Marissa Hayes is a technical editor and contributing writer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history, and she was the editor of the literary magazine, The Bluestone Review.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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A brief summary

  • DUIs, speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, and being caught driving while uninsured are all events that can raise your insurance and label you as a high-risk driver.
  • Your rates will be affected for three to five years if you get a ticket or DUI.
  • If this occurs, you may be required to carry special SR-22 car insurance for high-risk drivers.

Looking for information on high-risk auto insurance? We’ve got everything you need to know, including what options you have and where to find affordable auto insurance coverage for bad driving records.

What is high-risk auto insurance? Your driving record typically determines the need to carry high-risk auto insurance.

When something appears on your driving records, such as a DUI, speeding ticket, or an at-fault accident, your risk profile is reassessed by your insurance provider, and you may be determined to be a risky driver. If this is the case, your rate will likely increase.

High-risk policies are formulated explicitly for drivers who are considered a higher risk to insure. Whether it’s DUI insurance or you just have too many tickets, some driving record issues are considered serious by insurance companies.

These driving violations typically force consumers to buy high-risk auto insurance or SR22 car insurance.

Our goal is to help high-risk drivers find the best car insurance for a bad driving record. Enter your ZIP code to get free affordable high-risk auto insurance quotes from multiple insurers.

What is high-risk auto insurance?

High-risk auto insurance is designed to provide an insurance policy to drivers who have too many moving violations, several accidents on their insurance history, or a DUI conviction. Reckless driving is also a conviction that will put you under a high-risk status.

Generally, high-risk car insurance is more expensive than standard car insurance. However, there’s still a way to lower your auto insurance rates.

Continue reading to learn how much auto insurance for high-risk drivers costs and how to save on high-risk auto insurance.

Depending on the state you live in, you might need to carry the high-risk coverage for three to five years.

How much does high-risk auto insurance cost?

People are charged higher rates because they have a bad driving record. Auto accidents, DUIs, traffic tickets, and multiple car accident claims submitted to insurance companies will push a driver into the high-risk category.

The average cost of high-risk auto insurance is $342 per month or $4,04 per year.

In this table, you can see what the average car insurance rates are after just one at-fault accident, speeding ticket, or DUI.

Average Annual U.S. Auto Insurance Rates by Driving Record
CompaniesAverage Annual Rates with a Clean RecordAverage Annual Rates with One AccidentAverage Annual Rates with One DUIAverage Annual Rates with One Speeding Violation
USAA$1,933.68$2,516.24$3,506.03$2,193.25
GEICO$2,145.96$3,192.77$4,875.87$2,645.43
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75$4,330.24$3,025.74
Nationwide$2,746.18$3,396.95$4,543.20$3,113.68
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01$3,636.80$3,186.01
Progressive$3,393.09$4,777.04$3,969.65$4,002.28
Travelers$3,447.69$4,289.74$5,741.40$4,260.80
Farmers$3,460.60$4,518.73$4,718.75$4,079.01
Allstate$3,819.90$4,987.68$6,260.73$4,483.51
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78$7,613.48$5,701.26
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Just one of these events can raise your rates considerably. One speeding ticket may increase your rates by 12 to 24 percent. One at-fault accident and you could be looking at a 20 to 49 percent increase.

A DUI may cause the most damage, as your rates could be raised anywhere from 17 to 127 percent.

How can you lower the cost of high-risk auto insurance?

We’ve already talked about how expensive car insurance can be if you are considered high-risk. Now let’s look at some ways to lower your auto insurance rates.

Some common ways to lower your costs are:

  • Avoid more tickets – Obey traffic laws and practice safe driving habits to keep from adding more tickets and accidents to your driving record.
  • Take a defensive driving class – Not only will the class help lower your rates, but it will also teach you some much-needed skills.
  • Consider a new car – Purchases a car with better safety ratings to lower your costs.
  • Improve your credit – A higher credit rating will equal a lower car insurance cost.
  • Shop around for auto insurance – Every company will charge different rates, and some companies will offer you a lower rate despite your track record.

