What Is High-Risk Car Insurance?

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Despite your best efforts, your driving record may have a few more negative marks on it than you care to admit. Fortunately, there are some solutions available if you are looking for bad driving record auto insurance.

Our experts have reviewed the nation’s top insurance providers, including companies like Nationwide, State Farm, GEICO, Progressive, and others. We have taken that information gathered and identified the best insurance companies in the industry so that you can buy with confidence.

In our guide, we’ll outline key factors that will influence your ability to get auto coverage with a bad driving record. If you would like to start obtaining free quotes right now, check out our comparison tool above. It will connect you with great auto insurance companies in minutes. You will not even need to offer up tons of personal information to get your free car insurance quote.

What Defines a Bad Driving Record?

When insurance companies offer you a quote, they do so based on a risk assessment. While there are many factors that influence your auto insurance rates, your driving record is one of the most important.

Traditionally, companies will label a driver as “high risk” if they have multiple traffic infractions, crashes, or both. Usually, it takes multiple incidents for you to be officially labeled as a high-risk driver. 

There are a few exceptions, though. For instance, if you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you will almost certainly be deemed a high-risk driver.

Drivers with a bad driving record are at an increased risk of being involved in a car accident. Typically, these drivers also engage in other high-risk activities, such as distracted driving or speeding. 

Once someone is labeled as high risk, it can affect their rates for years to come. That is why it’s best to protect your clean driving record if you want to obtain cheap car insurance.

Where Can I Find Auto Insurance with a Bad Driving Record?

Unfortunately, vehicle owners who have bad driving records will often pay more for auto coverage than people who don’t have any car accidents or traffic violations. Regardless of your driving record, the best way to find good coverage is to shop around.

It doesn’t cost anything to compare rates from multiple insurers. However, taking the time to search for the perfect policy could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

Remember, any insurance provider is going to conduct a records request on your driver’s license and accident history. It is important that you be honest in this situation, as it is a crime to make false claims in order to obtain a policy.

Getting SR-22 Bad Driver Insurance Coverage

Your DMV may require you to obtain a special vehicle liability insurance endorsement. This endorsement is often referred to as an “SR-22” and is required for high-risk drivers.

When you’re applying for quotes, make sure you mention that you need an SR-22 designation. Insurance providers use the information you provide to calculate your rates. Failing to tell them about your SR-22 designation can cause you to receive inaccurate quotes.

Auto Insurance Costs with a Bad Driving Record

Remember, auto insurance providers are businesses, and the end goal of any business is to make a profit. If you are a high-risk driver, then there is an increased chance that you will need to file a claim at some point.

As a result, insurance providers charge high-risk drivers more for auto coverage. When you’re shopping around, make sure to obtain quotes from companies that specialize in providing coverage to high-risk drivers.

How to Find Affordable Auto Insurance Rates with a Poor Driving Record

Once you have a poor driving record, it can be tough to find cheap high-risk auto insurance. However, there are a few cost-saving methods you can use.

For instance, you might want to pay your 6-month policy upfront instead of opting for monthly payments. Many insurers offer discounts for paying this way. Make sure to also find out whether your insurer offers special discounts for taking a driving course.

If you do not currently own a car or are considering buying a new car, find quotes before you buy. High-risk drivers can often save some money on insurance premiums by purchasing a cheaper vehicle. Insurance companies charge less because cheaper vehicles are not as expensive to repair in the event of an accident.

Types of Bad Driver Auto Insurance Coverage

Every state has unique requirements for auto coverage. For instance, the minimum allowable coverage in Florida will be different from what it is in California.

If you are a high-risk driver, consider switching to the minimal coverage in your state. Doing so can save you money while still giving you adequate protection in the event of an accident. It is important that you carefully review your state’s requirements before making any changes to your policy, though.

What Other Factors Affect Insurance Rates?

Although your driving record is the most important factor when it comes to your auto insurance rates, other criteria comes into play as well. This criteria includes your annual mileage, the type of vehicle you drive, your age, gender, credit score and geographical location.

If you want to maximize your savings, address the factors you can control. These factors include the type of vehicle you drive and how many miles you travel each week. You might be surprised just how much you can save.

Special Programs for Bad Drivers

In rare cases, you may not be able to find private auto insurance coverage. Fortunately, California and a few other states offer special coverage for high-risk or low-income drivers. 

Residents of other states will be forced to find a private auto insurance policy. If you can’t find coverage, you may need to speak to your local insurance agent so that they can connect you with a reputable provider.

Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance

Now that we have covered the ins and outs of bad driving record auto insurance, it is time to connect you with a reputable provider. When you are on the hunt for new coverage, it is important to compare multiple auto insurance quotes. Obtaining quotes from car insurance companies is free, and it’s also one of the best ways to ensure that you get a great deal.

If you would like to start shopping for a new policy, feel free to try out our rate comparison tool below. Simply enter your zip code to get started. Once you have found a policy that is right for you, we can even show you how to buy your insurance online in a few simple steps.

Below, our experts share their thoughts on some of the nation’s top providers.

GEICO: Best Overall

At the end of our review of the nation’s top insurance providers, GEICO stood above the rest. Our experts awarded this industry giant a score of 9.1 out of 10 overall. It also earned the title of “Best Overall.” GEICO has flexible policy options and some unique offerings, such as mechanical breakdown coverage.

USAA: Best Military Provider

USAA could not quite edge out GEICO in our expert review. However, it did earn the title of “Best Military Provider.” This company is known for offering its customers superior service and flexible coverage options. 

If you or an immediate family member are a retired or active member of the U.S. Armed Forces, then you are most likely eligible for USAA auto coverage.

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High-Risk Driver: FAQ

What is the best car insurance for bad drivers?

There is no one-size-fits-all coverage option for vehicle owners who have bad driving records. However, some companies, like Progressive, are specifically known for working with high-risk drivers.

Does driving history affect car insurance rates?

Yes, while many factors impact your insurance rates, driving history is one of the most important for providers. If you have multiple at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, or both, then you will pay more for insurance coverage.

How can I lower my insurance rates as a bad driver?

While time does not heal all things, it can certainly help repair your reputation with insurance providers. Most of your negative driving history will fall off of your driving report after 3 years. However, some car insurance companies keep detailed records for as long as 7 years. You can also take a defensive driving course if your insurer offers discounts for the class.

What should I do if I can’t find coverage as a high-risk driver?

Just about anyone can find auto coverage, even if they are a high-risk driver. However, bad driving record auto insurance will be more costly.