Best Car Insurance Companies (and Alternate Options) for High-Risk Drivers

Best Car Insurance Companies (and Alternate Options) for High-Risk Drivers

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 this criteria many insurance companies will consider you a high risk driver and your car insurance premiums will be higher as a result.

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There's still hope though: while some insurance companies won't insure a motorist with ANY marks on their driving record, there are plenty of reputable carriers who will insure high risk drivers. And if insurance companies will not offer you a policy, you can be assigned one through your state's automobile insurance plan program.

If you're interested in getting a list of insurance companies in your area with high risk plans, enter your ZIP code above to get a quote.

How much does high risk auto insurance cost?

Drivers that fall under any of the high risk categories will see their insurance costs rise relative to the average driver.

To give you a sense of what the difference between these rates are, we compiled data across all 50 states for three categories of high risk drivers to help you understand how much more auto premiums can cost you.

State

AverageSpeeding violationDUI + accidentYoung driver

Alabama

$858$1,290$2,564$4,692

Alaska

$1,248$1,368$2,598$3,144

Arizona

$1,215$1,608$3,513$4,468

Arkansas

$1,107$1,164$2,968$6,792

California

$1,830$3,060$7,794$6,177

Colorado

$1,512$1,908$3,060$4,792

Connecticut

$1,842$2,140$6,704$7,964

Delaware

$1,863$3,450$6,156$8,716

Florida

$1,576$2,424$3,384$4,278

Georgia

$1,662$2,136$3,246$4,732

Hawaii

$864$1,092$3,186$900

Idaho

$852$1,038$1,568$3,309

Illinois

$1,320$2,784$2,004$6,279

Indiana

$1,068$1,134$1,584$3,330

Iowa

$795$1,446$1,608$4,248

Kansas

$1,016$1,188$3,780$4,680

Kentucky

$1,560$2,860$4,084$9,807

Louisiana

$2,104$3,588$5,934$11,176

Maine

$584$828$1,692$3,188

Maryland

$1,440$2,193$3,561$9,252

Massachusetts

$1,252$1,736$3,606$4,076

Michigan

$2,766$4,092$6,032$11,271

Minnesota

$975$1,568$1,851$3,366

Mississippi

$1,284$1,326$2,100$3,978

Missouri

$1,124$1,260$1,708$3,784

Montana

$1,256$1,428$1,952$4,656

Nebraska

$1,113$1,020$2,382$3,927

Nevada

$1,848$2,252$3,380$7,208

New Hampshire

$1,320$1,760$2,020$4,335

New Jersey

$2,416$4,452$6,576$9,048

New Mexico

$1,508$1,532$3,744$5,504

New York

$1,812$2,544$5,532$6,216

North Carolina

$822$1,260$2,703$1,953

North Dakota

$1,396$1,856$3,360$5,244

Ohio

$824$856$1,848$3,352

Oklahoma

$1,908$2,120$3,876$7,464

Oregon

$1,396$2,133$1,380$5,024

Pennsylvania

$1,819$2,028$3,436$10,208

Rhode Island

$2,051$2,190$3,492$8,000

South Carolina

$768$816$1,704$2,752

South Dakota

$1,002$1,122$1,842$4,320

Tennessee

$1,244$1,304$3,988$4,092

Texas

$1,230$1,242$2,298$4,068

Utah

$1,041$1,056$2,607$4,827

Vermont

$993$1,060$1,764$3,432

Virginia

$1,074$1,161$2,460$3,471

Washington

$1,328$916$2,120$6,000

West Virginia

$1,420$1,568$2,952$6,088

Wisconsin

$1,545$2,064$3,600$7,227

Wyoming

$940$966$2,016$3,738
These rates are the averages of different policies for high risk drivers insured by GEICO, Allstate, Nationwide, and MetLife. These averages do not include rates for insurance through each state's residual pools.

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With many of the factors under your control, it shows why it is quite important for drivers to maintain a clean record, as the extra costs can quickly add up.

What are the best insurance companies for high risk auto insurance?

If you already fall into one of the high risk categories, some companies may be cheaper than others when it comes to insuring you. We compared rates from several major insurance companies that offer plans to higher risk drivers.

