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High-risk drivers are typically drivers who are either young and new to driving, have low credit-based insurance scores, lapses in coverage or have multiple traffic violations on their driving record. These include such things as multiple at-fault accidents, multiple speeding tickets or a DUI conviction.
In 2020, North Carolina had a vehicle-related death rate of 15.88 persons per 100,000 people, which is an increase from the rate of 14.02 recorded in 2019. Of those fatalities, 9.5% were due to distracted driving, 24.8% were directly related to alcohol and 25.1% of deaths involved speeding. These are all risky behaviors and contribute to higher premium amounts for car insurance in North Carolina.

Rates for high-risk car insurance in North Carolina

Though there are many reasons a driver may be classified as high-risk, certain factors can have more of an impact on your premium than others. A DUI conviction, for example, is a more serious high-risk driving behavior than having a low credit score.

For every risk-factor listed below, take note of the average premiums before and after the violation, as collected from Quadrant Information Services. While some companies’ rates are less affected than others, the lowest premium increase for high-risk driving can still be significant. Based on our research, the lowest increase came in at 49% after a speeding ticket conviction. Finding the best high-risk auto insurance in North Carolina may involve comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies.

Rates after a speeding ticket

Many insurance companies increase your premium if you have a speeding ticket conviction, but the severity of the speeding ticket and your past driving history will determine exactly how much your premium increases and how long it will negatively impact your premium. The numbers below represent the average increase for these companies, but indicate that rates may increase by at least 49% if a driver is convicted of a speeding ticket.

The table below highlights the average annual full coverage premiums from some of the cheapest car insurance companies for high-risk drivers in North Carolina, also demonstrating how rates vary by provider.

North Carolina average annual full coverage premium

Car insurance company Rate before a speeding ticket conviction Rate after a speeding ticket conviction % increase
Erie $1,105 $1,688 53%
Geico $910 $1,814 99%
State Farm $966 $1,436 49%

While companies like Geico may be known for competitive rates to low-risk drivers, North Carolina high-risk drivers will see a stark contrast in car insurance rates on average after a speeding ticket conviction. While rate shopping, consider your past driving history before choosing a company, and compare quotes from multiple insurers to find the best rate. Drivers with multiple speeding ticket convictions may even find it difficult to obtain coverage from some insurers altogether, which makes shopping around even more important.

Rates after an accident

After an at-fault collision, insurance companies will typically charge the responsible driver higher rates because of the potential for future claims being filed. However, a small fender bender is less likely to affect a premium as much as an at-fault collision resulting in severe property damage and medical injuries. Additionally, North Carolina assigns points to a driver’s license for moving violations. Accumulating too many points could result in license suspension or fines, along with the likelihood for increased insurance rates.

The table below illustrates how much of an increase drivers in North Carolina may see reflected in their insurance rates if they have an at-fault incident on their driving record.

Car insurance company Rate before an at-fault accident Rate after an at-fault accident % increase
Erie $1,105 $1,543 40%
Geico $910 $1,648 81%
State Farm $966 $1,307 35%

Although some insurers may increase rates much more than others, average annual premiums indicate an at-fault incident will cause an increase of at least 35%. An insurer who is comparatively cheaper for drivers with clean records may still be considerably more expensive after factoring in an at-fault incident.

Rates after a DUI

Some companies do not allow their policyholders to renew an insurance policy after a DUI conviction or they may charge much higher rates upon policy renewal. For those drivers with an existing policy, rates could increase as much as 297% or more. In addition to paying more for car insurance, you may also be required to file an SR-22 with the DMV. A common misconception is these are a special type of insurance, but SR-22s are a certificate of financial responsibility from your insurance company that proves to the state that you are properly insured. Not all insurers offer this form, which means you might need to re-shop your coverage to find one that does offer them.

Car insurance company Rate before a DUI conviction Rate after a DUI conviction % increase
Erie $1,105 $4,472 305%
Geico $910 $5,988 558%
State Farm $966 $3,833 297%

Keep in mind that the average percentage increases shown above are not a guarantee that those companies will continue to insure you if you are convicted of a DUI. If you have multiple other violations on your record, or a previous DUI, the increase may be a lot more, if eligibility is not denied altogether.

Rate for teen drivers

Teens are considered inherently risky to insure, due to having less experience behind the wheel. In 2020, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that 7% of all roadway deaths involved teenagers and 60% of teenage fatalities happened while another teenager was driving.

Car insurance company Rate without a 16-year-old insured Rate with a 16-year-old insured
Erie $1,105 $2,490
Geico $910 $3,950
State Farm $966 $1,794

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

Unfortunately, there’s not much parents and teenagers can do to lower the added premium for insuring a teen outside of taking advantage of young driver discounts. Premiums nearly double when a teen is added to the policy. It helps to shop around and compare discounts annually. Additionally, rates should gradually decrease each year as the young driver gets older and gains driving experience.

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Who is a high-risk driver?

To insurers, a high-risk driver presents a greater likelihood of filing future claims. Factors that categorize a driver as “risky,” according to insurance providers, include:

  • Multiple speeding tickets
  • At-fault collisions
  • Low credit-based insurance score
  • DUI convictions
  • Lapses in coverage
  • Living or working in high-risk areas (based on accident frequency and severity, and theft and vandalism rates)
  • Having an SR-22 requirement

The industry definition of a high-risk driver is someone who has multiple driving incidents on their motor vehicle record and are more likely to file claims. For our purposes, Bankrate considers high-risk drivers as those with a single at-fault accident, speeding ticket conviction or DUI conviction as higher-risk when analyzing premiums. Rates in this study are based on average annual premiums quoted to drivers with these qualifications, but are not a guarantee that all high-risk drivers can get coverage with the same providers at these exact rates.

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

High-risk drivers may pay more for insurance, but there are still a few ways you may be able to save:

  • Increase your deductible. Taking on higher deductibles means you are willing to pay more out of pocket in case you file a comprehensive or collision claim. By doing this, it can lower your premiums. Just be mindful to choose a deductible you can reasonably afford in the event of a claim.
  • Drive an older vehicle. Typically an older vehicle costs less to insure because they generally cost the insurance provider less to repair or replace. By driving an older vehicle, you may pay less for premiums, depending on your chosen coverage types.
  • Shop multiple providers. Comparing quotes from more than one provider is another way to find the most affordable rates for your circumstances. This also allows you to compare rates for your selected coverage options to find the best fit for your needs.
  • Compare discount options. The discounts offered among providers can vary, which is another reason to shop multiple insurance companies. You may qualify for a greater number of discounts from one insurer versus another.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2022 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 coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2002 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 conviction and single DUI conviction.

Age: Rates for 16-year-old drivers were calculated based on married male and female drivers insured together with a 16-year-old driver added to their policy. Age is not a contributing rating factor in Hawaii and Massachusetts due to state regulations.