Car insurance for high-risk drivers in Pennsylvania

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There were 125,267 reportable traffic accidents in Pennsylvania in 2019. Speeding and drunk driving were the leading causes, accounting for over 30% of the crashes reported and causing most fatalities.

Drivers who have a DUI or multiple accidents and speeding tickets on their driving record are considered high-risk by insurance companies. Rates for high-risk drivers in Pennsylvania are typically higher, and, in more extreme cases, they may not be able to get insurance through a traditional carrier. There are some auto coverage options available if you are a high-risk driver, though.

High-risk car insurance Pennsylvania rates

Insurance rates are based on several factors, but driving history is one of the most important. If you have a history of certain offenses on your driving record, it may be harder to find affordable coverage. Take a closer look at how different events can affect your car insurance.

Rates after a speeding ticket

It is important to shop around for vehicle coverage to compare the cost of insurance. You will find that insurance carriers weigh auto insurance premium increases after a speeding ticket differently, and some will be more affordable than others.

Car insurance company Pennsylvania average annual premium for full coverage before a speeding ticket Pennsylvania average annual premium for full coverage after a speeding ticket % difference
Auto-Owners $1,098 $1,509 27%
Erie $1,079 $1,320 18%
USAA $1,126 $1,423 21%

Although USAA is only available to military personnel and qualifying family members, all three carriers have solid reputations. If you occasionally get cited for speeding, Erie seems to offer more affordable premiums for drivers with speeding tickets. It’s important to note that multiple speeding offenses would likely impact your premiums even more.

Rates after an accident

Car accidents are expensive, with a lifetime economic cost of more than $150 billion annually. Some companies offer accident forgiveness, which typically forgives one claim every three years without a premium increase. If your carrier doesn’t provide the feature and you have one or more accidents, you could pay nearly double for car insurance after an at-fault crash. If you have multiple at-fault car accidents in three years, your insurance company may cancel your coverage.

Car insurance company Pennsylvania average annual premium for full coverage before an accident Pennsylvania average annual premium for full coverage after an accident % difference
Auto-Owners $1,098 $1,659 34%
Erie $1,079 $1,453 26%
Penn National $971 $1,765 45%

Not all carriers treat accidents equally. Pennsylvania drivers who tend to get into accidents should shop around to learn about each company’s policies regarding premium increases.

Rates after a DUI

Driving under the influence is a serious offense. Besides the risk of causing fatalities, the average DUI can ultimately cost the offender between $10,000 to $25,000, including the increased cost of insurance premiums. Pennsylvania does not require drivers to obtain an SR-22 (certificate of financial responsibility) after a conviction, but car insurance rates will likely increase significantly.

Car insurance company Pennsylvania average annual premium for full coverage before a DUI Pennsylvania average annual premium for full coverage after a DUI % difference
AmTrust Financial $1,098 $2,489 56%
Erie $1,079 $2,152 50%
Progressive $1,278 $2,067 38%

Some car insurance companies are more willing to work with high-risk drivers than others. As you can see, Progressive may be a good option if you can’t afford a steep increase in premiums after a DUI. Keep in mind that multiple offenses will result in even higher increases, and some insurers may cancel your coverage.

Rate for teen drivers

Teen drivers in Pennsylvania were responsible for the most crashes of all age groups. Over 4% of young drivers were involved in a crash in the state due to their lack of driving experience. The average insurance rates for adding a 16-year-old to a parent’s car insurance vary, but here are a few examples.

Car insurance company Average annual premium for full coverage*
Auto-Owners $1,249
Geico $1,252
Penn National $1,554

*16-year-old on their parent’s policy

Many carriers offer vehicle insurance savings for teens, such as defensive driving courses or good student discounts, so it’s typically a good idea to shop around and compare quotes and discounts from multiple carriers.

Who is a high-risk driver?

A high-risk driver is someone who insurance companies believe is more likely to be involved in a costly accident. You can be classified as a high-risk driver by an insurance carrier based on your driving record, but there are often other factors involved, such as age. For our purposes, we calculated the rate increases for high-risk drivers in Pennsylvania based on a clean driving record plus one high-risk factor, such as an incident or the driver’s age.

Some insurance companies may deny coverage to high-risk drivers or dramatically increase insurance premiums. Also, Pennsylvania may suspend or revoke your driver’s license if you are convicted of reckless driving, excessive speeding, DUI and more. Drivers classified as high-risk drivers are typically:

  • At fault in one or more crashes (some carriers forgive the first accident)
  • Convicted of one or more DUIs
  • Cited for one or more speeding tickets or other moving violations

Except for DUIs, being involved in one high-risk incident only once will typically not break your premium budget. Still, multiple offenses will flag you as a serious risk and are likely to substantially increase your insurance costs or even prevent you from easily finding coverage. Teen insurance costs typically decrease as the driver ages and gains more driving experience, as long as their driving record is kept clean.

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

A high-risk driver will usually pay significantly more for car insurance than a safe driver. Some ways to save on vehicle insurance include:

  • Drive safely for at least one year. Points in Pennsylvania are removed after one year without new violations. As points fall off your record, your car insurance premiums will go down.
  • Choose a carrier that will forgive one accident every three years.
  • Complete a driver improvement course to earn a discount on your car insurance for up to three years.
  • Enroll in a telematics program, which tracks your real-life driving habits. Driving safely and avoiding speeding will earn you a discount on your premiums.

Shopping around for car insurance is also typically a good way to find cheaper coverage for your unique circumstances. Get quotes from several carriers to compare and speak with a licensed insurance agent to ensure you are getting the best deal.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best car insurance companies in Pennsylvania?

There is no one best car insurance company for anyone, as everyone’s needs are different. If you are looking for good car insurance in Pennsylvania, consider shopping around and comparing quotes, coverage and discounts from multiple providers in your area. If in doubt, speak with a licensed insurance agent to determine what insurance is best for you.

Why is my car insurance more expensive after a speeding ticket?

Speeding is one of the most common causes of an accident. If your car insurance company believes you are more likely to cause a crash, they will raise your premiums to offset potentially expensive claims.

Do I need an SR-22 in Pennsylvania for a DUI?

Pennsylvania is one of the few states that does not require you to file an SR-22 before you can legally drive again. However, all drivers in the state are required to have car insurance.

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.

High-risk drivers
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.

Written by
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance and business journalist who has been featured in Bankrate, Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Freshome.com and TheSimpleDollar.com. She regularly travels to Africa and the Middle East to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development and works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility.