High Risk Auto Insurance

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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. 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.

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 these premiums can cost you. Note that 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. If you're interested you can check out our methodology below to see how we compiled these numbers

Best High Risk Auto Insurance Companies (Average Premiums)

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 took a look at major companies compare when it comes to the insurance premiums they offer 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 profiles so it may not reflect your circumstances and should only be used as guideline. To find cheaper high risk auto insurance, you should compare quotes from multiple companies. If you're interested in getting a list of companies in your area enter your zip code below and click through to get a quote.

Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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What Determines If You Are a High Risk Driver?

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 driver

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.

First time driver

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, you're 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

Yes, you read that right. 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. They've 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.

Other serious driving violations

While getting a DUI falls into this category, you'll also find it no surprise that your insurance premiums will spike if you have any other type of serious driving violation (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.

3 Things To Remember When Looking For High Risk Auto Insurance

1. Compare and contrast providers in your area

We recommend getting online quotes from as many insurance providers as you can. Until you get your quotes, you're never quite sure which carrier will be able to give you the lowest rate. Fortunately, the internet has made a once painful experience much easier by allowing you to apply for quotes, compare and contrast results, and choose the best plan, all from the comfort of home.

2. 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.

3. There are steps you can take to lower your rate

You don't just have to sit there and wait for your insurance rate to drop. With few exception, proactive measures like working to improve your credit score, getting good grades as a student, or taking driving classes after a violation, are all methods you have at your disposal. Just remember, your insurance company will want proof of these measures, so it's best to keep good records submit them to the carrier when you're ready.


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.

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