Finding Auto Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Last Updated on October 30, 2020
Auto insurance companies look at a variety of factors when calculating insurance premiums. Some of these factors are less reliable than others, but the reality is that there is a standard procedure insurance companies use to determine how risky you are and how much you’ll pay for insurance. This means that the higher the risk you pose, the higher your insurance rates will be.
High-risk drivers, unfortunately, will not be able to find the extremely cheap rates they are looking for. The good news is that they should still be able to find adequate coverage at a relatively affordable price – if they know where to look. Keep reading below as we explain how high-risk auto insurance works and how to find cheap rates for high-risk drivers.
Table of Contents:
- Why Would an Auto Insurance Company Refuse Your Money?
- Finding Auto Insurance Coverage as a Young Driver
- High-Risk Due to Old Age
- Becoming a High-Risk Driver After a DUI/DWI
- High-Risk Due to Where You Live
- How Much Does High-Risk Auto Insurance Cost?
- What Are the Best Insurance Companies for High-Risk Drivers?
- What to Do If You Are a High-Risk Driver
Why Would an Auto Insurance Company Refuse Your Money?
Although you may think that an auto insurance company will always be able to offer you coverage, the reality is that the riskiest drivers can find a hard time getting coverage. Finding cheap auto insurance is a problem in its own right, but the riskiest drivers sometimes just need to concentrate on finding an auto insurance company that will provide them with coverage at any price.
Usually, insurance companies will not outright refuse to insure high-risk drivers. What they might do, however, is quote them outrageously high rates that nobody can afford, which essentially denies them coverage.
Who Is Considered to Be High-Risk?
When it comes to people who are deemed too risky by the car insurance industry, one of the following three factors usually come into play:
- The driver is either too young or too old. Teenage drivers are the riskiest age group to insure, while elderly drivers over age 70 also pose a high risk.
- The driver has a poor driving record due to causing accidents, getting traffic tickets, or driving under the influence.
- The driver lives in a high-crime area where it is more likely that the vehicle will be stolen, vandalized, or destroyed.
Finding Auto Insurance Coverage as a Young Driver
Although they are not considered as risky as some of the people mentioned above, young drivers are definitely targeted with higher monthly costs for their insurance. The facts definitely back up the auto insurance companies here because teen drivers are notorious for driving fast and getting into trouble with the law when they get behind the wheel for the first time.
Anyone between the ages of 16 and 21 is definitely going to have to pay a premium for auto coverage, but it is important to note that there are a few ways to lower the costs of that insurance in certain situations.
Teens who have a GPA of 3.0 (B average) or better in high school or college are usually able to receive a discount on their auto insurance coverage. Students with B or better grades are often eligible for a discount on their insurance rates. A school-sponsored driver education course could also be beneficial in reducing the cost of insurance for high-risk drivers in this category.
Regardless of the discounts, insurance for young drivers is likely to double or even triple the cost of their parents’ policy. Teen girls are at a lower risk than boys, but insurance surveys have shown that people don’t settle into safer habits until after the age of 25, so all teens are an increased risk.
High-Risk Due to Old Age
Drivers over the age of 70 are sometimes given rates equal to insurance for high-risk drivers. Studies have shown that the incidence of collisions increases after age 70 and that such accidents are likely to have more serious injury consequences. Even in this age group, though, men are more likely than women to be involved in accidents, by a factor of nearly 50%. So while insurance for high-risk drivers extends to the elderly, it affects older men more than women. Again, maintaining a safe driver status and taking driver education courses can provide discounts to offset the increase in policy cost.
Becoming a High-Risk Driver After a DUI/DWI
If you’ve had a DUI, you have automatically become a high-risk, even if you have never had a speeding ticket. And even though you can regain your safe driver status over time, most states now require the conviction of a DUI to remain on your driving record for 10 years or more, and some states now require it to remain on your record for life.
People convicted of a DUI fall into a higher than average risk group because they pose not only a danger to themselves and the vehicle but to other people and property as well. Many insurance companies will not insure a vehicle operated by someone who has had a DUI conviction within the last 5 years.
High-Risk Due to Where You Live
Many ZIP codes in the country are considered to be high-risk locations. These locations usually meet one or more of the following criteria:
- High crime rate (including high rates of vandalism, break-ins, and car theft)
- High accident rate (usually caused by the amount of traffic flowing through the area)
- High fraud rates (due to the number of fraudulent claims filed in the area)
Unfortunately, short of moving to a new location, there is not much you can do to escape the high insurance rates in your neighborhood. Small, local insurance companies, however, might be your best bet in finding affordable rates in the area.
