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High-risk auto insurance
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High-risk drivers — such as those with tickets, accidents, DUI/DWI convictions or lapses in coverage — might have a harder time finding affordable insurance than drivers with clean driving records. However, auto insurance coverage is required in most states whether you have a spotless record or not, so high-risk drivers may still need to find a policy that works for their needs. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team investigated various components of high-risk auto insurance to help you navigate your coverage choices.
What is high-risk car insurance?
High-risk auto insurance is simply an auto insurance policy written for a driver deemed to have a higher chance of filing a claim. The greater the likelihood of you filing a claim, the more a car insurance company is likely to charge you for coverage. Higher premiums may help insurance companies offset the greater risk that these drivers pose. Although there are some incidents, like multiple speeding tickets or a DUI, that are commonly associated with high-risk auto insurance, each carrier has its own interpretation of high-risk driving and may be more or less willing to issue coverage based on your personal rating factors.
How to get high-risk auto insurance
Insurance options for high-risk drivers may be more limited than those for standard car insurance shoppers. Not all car insurance companies are willing to insure high-risk drivers, even for a higher premium. Also, some drivers that fall into the high-risk category require SR-22 filings. These forms are filed with the state on the driver's behalf by the insurance company to prove that the driver holds the state-mandated level of liability coverage. If you need high-risk auto insurance, these strategies may help you navigate the process.
- Identify your high-risk factors: The best high-risk auto carrier for you will likely be different if you need SR-22 filing than if you have a teen driver to insure. Understanding your rating factors may help you identify how limited you are in your coverage options.
- Research high-risk auto carriers: Researching carriers, like those listed below, and comparing quotes may help you see if any could offer you an affordable premium.
- Find an independent car insurance broker: Finding a broker that works closely with several insurance companies may help you identify coverage options for your specific high-risk rating factors.
- Work towards standard coverage: Depending on your reason for needing high-risk insurance, you may be able to leave high-risk coverage behind by avoiding tickets and accidents, improving your credit score or simply waiting for your teen to get some years of driving experience under their belt. Speaking with a licensed insurance agent may help you qualify for standard coverage sooner.
Best auto insurance companies for high-risk drivers
To help you find the best coverage as a high-risk driver, Bankrate analyzed average annual full coverage premiums from data provided by Quadrant Information Services. We broke down rates from the largest car insurance companies in the nation into four categories: drivers with clean driving records, drivers with one at-fault accident, drivers with one speeding ticket conviction and drivers with a DUI conviction. We also reviewed each company’s coverage offerings, available discounts, policy features and third-party scores to help you get a well-rounded view of each provider.
If you need high-risk car insurance, keep in mind that you will likely pay more for coverage than drivers with clean records. The following companies offer competitive average car insurance rates and solid coverage options, but you can see from the table below that average prices increase across the board if you have an incident on your driving record.
Average annual full coverage premiums by driving incident
|Car insurance company||Clean driving record||At-fault accident||Speeding ticket||DUI*|
*Not all companies will write auto insurance policies for drivers with DUIs. Company guidelines vary by state.
Allstate’s average car insurance rates after a driving incident may be more expensive when compared to other carriers, but it does offer SR-22 filings. In addition, Allstate has a few discounts that may help lower premiums. New policyholders signing on the dotted line seven days or more before the policy start date may qualify for the early signing discount. Policyholders making on-time payments for the entire policy term may qualify for the responsible payer discount. Drivewise, Allstate's telematics program that rewards drivers for practicing safe driving habits, will give you a policy credit every six months if the app shows that you are driving safely.
Learn more: Allstate Insurance review
Amica stands out as an option for high-risk drivers due to its high claims satisfaction score from J.D. Power and competitive average prices for both incident-free drivers and drivers with tickets or accidents. One rather unique benefit that may help lower premiums for younger drivers is its legacy discount. This discount is for drivers under 30 whose parents have been Amica customers for five years or more. If you have DUIs or require an SR-22, you may need to contact an Amica agent directly for more information.
Learn more: Amica Insurance review
Geico may be a good choice if you need high-risk car insurance after a DUI conviction. While the average annual premium increase from a DUI is steep, Geico’s average rate increase is generally less than the national average. Drivers needing a license reinstatement most likely need SR-22 or FR-44 filing, which Geico may be able to handle on your behalf. Geico policyholders may be able to save even more on their premiums by taking advantage of the carrier's long list of discounts. Savings may be available for professional affiliation, good students, telematics participation, military service and more.
Learn more: Geico Insurance review
Progressive may be a popular choice for both young and high-risk drivers due to its lower average car insurance rates for drivers with a DUI, SR-22 filing and various discount options. If you're having trouble finding affordable coverage, the carrier's Name Your Price tool may help you find coverage options within your budget. Policyholders may also be able to lower their premiums with discounts for automatic billing, being a homeowner and enrolling in the carrier's telematics program. Progressive has a below-average claims satisfaction score from J.D. Power, so you may want to speak with existing policyholders before purchasing coverage.
Learn more: Progressive Insurance review
Of all the high-risk auto carriers we reviewed, State Farm came out on top as the Best Auto Insurance Company for High-Risk Drivers in our 2023 Bankrate Awards. The carrier has local agents across the country that may help you navigate coverage options as a high-risk driver. Additionally, drivers may be able to save on their premium with potential discounts for bundling, good students, taking a defensive driving course and enrolling in one of the carrier's two telematics programs. While State Farm’s average high-risk car insurance rates may not be the cheapest compared to other carriers, it does come in below the national average for each of the different high-risk driving scenarios we considered.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
Who is a high-risk driver?
