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Best Auto Insurance for High Risk Drivers

May 2024

If you've piled up traffic violations and accidents, or even one serious infraction, the chances are that insurance companies may view you as a high-risk driver. However, there are still things you can do to lower your auto insurance costs and find the best auto insurance rates available.
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If you are considered a high-risk driver, you will probably no longer qualify for the best auto insurance rates. The good news is that there are insurance companies that specialize in insuring high-risk drivers. Find out how much you can save by using these auto insurance carriers.
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What is a high-risk driver?

Drivers fall into one of three groups, depending on their driving and credit histories: preferred, standard, and nonstandard.
High-risk drivers fall in the nonstandard group, which includes people who have one or more of the following on their record:
  • Several traffic tickets or accidents
  • Reckless driving
  • A DUI or DWI
  • Driving without a license
  • Excessive speeding
  • Illegal street racing
  • Any traffic violation that results in a fatality
Additionally, you can be considered a high-risk driver if you have bad credit, are a young driver with no driving record, have allowed your previous auto insurance policy to lapse, or drive an exotic car.
Note that insurance rates can differ, depending on which reason describes you.

The best auto insurance for high-risk drivers

While you can no longer qualify for the best rates insurance companies have to offer, you can still benefit from shopping around to get the lowest rate available to you.

Tips for high-risk drivers

Depending on the reason for your nonstandard classification, don't expect to qualify for lower insurance rates anytime soon. For example, a DUI can remain on your driving record for three to seven years. Other infractions, like speeding tickets and accidents, will remain there for three years.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. Dave Pierce, a warehouse foreman in Pittsburgh, managed to get a few tickets off his driving record by going to "traffic school."
"I mostly had speeding issues, which were easily taken care of," says Pierce. "The DUI took more time, though. I can't remember how long it took to fall off my report. I just kept checking back with the insurance company every six months or so, and it finally did."

Here are some quick tips on how to prepare yourself for lower rates as soon as you qualify:

  • Take a defensive driving course: Some insurance companies will give you a discount if you take an approved defensive driving course. Check with your insurance company before you start searching.
  • Get a new car: If your car is the reason for your nonstandard classification, trading it in for one with better safety features and a safety record can lower your rates immediately.
  • Follow traffic laws: Since it takes three years for a traffic violation to fall off your driving record, you may qualify for lower rates as soon as your three years are up from the last ticket if you don't add any more to the mix.
  • Drive defensively: As with traffic violations, the same goes for accidents. Avoid getting into one for three years, and you'll likely qualify for better rates.

FAQ on Auto Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

Who are high-risk drivers?

High-risk drivers typically fall into one of the following categories:
too many speeding tickets or moving violations, accidents on their CLUE report, suspended driver’s license, DUI/DWI, or other major violations like reckless driving, excessive speed violations, and fatal accident history.

How much does high-risk car insurance cost?

If your ordinary car insurance policy costs $900 per year – which is about average in the United States – then high-risk car insurance will cost anywhere from $1,170 to $1,800, assuming your car insurance company raises rates by 30% to 100%.

What is high-risk auto insurance?

High-risk car insurance is the insurance category reserved for drivers with past driving violations, inexperience behind the wheel, or poor credit. If you meet any of these criteria many insurance companies will consider you a high-risk driver, and your car insurance premiums will be higher as a result.

How long do you stay on high-risk insurance?

Three years is the usual time frame for minor violations to affect your insurance rates. If you are high risk due to multiple tickets or at-fault accidents, you can get back into a preferred carrier once your oldest violation falls off.

How far back do insurance companies look for accidents?

Before providing you with a coverage quote, most insurance companies will take the last five years of your driving record into account. They'll consider traffic citations, vehicular crimes, and accident reports. In most cases, you'll be "penalized" for accidents for which you were deemed to be at fault.
As you compare the top insurance companies to find the best rates and work to improve your driver classification, you'll stand to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in the long run.

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