While your rates will differ from the sample in our study, our list can help you figure out where to begin. Below we'll take a look at the average annual premium amount for the four companies we looked at (GEICO, Allstate, MetLife, Nationwide) for each of the three scenarios:

Best High risk Auto Insurance Companies

On average, GEICO turned out to be the cheapest high risk auto insurance company of the bunch in both the speeding and young driver scenarios. For the "DUI + Accident" scenario GEICO was edged out slightly by Allstate with an nationwide annual average of $2,298 per year versus GEICO's $2,493.

This study is based on a select sample driver profiles, so your own rates may differ. To find cheaper high risk auto insurance, you should compare quotes from multiple companies.

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How to get insurance if insurers won't cover you

Car insurance is required in almost every state, but some insurance companies may deny you coverage if you're a high-risk driver. In this case, the states can assign drivers to an insurance company as part of so-called automobile insurance plans. If you can certify you've unsuccessfully tried to find insurance coverage, you'll be able to apply for coverage under these plans.

You can contact an insurance agent or broker for more information on assigned risk plans, or read more about your state's plan in the AIPSO directory.

Below, we've noted the name of State plans or mechanisms for high-risk drivers in every state and Washington D.C.

StateHigh risk plan
AlabamaAlabama Automobile Insurance Plan (AL AIP)
AlaskaAlaska Automobile Insurance Plan (AK AIP)
ArizonaArizona Automobile Insurance Plan (AZ AIP)
ArkansasArkansas Automobile Insurance Plan (AR AIP)
CaliforniaCalifornia Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP)
ColoradoColorado Motor Vehicle Insurance Plan (CO AIP)
ConnecticutConnecticut Automobile Insurance Assigned Risk Plan (CT ARP)
DelawareDelaware Automobile Insurance Plan (DAIP)
FloridaFlorida Automobile Joint Underwriting Association (FAJUA)
GeorgiaGeorgia Automobile Insurance Plan (GAAIP)
HawaiiHawaii Joint Underwriting Plan (HJUP)
IdahoIdaho Automobile Insurance Plan (IDAIP)
IllinoisIllinois Automobile Insurance Plan (ILAIP)
IndianaIndiana Automobile Insurance Plan (IN AIP)
IowaIowa Automobile Insurance Plan (IA AIP)
KansasKansas Automobile Insurance Plan (KS AIP)
KentuckyKentucky Automobile Insurance Plan (KY AIP)
LouisianaLouisiana Automobile Insurance Plan (LA AIP)
MaineMaine Automobile Insurance Plan (ME AIP)
MarylandMaryland Auto Insurance Fund (MAIF)
MassachusettsMassachusetts Automobile Insurance Plan (MAIP)
MichiganMichigan Automobile Insurance Plan Facility (MAIPF)
MinnesotaMinnesota Automobile Insurance Plan (MNAIP)
MississippiMississippi Automobile Insurance Plan (MSAIP)
MissouriMissouri Automobile Insurance Plan (MO AIP)
MontanaMontana Automobile Insurance Plan (MT AIP)
NebraskaNebraska Automobile Insurance Plan (NE AIP)
NevadaNevada Automobile Insurance Plan (NV AIP)
New HampshireNew Hampshire Automobile Insurance Plan (NH AIP)
New JerseyNew Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan (NJ PAIP)
New MexicoNew Mexico Motor Vehicle Insurance Plan (NM AIP)
New YorkNew York Automobile Insurance Plan (NYAIP)
North CarolinaNorth Carolina Reinsurance Facility (NCRF)
North DakotaNorth Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan (ND AIP)
OhioOhio Automobile Insurance Plan (OAIP)
OklahomaOklahoma Automobile Insurance Plan (OKAIP)
OregonAutomobile Insurance Plan of Oregon (OR AIP)
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan (PA ARP)
Rhode IslandRhode Island Automobile Insurance Plan (RI AIP)
South CarolinaAssociated Auto Insurers Plan of South Carolina (AAIPSC)
South DakotaSouth Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan (SD AIP)
TennesseeTennessee Automobile Insurance Plan (TNAIP)
TexasTexas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA)
UtahUtah Automobile Insurance Plan (UT AIP)
VermontVermont Automobile Insurance Plan (VT AIP)
VirginiaVirginia Automobile Insurance Plan (VAIP)
WashingtonWashington Automobile Insurance Plan (WAIP)
Washington D.C.District of Columbia Automobile Insurance Plan (DC AIP)
West VirginiaWest Virginia Automobile Insurance Plan (WV AIP)
WisconsinWisconsin Automobile Insurance Plan (WAIP)
WyomingWyoming Automobile Insurance Plan (WY AIP)

Who is an at risk driver?

