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Cheap auto insurance for high-risk drivers

Updated Mar 25, 2024
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How to find cheap auto insurance for high-risk drivers

Key takeaways

  • According to Bankrate’s research, Selective, Erie and Amica offer some of the cheapest car insurance for drivers with an at-fault accident on their record.
  • American National offers the cheapest average premiums for drivers with a DUI at $975 a year for full coverage.
  • Erie, Auto-Owners and USAA offer some of the cheapest car insurance for those with a speeding ticket conviction.

Finding affordable car insurance for high-risk drivers starts with understanding what constitutes a high-risk driver. Some factors are driving-related, such as receiving a speeding ticket, causing an accident and being charged with a DUI. Other factors may include a lack of experience (like being a young driver), a prior lapse in coverage or a poor credit score. However, some states (like Massachusetts and Hawaii) ban the use of age or credit history when pricing premiums.

Bankrate’s insurance editorial team, which includes licensed agents, analyzed average premium data from Quadrant Information Services to see how insurance carriers adjust rates by driver profile. The rates below are based on drivers with one driving infraction on their motor vehicle record. We also reviewed insurers’ policy options, financial strength and customer service, among other factors, to identify the best cheap insurance for high-risk drivers.

Cheapest car insurance for high-risk drivers

Drivers classified as high-risk may have more difficulty finding affordable auto insurance because car insurance companies presume that they are more likely to exhibit unsafe driving behaviors and file more claims. This can lead to higher premiums or even denied coverage. While a good driver pays an average car insurance premium of $2,014 per year for full coverage and $622 per year for minimum coverage, high-risk drivers, on average, pay more than that.

The good news is there are affordable options available for most car owners. Bankrate’s extensive research found that Selective, Geico and Erie offer some of the cheapest car insurance for high-risk drivers. Below you will find each company’s average rates for good drivers, which can be a useful baseline comparison for each of the different high-risk driving scenarios that follow:

Car insurance company National average annual full coverage premium
Selective $1,131
Geico $1,353
Erie $1,356
Auto-Owners $1,361
USAA $1,361
Nationwide $1,422

Cheap car insurance for drivers with an at-fault accident

After an at-fault accident, car insurance companies will typically add a surcharge to your policy (unless you have accident forgiveness). While the surcharge amount may depend on the severity of the accident and the amount paid out in a claim, it’s unlikely that you’ll pay close to the original premium you had as a driver with a clean driving record.

Our research shows that Selective, Erie and Amica offer some of the cheapest car insurance premiums for drivers with one at-fault accident on their record. Compared to Selective’s average premium for a good driver, its average premium for a driver with one at-fault accident is only $86 more per year.

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage rate
Selective $1,217
Erie $1,607
Amica $1,742
Auto-Owners $1,759
Nationwide $1,852

Cheap car insurance for drivers with a speeding ticket conviction

Receiving a speeding ticket can be a serious violation, especially if you were significantly over the speed limit. A speeding ticket conviction can also have an impact on your car insurance premium. Based on our study, Erie and USAA’s policies are about $120 to $290 more per year.

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage rate
Erie $1,476
Auto-Owners $1,572
USAA $1,652
Geico $1,658
Nationwide $1,684

Cheap car insurance for drivers with a DUI conviction

A DUI conviction is one of the most severe driving infractions and may stay on your driving record for up to 10 years depending on the laws in your state. Car insurance companies consider drivers with a DUI conviction to be some of the riskiest to insure, and the average rates below reflect as much. 

Based on our research, American National offers the cheapest average premiums for drivers with a DUI at $975 a year for full coverage. Selective’s average rates are around $650 more per year compared to a driver with a clean record. And the next two cheapest companies, Progressive and Mercury, charge drivers with a DUI conviction average rates of over $2,000 per year.

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage rate
American National $975
Selective $1,762
Progressive $2,156
Mercury $2,259
Erie $2,356

Cheap car insurance for young drivers

Young drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents compared to older drivers, largely due to their lack of experience. As such, young drivers pay some of the most expensive car insurance premiums. We found that Wawanesa, Erie and USAA offer some of the cheapest car insurance for 18-year-olds on their own policy. 

However, note that age is not a rating factor in all states. In Massachusetts and Hawaii, for example, auto insurance companies are not allowed to consider your age.

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage rate
Wawanesa $2,850
Erie $2,988
Auto-Owners $3,540
USAA $3,764
Selective $3,802

*Rates based on 18-year-old drivers who rent and have their own policy.

Cheap car insurance for drivers with a lapse in coverage

A lapse in car insurance coverage can occur if you fail to pay your premiums or if you are switching carriers and your original policy ends before your new one starts. Depending on how long the lapse lasts, your car insurance rates might not be impacted significantly. However, more apparent additional costs may be incurred, and lapses can limit the carriers you can find competitive rates with. 

If you’ve experienced a lapse in coverage and resulting rate hike, consider getting quotes from the following insurers:

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage rate
Auto-Owners $1,362
Erie $1,363
Geico $1,430
USAA $1,453
Amica $1,467

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Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

Advertising Disclosure
This advertisement is powered by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. The offers and links that appear on this advertisement are from companies that compensate Coverage.com in different ways. The compensation received and other factors, such as your location, may impact what offers and links appear, and how, where and in what order they appear. While we seek to provide a wide range of offers, we do not include every product or service that may be available. Our goal is to keep information accurate and timely, but some information may not be current. Your actual offer from an advertiser may be different from the offer on this advertisement. All offers are subject to additional terms and conditions.

What makes a driver high-risk?

Insurance companies often look at a driver’s past driving, claims and insurance history to predict the possibility that they will file more claims in the future. Some specific factors that may contribute to a high-risk driver status include:

  • Having poor credit: Drivers with poor credit are statistically more likely to also file more claims. For this reason, insurance companies often factor this in while calculating insurance rates, although it is not permitted in certain states.
  • Committing a hit-and-run: Causing an accident and fleeing the scene is considered a very serious offense and could even come with criminal charges. Drivers with a hit-and-run on their driving record are very likely to be considered a high-risk driver by car insurance companies.
  • Speeding excessively: Driving at excessively high speeds means that there is less time to adjust for potentially dangerous situations and course-correct. Driving 15 mph over the speed limit or more or continuing to speed even after receiving speeding tickets can signal to an insurance company that a driver is especially high-risk and reckless.

How to prevent a high-risk driver status

Taking precautions while driving can help you maintain a clean driving record. Some safe driving habits include:

  1. Leaving early: If possible, try to allow as much time as needed for you to reach your destination. Check real-time traffic before you leave to see if there are any accidents or slowdowns on your route so you can adequately prepare.
  2. Maintaining safe speeds: Driving at an appropriate speed is one of the easiest ways to stay safe while driving. Avoiding speeding can give you more time to anticipate hazards around you and react to drivers. Other safe driving habits include increasing your following distance and using your turn signals and mirrors to change lanes safely.
  3. Considering accident forgiveness: Despite our best efforts, accidents can happen. If your car insurance company has the option, consider purchasing accident forgiveness. With this add-on, the surcharge on your first at-fault accident is waived.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually. 

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes. 

Incidents: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Written by
Grace Kim
Insurance Contributor

Grace Kim has two years of experience in writing for finance and insurance domains such as Bankrate and Reviews.com. She has written about auto, homeowners, renters and life insurance. She has spent most of her professional experience writing about finance and tech topics.

Edited by Editor, Insurance