How Much Does High-Risk Auto Insurance Cost?
Obviously, high-risk auto insurance is more expensive than standard car insurance. Insurance is all about risk, and insurance companies are more likely to lose money when insuring a high-risk driver.
Fortunately, there are plenty of high-risk car insurance companies in the United States, and pricing remains competitive across the industry.
By shopping around, you can pay the lowest possible rates for high-risk car insurance in any state – regardless of your driving history or state.
Here’s how much you can expect to pay for high-risk auto insurance across the United States.
Average Insurance Costs for Drivers with Bad Credit
Insurers in almost every state weigh credit score heavily when calculating premiums. Three states (California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii) have banned insurers from using credit scores. In other states, a low credit score (or no credit score) makes you a high-risk driver to insure.
- Full Coverage Car Insurance for Driver with Bad Credit: $2,430 to $3,240 per year
- Minimum Liability Car Insurance for Driver Bad Credit: $1,611 to $1,998 per year
Average Insurance Costs for Drivers with an At-Fault Accident
If you have caused an accident in the past, then you’re statistically more likely to cause an accident in the future.
- Full Coverage Car Insurance for Driver with At-Fault Accident: $2,109 to $2,987 per year
- Minimum Liability Car Insurance for Driver with At-Fault Accident: $1,452 to $1,812 per year
Average Insurance Costs for Drivers with a DUI
In all states, insurance premiums rise sharply after one or more convictions for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated (DUI or DWI).
- Full Coverage Car Insurance for Driver with DUI: $2,602 to $4,001 per year
- Minimum Liability Car Insurance for Driver with DUI: $1,723 to $2,043 per year
All numbers above are based on national averages for an ordinary driver between ages 25 and 45. Depending on your state and personal driving characteristics, you might pay significantly more or less than the numbers listed above.
Similarly, if you have multiple DUIs, more than one at-fault accident, or a particularly bad credit score (or no credit score), then you could pay significantly more than the prices listed above.
Or, high-risk drivers who live in ZIP codes with high crime, a high rate of natural disasters, and other elevated risk factors may pay much more for car insurance than listed above.
What Are the Best Companies for High-Risk Drivers?
Every insurance company calculates risk in a slightly different way. Some companies treat an at-fault accident as serious as a DUI. Other companies ignore accidents that are older than 5 years. Some companies give higher weight to certain driver risk profiles than others.
For all of these reasons, it’s crucial to shop around for car insurance to find the best company. Below, we’ve listed the top 10 best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers.
If you qualify for USAA membership, then it tends to be the cheapest option in most states for high-risk and low-risk drivers. USAA prices its insurance competitively because it maintains a carefully-curated insurance pool. Although you may not qualify with multiple risk factors on your record, medium-risk and high-risk drivers can obtain surprisingly affordable car insurance through USAA.
|Company Address||9800 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, TX 78288
GEICO tends to be the cheapest car insurance company (aside from USAA) in most states. If you are a high-risk driver, then you’ll pay higher insurance premiums with GEICO – although the jump in premiums tends to be smaller with GEICO than it is with other companies.
|Company Address||5260 Western Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Progressive is a major car insurance company with a strong track record of insuring high-risk drivers at a reasonable rate. Progressive provides high-quality car insurance in every state in America, including reasonably-priced premiums for medium-risk and high-risk drivers.
|Company Address||6300 Wilson Mills Road
Mayfield Village, OH 44143
Although not as well-known as the car insurance companies above, Kemper provides competitive prices to high-risk drivers in most states. Kemper likes having high-risk drivers in its insurance pool to balance out premiums. By maintaining a mix of high-risk and low-risk drivers, Kemper keeps a balanced pool.
|Company Address||12926 Gran Bay Parkway West
Jacksonville, FL, 32258
5. Direct Auto Insurance
Direct Auto Insurance is catered towards drivers on the higher risk side of ‘high-risk’. If you have multiple at-fault accidents or DUIs, then Direct Auto Insurance may be more willing to insure you at a reasonable price than the providers listed above. Direct Auto Insurance charges relatively high prices compared to other high-risk car insurance providers, but they may still be your best option as a higher-risk driver.