Factors such as a prior DUI offense, age, lapses in insurance coverage and credit scores can all affect your risk profile according to insurers, and therefore, influence your auto insurance premium.

Below we take a closer look at how each of these factors can affect your rates.

DUI offense

If you've been convicted of driving under the influence, your premiums will be going up. Once you get your license back, you'll need to carry DUI insurance, otherwise referred to as SR22.

SR22 is the highest risk coverage a car insurance company can carry and will need to be filed with your state DMV to reinstate your driving privileges. You'll also need to have your SR22 on file with the DMV for up to 5 years after your DUI incident. States will vary in how long your DUI will show up on your driving record, but be prepared for insurance companies to charge you higher rates as long as your DUI is still on record.

Young or first time drivers

Young drivers, such as students, are also qualified as high risk. Statistically, drivers in their youth are at a higher risk of getting into an auto accident and insurance carriers adjust their premiums accordingly.

Regardless of age, drivers who are newly licensed will always face higher insurance rates than seasoned drivers who've been driving for a longer period of time. That being said, there is one way to work around this rule: have someone add you to their existing policy. This shortcut ensures your premiums will be lower than going it alone.

Lapse in insurance coverage

Regardless of why you dropped your last car insurance policy, you're going to find premiums are higher now that you're reapplying. The good news is that over time, and once you prove to the insurance company that you're a responsible driver, your premiums will drop back down to normal rates. The bad news is that it may take 6 months or more for your policy premiums to decrease.

Poor credit

People who have a poor credit history will also be deemed high risk drivers. Why is this the case? Insurance companies are essentially placing millions of bets, in the form of insurance policies, and to decrease their risk they want to insure responsible people.

Insurers have determined that checking your credit history is a quick and easy screen to ballpark your level of responsibility in advance of insuring you. Fortunately there are some insurance carriers who don't do credit checks, but you'll have to be diligent in your search to find them. Additionally, a few states ban insurers from using credit scores in calculating your rates.

Other serious driving violations

While getting a DUI falls into this category, your insurance premiums will also spike if you have any other type of serious driving violation (eg, hit and run, road rage, excessive speeding). Higher insurance premiums may be the least of your worries, however, as many of these moving violations are considered felonies which could result in you spending time behind bars.

How can I find high risk auto insurance?

We recommend getting online quotes from as many insurance providers as you can and comparing rates. Fortunately, the internet allows you to apply for quotes, compare and contrast results, and choose the best plan, all from the comfort of home.

Until you get your quotes, you're never quite sure which carrier will be able to give you the lowest premium. And there are other steps you can take to lower your rate. With few exceptions, proactive measures like the following may help improve your risk profile:

  • Working to improve your credit score
  • Getting good grades as a student
  • Taking driving classes after a violation

Just remember, your insurance company will want proof of these measures, so it's best to keep good records and submit them to the carrier when you're ready.

Being a high risk driver doesn't last forever

While insurance companies may view you as high risk today, you'll be happy to know your status will change once you've proven you're safe and responsible. Yes, certain things like getting a DUI will keep you paying increased premiums for an extended period, but most other high risk drivers can begin paying lower rates in a much shorter time frame.

Methodology

ValuePenguin sampled high risk auto insurance rates for the largest city in each state across four car insurance companies where available: GEICO, Allstate, MetLife and Nationwide. Our hypothetical driver was a 30 year old male driving a 2010 Toyota Camry. He drives 10-15k miles per year on average primarily commuting to and from work. Liability coverage is set to the legal state minimum.

  • For the "speeding" scenario, it was assumed that our driver had received a 20 over the speed limit citation in the last 5 years.
  • For our "DUI + Accident" scenario it was assumed that the driver had a DUI or DWI and also, in either the same or a separate incident, had been at fault in an accident where someone was injured.
  • In the "Young Driver" scenario our driver was an 18 year old male with the same specifications listed above.

Surveyed auto insurance costs are for illustrative purposes only and actual quotes will vary based on your physical residence, driving history, and other factors.

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.