A high-risk driver is anyone that has a greater likelihood of filing a car insurance claim. There are numerous factors that may cause an insurance company to view you as a high-risk driver, including:
- Age: Teens and young adults are generally less experienced than older drivers, which leads to a higher accident rate. However, Hawaii and Massachusetts do not use age as an auto insurance rating factor, so young drivers in these states shouldn’t be considered high-risk unless there are other factors at play.
- Traffic violations: One or more tickets for incidents like speeding or disregarding traffic signals may increase your premiums.
- At-fault accidents: An at-fault accident may indicate to an insurance company that you are more likely to cause another in the future.
- DUI/DWI convictions: DUIs and DWIs are serious infractions and usually come with a host of repercussions. If you have a DUI conviction, you can typically expect to pay significantly more for car insurance.
- Reckless driving: Reckless driving convictions — such as for running a red light or weaving through traffic — could mean you are more likely to cause an accident, so insurance companies will likely charge you more to compensate for the greater risk.
- Poor credit: In most states, your credit history can be used as a car insurance rating factor. Drivers with bad credit-based insurance scores are statistically more likely to file claims, so insurance carriers may charge more. California, Hawaii and Massachusetts do not permit credit to be used as a rating factor. While Michigan does not allow credit scores to be used as a factor in calculating premiums, it does allow insurers to use some of the data that contributes to a consumer’s credit score.
- Lapses in coverage: Car insurance is legally required in almost every state. If you let your car insurance policy lapse, you may be considered high-risk when purchasing a new policy.
Not all of these factors are created equal. A single DUI or reckless driving conviction is likely enough to make you a high-risk driver, but if you have just one traffic violation or a minor at-fault loss, you might not be high-risk, depending on the severity. Additionally, each car insurance company has its own calculation for high-risk drivers.
How much is car insurance for high-risk drivers?
If you are considered a high-risk driver, you are likely going to pay higher insurance costs. However, the amount you will pay varies by driver, state and insurance company. Insurance companies weigh some risks more heavily than others. The best way to know how much you’ll pay for car insurance is to get quotes from several providers.
Rates after a speeding ticket
According to the latest data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding was the cause of one-third of all crash fatalities in 2020. Although the average premium increase following a single speeding ticket conviction is 21 percent, your increase may vary depending on your carrier and the severity of the ticket.
|National average full coverage premium||National average full coverage premium after speeding ticket||Premium impact|
Rates after an at-fault accident
Even a single at-fault accident may be a red flag to insurance companies because it might indicate unsafe driving practices. An at-fault loss could increase your annual premium by an average of 42 percent, but you might see a higher or lower increase depending on the severity of the accident.
|National average full coverage premium||National average full coverage premium after at-fault accident||Premium impact|
Rates after a DUI
Insurance companies typically consider DUIs to be one of the most severe driving infractions. Drunk driving is a leading cause of traffic fatalities. The NHTSA estimates around 28 people are killed in drunk-driving collisions every day in the U.S. Drunk driving accidents cause about $44 billion in damages each year. Because of this increased risk, a DUI is very likely to cause a significant increase in your car insurance rate.
|National average full coverage premium||National average full coverage premium after DUI||Premium impact|
Rates for new drivers
New drivers tend to have less experience on the road than older drivers. Teens are more likely to get into a car accident than any other age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Rates for teen drivers are usually higher to compensate for this risk. The rates below for 16-, 17- and 18-year-old drivers represent the full cost once the driver is added to their parents’ policy. Note that Hawaii and Massachusetts do not allow age to be considered as an insurance rating factor, although Massachusetts does allow carriers to consider the number of years you have been licensed.
|National average full coverage premium||16-year-old driver||17-year-old driver||18-year-old driver|
*Rates calculated for drivers on their parents' policy
Rates after a lapse in coverage
Because car insurance is legally required in almost every state, letting your coverage lapse and driving without insurance will typically mark you as a high-risk driver. Additionally, you may be at risk of severe financial loss if you cause an accident while uninsured.
|National average full coverage premium||National average full coverage premium after a lapse in coverage||Premium impact|
Tips for safe driving
The most effective way to prevent being categorized as a high-risk driver may be to avoid accidents and moving violations by practicing safe driving habits. Good drivers tend to pay lower rates because they have a lower risk of filing a claim. Some tips for driving more safely include:
- Follow posted speed limits. Speeding is a risky driving habit that can lead to accidents. Driving the speed limit could reduce your risk.
- Avoid accelerating or braking quickly. While you may need to react quickly to avoid potentially dangerous situations, a pattern of rapid accelerations or braking can indicate reckless behavior.
- Limit distractions. Placing your cell phone out of reach, turning down your music to a reasonable level, using hands-free devices and avoiding multi-tasking while driving can help you stay focused on the road.
- Avoid adverse conditions. While it’s probably not possible to never drive in heavy traffic, bad weather, or late at night or early in the morning, you might lower your risk of being in an accident if you can avoid hazardous road conditions.
Many states have defensive driving classes for both teens and adults. If you think you could brush up on your safe driving skills, you might want to consider enrolling. Your insurance carrier might even give you a discount for passing the course, but be sure to check into this before signing up for a class. Most companies that offer this discount have a list of approved classes.
Drivers looking to improve their habits behind the wheel and save on their car insurance premiums may be interested in telematics programs. These programs use an app or device that tracks your driving behavior and encourages safer driving by providing discounts to policyholders who practice safe driving habits. Some carriers even provide scorecards to let you know what categories you excel in and which could use a little help.
Frequently asked questions
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.
Age: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 18-60 (base: 40 years) applied. Depending on age, drivers may be a renter or homeowner. Age is not a contributing rating factor in Hawaii and Massachusetts due to state regulations.
Teens: Rates were determined by adding a 16- or 17-year-old teen to a 40-year-old married parent’s policy. The rates displayed reflect the total cost of a driver this age added to their parents’ policy.
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.