|Direct Auto Insurance|
|Company Address||1281 Murfreesboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37217
6. The General Insurance
The General Insurance provides minimum liability car insurance to drivers who struggle to get affordable car insurance elsewhere. With The General, you’ll pay more than you normally would for minimum liability insurance, but The General may be your only option when other insurers turn you down. The General is not a good option for safe or experienced drivers, but the company is popular among high-risk drivers – and they’re financially stronger and more reputable than other high-risk car insurance providers. If you only need basic liability coverage (not full coverage), and you have a very bad driving record, then The General is often your best (or only) option.
|Company Address||2636 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 510
Nashville, TN 37214
7. Infinity Insurance
Infinity Insurance is a car insurance company covering drivers in most states. Infinity is known for its strong customer service and claims satisfaction while insuring drivers of all risk classes. Infinity is rarely the cheapest option for low-risk drivers, but the company may offer comparatively cheap car insurance premiums to medium-risk or high-risk drivers.
|Company Address||2201 4th Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
8. National General Insurance
Not to be confused with The General, National General Insurance is a nationwide car insurance company offering good insurance premiums to medium-risk and high-risk drivers. The company has average ratings for service and satisfaction, but they may be one of the few insurers willing to work with a high-risk driver.
|Company Address||P.O. Box 3199
Winston-Salem, NC 27102
9. State Farm
As America’s largest car insurance provider, State Farm insures millions of drivers across the United States. State Farm’s insurance premiums tend to be very competitive compared to other providers. Although the company has average ratings for claims satisfaction and customer service, State Farm charges competitive premiums to high-risk drivers, and it may be the cheapest high-risk car insurance in your area.
|Company Address||1 State Farm Plaza
Bloomington, IL 61701
10. Bristol West
Bristol West specializes in insuring high-risk drivers. In fact, the company has spent the last 50 years insuring high-risk drivers across the United States. Despite dealing with some of the riskiest drivers in America, Bristol West (which is a subsidiary of Farmers Insurance Group) maintains an A (Excellent) financial strength rating and a relatively low complaint score. If you have poor credit, no credit, multiple DUIs, several at-fault accidents, or other factors that make you a high-risk driver to insure, then Bristol West may be the best option.
|Bristol West Insurance|
|Company Address||PO Box 31029
Independence, OH 44131
What to Do If You Are a High-Risk Driver
If you have been labeled as a high-risk driver, then it may be time for you to take a close look at your normal driving habits. When you have all of these different insurance companies telling you that you are making a lot of mistakes on the road, you may want to go ahead and listen to what they have to say. The good news is that you do not get a life sentence once you have been deemed risky.
For all drivers, taking a professional driver safety course can offer additional discounts. Even though we usually only hear about the courses in reference to having too many tickets or some other offense, taking the initiative and signing up for a course without having to is a good way to reduce the risk perceived by your insurance company, and could offer substantial discounts.
Tips for High-Risk Drivers
Here are a few additional things that you can do to improve your reputation after making a bad name for yourself over the past few years:
- Take a break from driving. You won’t be able to get tickets or get in accidents if you stay off the road. Try to make sure that you drive the least amount possible because you are increasing your odds of making another mistake every time you get out on the road.
- Pay attention to the common mistakes that you were always told you should avoid. Most bad drivers know all of the fundamentals of driving that they should follow while they are on the road, but the fact of the matter is that they don’t like to follow the rules. You would be amazed at how much you can improve your driving by doing simple things. The main thing to remember here is that you need to avoid distractions such as eating, using your cell phone, or playing extremely loud music while you are on the road. When you don’t follow these rules, you are putting yourself in the same categories as those risky young drivers under the age of 21.
- Avoid drinking and driving at all costs. There is no good reason to ever drink and drive. Most people usually think about the legal implications of getting caught in this situation, and the fact that a DUI can destroy your ability to find cheap auto insurance is often overlooked. If your reputation as a driver is already questionable, then you cannot afford to take a chance with alcohol on the road.
Take the Time to Compare Different Plans
The good news for anyone who is deemed to be a risky driver by the auto insurance industry is that there are some companies that actually focus on providing coverage to these risky drivers. Using an online insurance quote tool can help you find the right coverage in your area, even if you are someone who has a target on their back because of your past driving habits. When you are taking a look at the right companies, you should be able to find some help when it comes to getting coverage, even with a long list of traffic accidents or violations in your past.
When you are a high-risk driver, you are going to need to do extra homework when it comes to finding the cheapest plan available. Make sure that you compare many different offers online because you can still find a discount when you realize that these insurance companies are fighting over each other to get your business. By sticking with insurance companies that focus on high-risk coverage, you should be able to find a plan that does not break the bank. To start comparing rates, check out Insurance Panda’s car insurance calculator page to learn more.