Although you may have to wait a few years, the good news is that eventually, you can get lower rates again. Don’t repeat your past mistakes, and you can avoid purchasing high-risk auto insurance again.

What’s the difference between high-risk drivers and low-risk drivers?

Who needs high-risk auto insurance? Generally, insurers will consider you high-risk if you are a new driver, a driver with poor credit, or a driver with multiple infractions in a short period of time.

Although not all of those reasons will force you to buy high-risk car insurance, you will still pay higher rates.

Low-risk drivers pay the least for car insurance. As seen in the section above, low-risk drivers tend to have a clean driving record and the cheapest auto insurance rates per month. High-risk drivers pay significantly more expensive rates.

High-risk drivers can lower their car insurance rates by taking driving courses and maintaining good driving behaviors for at least a year.

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How can you get auto insurance with a bad driving record?

If you have a bad driving record, auto insurance isn’t always easy to come by, but it’s possible. As you can see, each company weighs these driving violations very differently when they calculate your rates.

What is the cheapest insurance for bad drivers? It depends on what is tarnishing your record, but USAA, GEICO, and State Farm often have reasonable rates.

What if you’re caught speeding? One-third of all vehicular fatalities in 2017 involved speeding. It’s risky behavior that’s proven to be dangerous. If pulled over for speeding more than once, you will be labeled a high-risk driver.

Got a DUI? Receiving a DUI is one of the worst offenses a driver can commit and can more than double your insurance rates. According to Responsibility.org, 29 percent of total vehicle traffic fatalities in 2018 involved alcohol-impaired driving.

You can also be labeled high-risk if you’re caught driving uninsured. Despite the risk, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that one in eight drivers out on the roads are uninsured.

You’ll probably end up with a rate hike, but you could also face other consequences like a suspended license and additional fees.

Every company does not offer insurance for high-risk drivers. Your rate may have increased due to your current circumstances.

What is a non-standard market?

The non-standard market specializes in covering people with bad driving records or inexperienced people with little driving history.

Other than having driving offenses and multiple accident claims, having bad credit could also affect your car insurance rate. Refer to the assigned risk program for further reference.

How does a DUI conviction affect your driving record and auto insurance rates?

“Don’t drink and drive” is a phrase that has been burned into many of our brains since childhood. Unfortunately, catchy phrases don’t always prevent drivers from driving while under the influence and getting a DUI/DWI.

If you are charged with a DUI/DWI, you should seek a DUI lawyer to learn all your options. Receiving a DUI/DWI will cause your auto insurance rate to increase, and probably quite significantly.

Car insurance rates by state will vary and being convicted of DUI/DWI can cost you thousands of dollars in fines and huge increases in auto insurance costs. Drivers report up to and over 40 percent in auto insurance costs in many cases.

People tagged with driving under the influence on their driving record are considered high risk and need an insurance company that covers drivers with a DUI. That means higher rates because of future predictability.

What are the best high-risk auto insurance companies?

“If I have a bad driving record, which car insurance companies will offer me coverage?”

This is a common question. Many major companies will still provide auto insurance to many drivers, even those with less than ideal driving records.

If you compare insurance options online, there is a good chance a brand company will cover you.

If not, there are still viable options through the secondary market until you can prove to be responsible behind the wheel. The rates will likely be higher until you have a proven record, and your profile is considered less risky.

What is the best car insurance for bad drivers? Most insurers still offer some type of coverage, but you may have more success with some specific insurers.

  • The General Car Insurance. The General offers high-risk car insurance. Read Insurantly’s review on The General.
  • Allstate. They will insure teens and other high-risk drivers. If you have had a DUI/DWI, you may want to use Insurantly to compare quotes from multiple companies.
  • Progressive Car Insurance. Progressive is rated high for being flexible. They allow you to tailor your full coverage policy to fit your needs.
  • Acceptance Car Insurance. Acceptance offers auto insurance policies for high-risk drivers. Their offices are more prominent in the midwest and southern states. They offer competitive rates, and you can buy a policy online.

