follow this practice. These states consider credit score car insurance profiling a discriminatory practice.


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 experience and increased likelihood of filing a claim. If you’re a young driver looking for car insurance savings, check out our guide here.


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.


If you reside in a flood-prone, accident-heavy, or driver-dense area, expect your premiums to cover these additional risks.

Insurance history

Gaps in your auto insurance 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. 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.

Insurance HistoryAverage Annual Premium
No Insurance$1,460
1 Year with 50-100 BI Limit$1,356
3 Years with 50-100 BI Limit$1,323
1 Year with 100-300 BI Limit$1,317
5 Years with 50-100 BI Limit$1,311
3 Years with 100-300 BI Limit$1,287
5 Years with 100-300 BI Limit$1,276

Vehicle use

The way in which you use your vehicle can impact on 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 UsePremium
Work/commute, less than 10 miles$1,329
Work/commute, 10-15 miles$1,335
Work/commute, 15 miles$1,345

Vehicle Type

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

Vehicle TypeAverage Annual Premium
Sedan: Chevry Cruze$1,376
Truck: Toyota Tacoma$1,363
SUV: Honda CRV$1,232
Van: Honda Odyssey$1,260
Luxury: Acura RDX$1,429
Hybrid: Toyota Priuis$1,469

License points and your 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 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 license can be reflective of a high premium, they do not lead directly to higher premiums.

If you're looking for further information regarding points on your license and actual premiums, see our guide here.

How to save on high-risk car insurance?

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 defensive driver, thus avoiding citations and accidents.

Improve your credit score

Improving your credit score from poor to excellent can save you more than $1,200 per year on auto insurance! Moving up one credit score bracket is correlated with an average of 17% annual savings.

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.

Shop around

It's important to shop around for car insurance every six months if you’re considered a high-risk driver. If you're tabbed as high-risk because of non-driving characteristics, this step is especially important. Factors like your age and location are bound to change, so it's important to shop for car insurance often to secure savings.

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.

Where to buy high-risk auto insurance

Because of the risk some drivers present, there are instances where no insurance company will issue you a policy — regardless of price. In these unique circumstances, Assigned Risk Insurance comes into play. Assigned Risk Insurance assigns drivers with very poor driving records to insurance companies as a last resort.

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 (potentially the last company you try) will submit a report to the state notifying them that you need Assigned Risk Insurance. Note: Assigned Risk Insurance is typically expensive.

Being “too risky” for an insurance company isn’t a definable quality. Your best bet is to find affordable high-risk auto insurance is to shop around and compare quotes.

Find an affordable policy today!

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