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Car insurance for high-risk drivers in New Jersey

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High-risk drivers may find it challenging to get affordable car insurance. Bankrate defines a high-risk driver as someone with at least one speeding ticket conviction, at-fault accident, DUI conviction or gap in continuous insurance coverage on their motor vehicle record (MVR).

In 2019, 195 drivers died in alcohol-related incidents, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Drunk driving and other types of reckless driving can deem a person a “high-risk driver,” which can make them ineligible for a standard auto insurance policy. Auto insurance companies offering high-risk car insurance in New Jersey provide an alternative solution for some of these drivers who may not qualify for traditional coverage outside of the high-risk insurance market.

Rates for high-risk car insurance in New Jersey

Rates for high-risk auto insurance in New Jersey can vary by insurer, but also based on driver-specific factors. While age is often a factor, driving record and claims history also affect rates. Auto insurance companies will factor in driving infractions like speeding ticket convictions, at-fault accidents and DUI convictions when calculating insurance premiums. Teen drivers are also typically considered high-risk drivers due to their lack of road experience. Below, Bankrate showcases how different incidents impact auto insurance rates across companies, based on premium data from Quadrant Information Services.

Rates after a speeding ticket

A high-risk driver in New Jersey can expect their insurance rates to increase by at least 16% on average with a speeding ticket conviction, although actual rate increases will vary by company. Drivers can also face fines between $85 to $260 depending on how much in excess of the speed limit the driver was traveling. Repeat offenders could also be jailed, have their vehicle impounded and have their license suspended or revoked. Though not everyone will need high-risk auto insurance after one speeding ticket on their MVR, repeat offenders may find limited insurance options and need to resort to high-risk insurance coverage.

The table below shows the average yearly rate for full coverage before and after a speeding ticket conviction in New Jersey, including the percentage increase, by company. Geico, Selective and Progressive are some of the cheapest auto insurance providers in New Jersey for high-risk drivers, on average.

New Jersey average annual full coverage premium

Car insurance company Rate before a speeding ticket conviction Rate after a speeding ticket conviction % increase
Geico $1,316 $1,566 19%
Selective $1,085 $1,708 57%
Progressive $1,469 $1,710 16%

Rates after an at-fault accident

An at-fault collision is when a driver is responsible for causing personal injury or property damage to another party’s property, or one that results in injuries or damages to their own passengers and vehicle. Though Selective only shows a 9% average increase after an at-fault accident, Geico’s and Progressive’s rates increase 40% and 57% on average, respectively. After an at-fault collision, a high-risk driver label is possible, which can increase insurance premiums. It may also lead to the loss of any safe driver discounts currently on a policy.

Subsequent at-fault collisions may result in drivers needing to purchase high-risk car insurance if their current insurer or other companies deem them too risky to insure with a standard policy.

Compare the rates below for average annual premiums before and after an at-fault collision.

New Jersey average annual full coverage premium

Car insurance company Rate before an at-fault accident Rate after an at-fault accident % increase
Geico $1,316 $1,843 40%
Selective $1,085 $1,184 9%
Progressive $1,469 $2,312 57%

Rates after a DUI

A DUI is one of the most serious offenses that can lead to the high-risk driver label. The table below shows before and after average annual rates, with a minimum increase of 10% from Progressive after a DUI conviction is factored in. If a driver’s license is suspended under New Jersey law after a DUI, they may only be eligible for high-risk auto insurance.

New Jersey average annual full coverage premium

Car insurance company Rate before a DUI conviction Rate after a DUI conviction % increase
Geico $1,316 $2,420 84%
Selective $1,085 $1,708 57%
Progressive $1,469 $1,615 10%

High-risk drivers may also have to file an SR-22 to prove they have adequate New Jersey car insurance, as their existing carrier may decide not to renew their policy after a DUI conviction. Subsequent convictions could further limit the chances of qualifying for standard auto insurance, resulting in the need for high-risk insurance.

Rates for teen drivers

Even with a clean driving record, most insurance companies consider teen drivers as high risk until they gain enough years of experience behind the wheel. As teens get older and continue to practice safe driving habits, rates usually decrease, although there is no guarantee of lower rates. The table below shows the average annual cost of car insurance with and without a 16-year-old driver included on the policy.

Average annual full coverage premiums for policyholders:

Car insurance company Rate without a 16-year-old insured Rate with a 16-year-old insured
Geico $1,316 $1,844
Selective $1,085 $2,367
Progressive $1,469 $2,617

*Rate reflects the total average annual premium for a 16-year-old driver added to a married parent’s policy

Teens are usually listed as drivers on their parents’ policy. However, that could change if they become a high-risk driver with a speeding ticket, at-fault accident or DUI on their record. If that happens, they may not be renewed and have to pursue high-risk car insurance elsewhere.

Who is a high-risk driver?

A high-risk driver is someone that a car insurance company may designate as more likely to file costly claims. Some behaviors that may flag you as high risk include speeding, drinking and driving or driving distracted, such as texting while driving.

Bankrate’s high-risk driver profile accounts for policyholders who had a lapse in coverage in the past, teen drivers and those who have had one speeding ticket conviction, at-fault accident or DUI conviction on their record.

How to lower your rate if you are a high-risk driver

Insurance rates may remain high as long as the points still show on your driving record. In the case of a DUI, expect to pay higher rates for at least 10 years. To offset some of the costs associated with high-risk driving, consider the following tactics:

  • Attend traffic school after receiving a ticket to wipe out points before they are added to your motor vehicle record.
  • Shop around and switch car insurance providers if another insurer is able to offer you a better rate.
  • Look for a carrier that offers accident forgiveness. While this will not lower rates following a recent incident, you may save yourself from increased rates in the future should one new at-fault accident occur. Limitations may apply. Some providers that offer accident forgiveness are:
    • Geico
    • Nationwide
    • Progressive
    • State Farm
    • USAA
  • Ask for discounts based on your unique profile, such as those for students, military or corporate affiliation, or for having purchased a newer car.
  • Adjust your deductible; assuming a greater degree of financial responsibility for future claims can reduce your premiums.
  • Compare car insurance quotes each year before your coverage ends to ensure you are still getting the best price.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

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.

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.

Age: Rates were calculated by evaluating ages ranging from 18 – 60 years old. Rates for 16- and 17-year old drivers were calculated based on married male and female drivers insured together with a 16- or 17-year-old driver added to their policy. Age is not a contributing rating factor in Hawaii and Massachusetts due to state regulations.

Written by
Mandy Sleight
Insurance Contributor
Mandy Sleight has been a licensed insurance agent since 2005. She has three years of experience writing for insurance websites such as Bankrate, MoneyGeek and The Simple Dollar. Mandy writes about auto, homeowners, renters, life insurance, disability and supplemental insurance products.
Edited by
Insurance Editor