Find coverage that is right for you. Compare these providers and see how much you can save.

Do poor safety ratings mean high-risk cars?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) scores vehicles with safety ratings of Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor.

There’s also the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which scores crash test ratings from one to five, with five being the safest and one being the least safe.

If you have a vehicle with a poor safety rating and will not protect you in the event of an accident, insurance companies will likely be paying out more in bodily injury claims.

This is why it’s important to insurance companies that you have a car with a high safety rating.

While insurance companies can’t make you choose a car with good safety ratings, they can indirectly push you towards buying a safer car by increasing the insurance rate for vehicles with low safety ratings.

Below is a list of criteria that affects the safety rating of a car.

  • Vehicles need to be well built, particularly in the side structure areas that can withstand side impacts from automobiles of different sizes and heights.
  • Size and weight are critical in terms of safety, and insurance companies consider these in their calculations. If you drive a smaller, lighter car, you are always at a higher risk than bigger, heavier cars. However, they do offer advantages for being able to avoid the accident because of their maneuverability.
  • SUVs and pickups can be considered high risk because they have a higher chance of rollover. Rollover car accidents are potentially devastating. Pickups, in particular, have one of the highest rates of fatality due to the rollover factor.
  • Each auto insurance company may evaluate risk differently, so it’s best always best to compare.

Do you want to know more about high-risk cars? Let’s elaborate a little more on high-risk vehicles in the next section.

What cars are considered high-risk?

Sports cars – Insurance companies deem sports cars as high-risk because their drivers tend to receive more traffic tickets. They also have a higher propensity for accidents and injuries.

Cars that don’t have a good safety rating – Keep in mind that auto insurance companies are always monitoring risk, and car safety ratings are a critical component of these calculations. If you are concerned about car insurance rates, make sure to research your car’s safety rating beforehand.

Replacement parts – If you drive a hybrid car, some insurance companies offer a discount while others do not. Replacing parts in an accident can be much higher if you do not consider aftermarket parts.

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Can you get SR-22s for high-risk drivers?

While it is often referred to as SR-22 insurance, it is not insurance. Instead, additional documentation is filed with your state of residence to show that you are carrying the state-mandated amount of insurance.

Why would you need to file SR-22 forms, and what does an SR-22 cover?

There could be several reasons why you may need to file for an SR-22, including driving without insurance, getting a DUI/DWI, receiving multiple traffic violations, or being in an at-fault accident.

Any of these reasons could make you a high-risk driver in the eyes of your state and car insurance company. If this is the case, almost every state will require you to file SR-22 forms.

Luckily, most car insurance companies understand how hard it can be to find the right policy. They will help motorists by carrying a large pool of insurers, and many offer great coverage, including full coverage at a discounted rate.

If you need further assistance, we recommend looking into the assigned risk program.

What does SR-22 cover? SR-22 isn’t a type of coverage but is rather a form that is filed to prove you have the required amount of coverage. What is covered depends on the limits of your policy and the coverage options you have chosen, regardless of the SR-22. An SR-22 requires a minimum amount of liability, but you are still free to select higher limits and full-coverage options.

Finding auto insurance with a bad driving record can feel daunting, but state laws require that you be insured while operating your vehicle.

Fortunately, some companies do provide car insurance for people with poor driving history. Some companies specialize in bad driving record car insurance or non-standard auto insurance.

How do you get an auto insurance quote for a high-risk driver?

Getting a price on coverage involves the insurance company creating a risk profile specific to you. When looking at a bad driving record, insurance companies see risk differently.

This means you may need to shop around a bit and compare quotes. You can use Insurantly’s car insurance comparison tools to get rate quotes from many of the largest companies.

How much does high-risk bad driving record insurance cost? Depending on your car insurance company and the offense committed, you could be paying 300 percent higher rates.

With so much money on the line, the best thing you can do is make sure you understand what causes your rate to go up.

You might want to consider ordering your driving history to have for your records.

