Cheap Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

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

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What is high-risk 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. 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. High-risk driving — driving rating factors
  2. High-risk driving — non-driving factors
  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 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 Accident
Average 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. Below are car insurance premiums after an at-fault accident by popular insurance carriers. 

Car Insurance Provider

6-month premium

Allstate$945
Farmers$797
GEICO$657
Liberty$797
Nationwide$675
Progressive$788
State Farm$655
USAA$498

For more information, see our guide here.

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Speeding tickets

On average, you can expect your premium to increase $309 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 after Ticket

Amount of Premium Increase

Increase at 6 months

$155

Increase at 12 months

$309

Increase at 3 Years

$926


Like an at-fault accident, you can be charged for a ticket for 3 to 5 years after a ticket citation. Below are some average car insurance premiums you can expect by insurance carrier. 

Insurance Provider

Premium after speeding: 11 - 15 MPH > limit

Allstate$860
GEICO$2,909
Farmers$1,163
Liberty Mutual$2,003
Nationwide$1,608
Progressive$2,274
State Farm$1,620

 

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Reckless driving

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. 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. 

Year after Reckless Driving Charge

Average Increase

Increase at 6 months

$499

Increase at 12 months

$997

Increase at 3 Years

$2,992

The average premium after a reckless driving charge is $1,318 for a 6-month policy. Your cheapest option, according to our data, is Nationwide.

Insurance Provider

6-month Premium at Reckless Driving

Allstate$1,348
GEICO$1,841
Farmers$1,129
Liberty Mutual$1,152
Nationwide$1,111
Progressive$1,415
State Farm$1,227

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Racing

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 Charge

Average Increase

Increase at 6 months

$523

Increase at 12 months

$1,045

Increase at 3 Years

$3,135

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DUI

On average, your premium will increase $529 every 6-months after you’re charged with a DUI. This comes out to $88 per month! 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 DUI

Average Increase

Increase at 6 months

$529

Increase at 12 months

$1,057

Increase at 3 Years

$3,171


If you’ve been charged with a DUI, your cheapest insurance carrier might be Liberty Mutual.

Insurance Provider

6-Month Premium with DUI

Allstate$1,371
GEICO$1,731
Farmers$1,316
Liberty Mutual$1,124
Nationwide$1,340
Progressive$1,450
State Farm$1,239

 

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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:

 

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 Level

Average Annual Premium

Poor

$2,411

Below fair

$1,934

Fair

$1,571

Good

$1,323

Excellent

$1,130


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.

Car Insurance CompanyVery Poor (300-579)Fair (580-669)
Farmers$2,044$1,774
Nationwide$2,411$1,983
Progressive$2,616$2,157
GEICO2720$2,212
State Farm2907$2,359
Liberty Mutual2911$2,335
Allstate2913$2,403

If this policy of using your credit score to determine your insurance premium seems unfair to you, you're not alone. California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts do not follow this practice. These states consider credit score car insurance profiling a discriminatory practice. For more information on finding car insurance with bad credit, see here.

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Age

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 or check our rates below!

Car Insurance ProviderAverage 6-month premium
State Farm$2,999
Allstate$2,295
Geico$987
Progressive$1,231
Liberty Mutual$1,676

 

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.

StatePremium
Michigan$1,044
Delaware$1,037
Oklahoma$995
Kentucky$963
Texas$881

 

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. 

Insurance History6-Month Premium
None$828
6 Months$778
1 Year$760
3 Years$742
5 Years$726


Looking at the data above, a driver with the same current coverage but no insurance history pays over $100 more for car insurance than a driver with 5 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 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 Use

6-Month Premium

Farm$624
Pleasure$662
Work/commute, less than 10 miles$665
Work/commute, 10-15 miles$668
Work/commute, 15 miles$673
Business$738

 

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 Type

6-Month Premium

Sedan: Chevy Cruze$688
Truck: Toyota Tacoma$682
SUV: Honda CRV$616
Van: Honda Odyssey$630
Luxury: Acura RDX$715
Hybrid: Toyota Prius$735

 

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?

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

Don't file collision claims

A collision claim is damaged to your vehicle when you collide with a fixed object — another vehicle, a wall, a pole, etc. As we demonstrated above, these claims can drastically increase your premium. But depending on the value of the damage, you could pay more than in premium surcharges than the out of pocket expenses. If you're unsure whether to file a claim, follow our guide below.

  • Get an estimate for the out of pocket expenses.
  • Use our State of Insurance analysis to see how much an at-fault accident would raise rates in your state. Consider that value over 3 years.
  • Compare the out of pocket expenses to the rate increase plus your deductible. If it is cheaper to pay for the damage yourself, do that. 

For example:

You back into your mailbox and cause $1300 worth of damage to your vehicle. In the state of California, the average collision claim raised rates $758 per year. Over three years, this increase would stretch to $2,274. If you have a $500 deductible, your total amount paid for this claim would be $2,774. In this situation, you would save yourself $1,474 by paying out of pocket. For more information on whether to file a claim or not, see our guide here.

 

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.

 
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.


Shop around

This is the best thing you can do. Not all insurance companies will rate or charge you for your violations equally. As you can see with the insurer data we displayed above, there is a lot of variation between companies. The only way to know you're getting the best rate possible is to compare. Enter your zip code below to get started.

 

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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