Best Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers & How to Lower Your Rates

Best Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

If you have received a traffic citation, lack driving experience or have poor credit, then insurers may consider you a high-risk driver — and raise your premiums accordingly. But there's still hope. Plenty of reputable carriers will insure people with a bad driving record, and if you're having trouble finding insurance, your state's automobile insurance program may offer you an option.

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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.

Which companies offer the cheapest high-risk auto insurance?

If your driving history puts you into one of the high-risk categories, some companies may have cheaper car insurance rates than others when it comes to insuring you. We compared rates from several major insurance companies that offer plans to higher-risk drivers, and Geico consistently offered the lowest prices, with rates 36% less expensive than the average.

Best High risk Auto Insurance Companies

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While your rates will differ from the sample in our study, our list can help you figure out where to begin. Below we'll look at the average annual cost for three of the largest car insurance companies, plus a major nonstandard auto insurer (The General) for four scenarios:

Geico
State Farm
The General
Allstate
Average
30-day coverage lapse$1,408$2,064$3,155$3,434$2,515
2 recent speeding tickets$2,251$2,860$3,155$3,434$2,925
DUI with SR-22$2,607$3,019$3,509$5,431$3,641
18-year-old, recent ticket$3,646$6,099$7,604$8,334$6,421

All quotes are state averages in Texas for a one-year, full-coverage policy. Except where noted, all quotes are for a 30-year-old male with average credit and no other driving incidents.

Geico consistently offered the most affordable rates, coming out with the least expensive option for each of our sample drivers, though State Farm's rates were also on the affordable side.

The nonstandard insurer we included in our survey, The General, didn't offer competitive rates to any of our sample drivers. However, high-risk drivers may find that mainstream insurers do not offer them a quote at all, while nonstandard insurers like The General are more likely to offer coverage.

This study is based on select sample driver profiles, so your rates may differ. To find the most affordable high-risk auto insurance, you should always compare quotes from multiple companies.

How to get insurance if insurers won't cover you

Almost every state requires drivers to carry car insurance, but some insurance companies may deny coverage to high-risk drivers. In this case, there are two main options to look into: nonstandard insurance companies and state-sponsored automobile insurance plans. Unfortunately, both tend to charge higher rates to drivers than mainstream providers.

Nonstandard insurance companies are simply companies that specialize in providing coverage to people who are having trouble getting a quote from another carrier. Nonstandard insurers tend to be more region-specific than mainstream providers, but bigger companies include The General, Safe Auto and National General.

Contact an insurance agent or broker for more information on assigned risk plans, or read more about your state's plan in the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office (AIPSO) directory.

Below, we've noted the name and link of the state plan or mechanism for high-risk drivers in every state and the District of Columbia.

Who is an at-risk driver?

A prior DUI offense, age, lapses in insurance coverage and credit scores can all affect your risk profile — and therefore influence your auto insurance premium.

The most common high-risk factors include:

How much more you'll pay as an at-risk driver varies, but the more factors that apply to you, the higher your rates will be. Younger drivers with a driving infraction have the highest rates overall. Not every state uses driver's license points, but many of these high-risk factors will add points to your license, as well.

Cost of insurance for high-risk drivers

DUI offense

If you've been convicted of driving under the influence, your premiums will increase. Once you get your license back, your insurer may need to file an SR-22 form on your behalf. This form confirms you have auto insurance with at least the state-required limits. You may need to keep the SR-22 form on file for several years — and during this time, you'll pay higher rates as a high-risk driver.

Multiple tickets

While one speeding ticket may not put you in the high-risk category, if you get multiple infractions or a ticket for driving far faster than the posted speed limit, you're likely to have trouble finding an affordable rate.

Young or first-time drivers

Research has shown that young drivers are more likely to exhibit risky driving behavior and get into car accidents, so insurance carriers adjust their premiums accordingly.

Regardless of age, drivers who are newly licensed always face higher insurance rates than seasoned drivers who have been driving for a longer period of time. There is one way to work around this rule: Ask a more experienced driver to add you to their existing policy. This shortcut ensures your premiums will be lower than if you decided to go it alone.

Lapse in insurance coverage

If you let your insurance lapse, whether by canceling your policy or not paying your premium, you're going to find that premiums are higher once you reapply. This is because a lapse in coverage indicates to insurers that you may not be reliable financially. 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 six months or more for your policy premiums to decrease.

Poor credit

People who have a poor credit history are also deemed high-risk drivers. Insurance companies are essentially placing millions of bets in the form of insurance policies, and to decrease their risk, they want to insure people who are less likely to file claims.

Insurers have found that checking your credit history is one quick and easy way to ballpark the likelihood that you will file a claim. Fortunately, there are some insurance carriers that don't do credit checks — but you'll have to shop around. Additionally, a few states ban insurers from using credit history when calculating rates.

Other serious driving violations

A DUI is one example of a serious driving violation, and your insurance premiums will also spike if you have any other type of serious driving violation — such as hit and run, road rage, reckless driving or excessive speeding. Higher insurance premiums may be the least of your worries, however, as some of these moving violations can be considered felonies that could result in jail time.

How can I find high-risk auto insurance?

The first step to find a good rate for a driver with a bad record is to get several online quotes from multiple insurers and compare rates to choose the best plan.

Until you get your quotes, you can't be 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:

  • Work to improve your credit score
  • Get good grades as a student
  • Take 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.

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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 rates will go down over time as you prove you're a safe and responsible driver. Yes, certain things like getting a DUI will keep you paying increased premiums for a longer period, but most high-risk drivers can begin paying lower rates after a year or two.

Frequently asked questions

What is a high-risk driver?

A high-risk driver is someone who insurers think is more likely to make a claim or be in a crash than a typical driver. There's no specific rule for who is or isn't high-risk, but if you are young, have multiple serious driving infractions on your record or have let your insurance lapse, you're likely in the high-risk category.

How much is high-risk insurance?

How much more you'll pay as a high-risk driver will vary based on what makes you high-risk, how long ago the incident was and where you live. But we found that being high-risk can increase your rates by as little as 4%, or as much as 165%.

What is the best insurance for high-risk drivers?

We found great prices for high-risk drivers at Geico, but drivers with very poor risk profiles may need to try a nonstandard insurer like The General or Safe Auto. Or, you can get a policy through your state's high-risk insurance pool.

Methodology

Surveyed auto insurance costs are for illustrative purposes only, and actual quotes will vary based on your physical residence, driving history and other factors. ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.

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.