Some things that may be included are court judgments, speeding tickets, auto accidents, and any DUI/DWI convictions. If you are pulled over for drunk driving, you need to seek legal counsel.

“Why Am I Considered a Bad Driver?” Have you had your license revoked? If so, you will typically be notified by your state that you need an SR-22 policy to have your license reinstated.

Drivers over the age of 70 are considered high risk and may need to obtain an SR-22 policy as a result.

Many car insurance companies will work with you and provide you a chance to attain low-cost bad driving record auto insurance.

If you are a young driver with limited driving history,  especially a male under 25, you are almost always considered high risk.

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What other factors determine your auto insurance rates?

Each company has its pricing based on unique factors like loss ratio, return on investment, overall risk, and market share. When you are considered a high-risk driver, what can you do to find more affordable insurance?

One of the keys to lower your payment is to compare car insurance online thoroughly.

Someone living in Chicago will get different pricing compared to someone living in Los Angeles.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that you compare top high-risk auto insurance companies before signing up for a new policy. This process could save you hundreds of dollars per year – literally.

“But I don’t have a bad driving record. Why am I paying higher rates?” Insurance companies use other factors that may deem you as a high-risk driver. Some of these other factors could be:

  • Males under the age of 25
  • Young first-time drivers and student drivers
  • Teenagers
  • Poor credit ratings
  • Type of vehicle you drive
  • How much you drive
  • What city you drive in
  • Vandalism
  • Claims history

While other factors may also impact your rates, they will not be as impactful as the criteria listed above.

Will a basic driver improvement course lower auto insurance rates?

Traffic School driver improvement courses are approved in most states. These courses are designed to reduce your driving record points and lower your car insurance rate. Traffic School may also be state ordered.

Course Goals

  • To improve your driving skills.
  • To keep points off your state driver’s license (varies from state to state).
  • To help maintain safe driver status, thus reducing your risk profile.
  • To keep insurance rates at a minimum.

The Basic Driver Improvement course may also help you get car insurance discounts. Older drivers over 50 and 60 years old may be able to get a discount by taking this course.

What happens when you are driving while uninsured?

One of the main factors that make auto insurance expensive in specific areas is the number of uninsured drivers on the road. While every state requires car insurance, this does not mean that everyone has coverage.

If you drive your car without auto insurance, you risk paying hefty fines and force other responsible drivers to pay more in insurance rates.

Additionally, car insurance companies consider all drivers operating a vehicle, not just the person who owns the car, and then assess the risks involved. The more drivers who use their vehicle without car insurance, the more expensive it is for everyone else.

How do you compare auto insurance quotes for high-risk drivers?

If you are considered a high-risk driver by your current insurance company, you could be paying over 300 percent higher rates than a standard driver. The best way to reduce your monthly payment is to compare companies and prices.

If you have a bad driving record and need to compare high-risk auto insurance quotes, let us help out. Enter your ZIP code to get free high-risk car insurance rates with multiple insurers.

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Frequently Asked Questions: High-Risk Auto Insurance

Let’s answer a couple of questions about high-risk auto insurance that we’re asked a lot at Insurantly.

#1 – How far back does State Farm auto insurance look at a high-risk driver’s driving record?

Most insurers will look at your record for the past five years, but the impact of a ticket or DUI decreases over time. State Farm even notes on its website that a ticket from 12 months ago is far more impactful than something from five years ago.

The key is to avoid any traffic violations for a prolonged, consistent period and prove that you’re not high-risk anymore.

Generally, these are the lengths of time that certain infractions will stay on your record:

  • Speeding ticket: three years.
  • At-fault accident: three years.
  • DUI: five years.
  • Caught driving without insurance: six months.

Be sure to check with your auto insurance company.

#2 – Can you get motorcycle insurance as a high-risk driver?

Like auto insurance coverage, if you have a bad driving record, the motorcycle insurance coverage will be harder to get. You’ll be considered high-risk, and the risk of injury that can lead to a claim on a motorcycle will be a significant contributing factor to how the insurer determines your rates.


References:

  1. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists