Although high risk auto insurance may have the connotation of penalizing you for having done something wrong, such as accumulating too many tickets for moving violations, causing vehicle accidents or being arrested and convicted of DUI or DWI, there’s more to the classification than this simple explanation.
Your Age: Too Young, Too Old
Age can force you into the high risk auto insurance category. As a young driver, there’s nothing you can do to age into the standard risk category other than wait for the years to pass until you reach your twenty-first birthday.
New federal data shows that teen drivers have a 1.6-times increased risk of being involved in a fatal car crash than adult drivers. What may be surprising, though, is that older teens, ages 18-20, are even more likely to be in a fatal car crash than those aged 15-17. From an insurance company’s perspective, this additional risk for young drivers must be offset by premium charges that are significantly higher than those charged to standard risk drivers. That’s why high risk auto insurance is so much more expensive to purchase than regular coverage.
Nothing can be done to avoid being put into a high risk insurance category as a result of age, although there are certain strategies that you can take to lower insurance premiums somewhat. These include maintaining a high grade point average, graduating from a defensive driving class, driving a minimum number of miles each year, driving an affordable, used car on your insurance company’s “safe” list and keeping a clean driving record with zero driving infractions. For those teen drivers able to do it, getting put on your parents’ auto insurance can also help take the sting out of the cost of high risk auto insurance, although your parents should be prepared to see their policy rates spike significantly.
High Risk Behavior to Avoid
Appropriate changes in driving behavior may not immediately get you out of the high risk classification. However, after avoiding potentially hazardous habits for some time, you should be able to work your way into a lower cost, standard policy. These include things like getting ticketed for driving too fast or driving recklessly, being involved in car accidents or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Driving without insurance or letting your car insurance lapse without immediately replacing it will also classify you as high risk.
Poor credit is also a red flag to auto insurance providers because, statistically, credit risks are also potential auto insurance risks. In addition, you may be classified as a high risk driver if you own certain vehicles, such as sports cars, models that are frequently involved in accidents, those that are stolen at a statistically higher rate than others, and vehicles that cost a lot of money to repair.
Keep a cleaning driving record, drive safely and sanely, and you should be successful in staying out of the high risk category of auto insurance customers. And for teen drivers: Take advantage of every discount available to you.