In 2019, the most recent year with available data, car accidents were a leading cause of death in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. If you are found to be at-fault for causing a motor vehicle accident or routinely engage in aggressive driving behaviors, insurance companies may consider you a high-risk driver.
Bankrate defines a high-risk driver as one who has been found at-fault for causing an accident, has at least one speeding ticket, has a DUI conviction, or has had a lapse in insurance coverage. It can be more difficult for high-risk drivers to find affordable car insurance following such incidents. However, having an understanding of the average premiums that other high-risk drivers in Colorado pay could help you to make an informed decision when choosing an insurance provider.
Rates for high-risk car insurance in Colorado
Insurance premiums tend to increase after traffic violations. The amount of the premium increase will vary depending on the specific insurance provider, type of traffic violation and number of previous violations on your record. Factors such as your age, the type of car you drive and the coverages that you purchase also have an impact on your premium.
Rates after a speeding ticket
Speeding is a leading cause of traffic fatalities in Colorado. Depending on your insurance provider, you could be looking at a rate increase in excess of 50%. The table below illustrates how a few insurance companies in Colorado respond to drivers with a speeding ticket on their record.
|Car insurance company||Colorado average annual premium for full coverage before a speeding ticket||Colorado average annual premium for full coverage after a speeding ticket||% difference|
It is important to note that these rate increases reflect a driver with just one speeding ticket. If you already have a speeding ticket on your driving record, your rates will likely be even higher.
Rates after an accident
If you have caused an accident, you can expect your auto insurance premiums to increase. Drivers in Colorado could see rate increases higher than 60% depending on their insurance company. The table below reflects the rate increases drivers can expect from some of the car insurance companies in the state.
|Car insurance company||Colorado average annual premium for full coverage before an accident||Colorado average annual premium for full coverage after an accident||% difference|
|Colorado Farm Bureau||$2,870||$3,509||22%|
Some auto insurance providers offer accident forgiveness programs, allowing drivers to accumulate one at-fault accident on their record without seeing their premium increase. However, you will typically need to have this endorsement on your policy prior to an accident happening to take advantage of its features. Talking to your insurance agent may help you gather more information about your company’s accident forgiveness program, if one is offered.
Rates after a DUI
In Colorado, alcohol impairment contributed to 27% of all traffic fatalities in 2019. Driving under the influence is a serious situation. Not only will drivers see a significant premium increase, but they may also be required to show proof of an SR-22 certification — a document that insurance companies file for certain high-risk drivers that certifies to the DMV that they hold the minimum state required car insurance coverage.
In addition to premium increases, you may face jail time, fines or license suspension or revocation following a DUI. As you can see from the table below, insurance rate increases following a DUI in Colorado can be substantial.
|Car insurance company||Colorado average annual premium for full coverage before a DUI||Colorado average annual premium for full coverage after a DUI||% difference|
Some companies may not be willing to renew your auto insurance policy following a DUI conviction, meaning you will need to look for car insurance with a new company.
Rates for teen drivers
Driver inexperience was a factor in 18% of auto crashes in Colorado between 2005 and 2019. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are at the highest risk of motor vehicle crashes when compared to every other age group. For this reason, teenagers can expect to pay higher rates for their car insurance coverage than their adult counterparts. The following table illustrates the average premiums for a policyholder adding a 16-year-old driver to their policy.
|Car insurance company||Average annual premium for full coverage|
*16-year-old on their parent’s policy
These premiums reflect the difference for adding the teen, not the entire policy premium. After your teen driver enters adulthood, rates will generally decrease with time and experience.
Who is a high-risk driver?
Bankrate defines a high-risk driver as one who has at least one of the following traffic violations on their record:
- At-fault accident
- Speeding ticket
- DUI conviction
- Lapse in coverage
This definition is not the standard definition used by insurance carriers when determining your rates. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a high-risk driver is simply a driver who has a higher likelihood of filing a claim with their insurance company than what is considered average. You might be considered high-risk if:
- You have been convicted of a DUI.
- You have received a speeding ticket.
- You were involved in illegal street racing.
- You have been caught driving without a license.
- You drive recklessly.
- You have caused a fatality or serious accident.
- You are a teenager.
- You have a poor driving record.
- You own a high-risk vehicle, such as a sports car, exotic car or collectible car.
- You have had a lapse in insurance coverage.
- You are 70 years old or older.
When it comes to your auto insurance, knowing if you are classified as a high-risk driver could help you to identify potential savings opportunities.
How to lower your rate if you are a high-risk driver
Although high-risk drivers do pay more for insurance than drivers with clean records, there are ways to help lower insurance costs. High-risk drivers in Colorado can try the following tips to help reduce their car insurance premiums:
- Shop around: Every insurance carrier offers different rates, so it can be helpful to shop around to find the coverage you need at the lowest price.
- Improve your credit score: Your insurance provider may review your credit rating to assess your risk profile. By improving your credit score, you could lower your perceived risk to insurers.
- Increase your deductible: One easy way to reduce your premium is by increasing your deductible. The more money you are willing to pay out of pocket when you file a claim, the lower your premium will be. Be sure to choose a deductible level that you can reasonably afford to pay if you file a claim.
- Take advantage of discounts: Many insurance companies offer discounts that can make a significant impact on your insurance costs. Talk to your insurance provider to find out what discounts it offers and which you might qualify for.
One of the most effective things that high-risk drivers can do to reduce their car insurance rates is to improve their driving behaviors. Tickets, accidents and DUIs generally only charge on your policy for three to five years. If you can avoid adding additional infractions to your record during that time, you may find that your premiums go down after several years of good driving.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance company for high-risk drivers?
The best car insurance company for high-risk drivers will depend on each driver’s specific situation. Factors like your coverage needs, the number of traffic violations or accidents that you have, your age and gender, your ZIP code and what type of car you drive all impact your insurance costs. You may want to shop around and compare quotes from several insurance companies to find the right coverage for you.
How long does it take for insurance rates to go down for high-risk drivers?
It depends on the type of traffic violation that was committed and the rules of your specific insurance company. However, most incidents are removed from your risk profile after three to five years. If you are unsure how long your company will charge a ticket or accident on your policy, your agent should be able to advise you of that threshold.
Why do high-risk drivers pay more for car insurance?
Insurance premiums are partly based on risk. If you already have a ticket, accident or DUI on your driving record, insurance companies view it as statistically more likely that you will continue that driving behavior, leading to claims. To make up for the higher risk, your policy is charged accordingly.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. 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 coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 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.
Incident: 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.