Finding high-quality and reasonably priced car insurance if you are a high-risk driver is by no means a simple task. Most insurance companies will offer you steep prices for limited coverage or even reject selling you auto insurance altogether.
To add insult to injury, what makes you fall into the high-risk category might not even be your fault. You could simply be of a certain age or live in a specific area. The companies that sell high-risk auto insurance track their customers’ habits and study statistics on which driver categories are more likely to be involved in an accident. If you fall in such group, you are considered a dangerous driver, no matter what you did or did not do.
However, there’s still hope. First, there are a couple of shortcuts to lower your premium immediately, and there are ways to improve your long-term insurance profile and become a less hazardous customer. Moreover, there is a significant number of high-risk insurance companies that offer affordable options for high-risk drivers and are willing to take almost any category.
Here, we explored how to lower your premium and improve your insurance profile, in addition to ranking all the insurance companies accepting high-risk drivers based on affordability and the overall quality of their services. Whatever your reason for being a high-risk driver, and whatever your budget, we’ve got you covered. Just read on, and you will find your perfect choice.
The List of the Best High-Risk Auto Insurance Companies
The Best Overall: Progressive
Progressive specializes in the high-risk driver category. In fact, it was founded in 1937 as a niche enterprise only for hazardous drivers. It’s also one of the most innovative insurers, being the first one to introduce a website and allow use of a mobile app for handling policy files. This suggests Progressive will have a greater understanding of every individual risky driver’s unique situation.
However, what matters most is the quality of the insurance, and in our Progressive review, the company gets excellent scores. It offers rock-bottom prices, together with some outstanding discounts, and it has streamlined web and mobile platforms. Customer service may not be top-notch, but when it comes to all other aspects of high-risk car insurance, Progressive is the champion.
The Runner Up: Allstate
On the whole, Allstate is a reputable insurance company. It provides good customer service reflected in a low number of complaints (0.48 NAIC ratio), it has superior financial strength (A+ from A. M. Best), and it offers guaranteed claims satisfaction, meaning you will get a refund if you are not pleased with the way your claim was processed.
It is indeed one of the best car insurance companies for those with a bad driving record. For example, Allstate offers fantastic incentives for high-risk drivers. Your collision deductible will decrease by $100 for every year without violations, and if you enroll in the company’s program for tracking drivers’ habits by a mobile app, you can get 25% off your premium if you drive safely.
The Best for Customer Satisfaction: State Farm
State Farm is right there among the very best high-risk auto insurance companies. It is the biggest insurer in the US, suggesting superb financial strength. Moreover, State Farm is renowned for its first-rate customer service. In our review the company didn’t score in this department as well as it did in other car insurance reviews, but the insurers with better results don’t specialize in the high-risk market.
Furthermore, the company offers its Steer Clear Safe Driving program for drivers under 25, which can reduce premiums significantly, and Drive Safe & Save plan, which uses a mobile app to track how you drive, and it can lower the price of your high-risk auto insurance by up to an astonishing 50%.
Nevertheless, be prepared to pay a higher price if you choose State Farm—we found that the rates the company offers are among the more expensive.
The Best for Financial Strength: Geico
Geico is another company that gets outstanding results in our review. It has top of the line discounts, a world-class website and mobile app, and it uses a logical and transparent system to draft their high-risk car insurance quotes.
What sets it apart from the competition is that the company is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the third company in the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings. This means that Geico’s financial strength is second to none. The better the financial health of the company, the less hesitant it will be about paying customers’ claims.
The Best for Military: USAA
USAA car insurance is among the cheapest auto insurance companies in our review, and it gets superior results across the board in all of the relevant insurance metrics. If it wasn’t a military-only option, we would have ranked it as the best auto insurer in the US market. Sadly, USAA is only available for former and current US army members and their families, but for those eligible, it’s a stupendous choice.
USAA was founded as a mutual self-insurance company by 25 US army members who were unable to find auto insurance elsewhere because they were considered too high a risk to take. This indicates that the company knows what high-risk drivers need.
The Best for Low Premiums: Progressive
Everything we said previously about the company still holds, meaning it’s an excellent choice for regular and high-risk customers alike. But on top of being our overall winner, Progressive is also a top-drawer choice if you are looking for budget car insurance for high-risk drivers.
What Is High-risk Car Insurance?
Simply put, it is coverage for those considered to be dangerous drivers by insurance companies, meaning they are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident. Insurance companies are most concerned about their profits, implying it makes little difference to them if you are classified as high-risk because of a DUI violation or because you just got your driver’s license. As long as it is more probable that you will make a claim, they will charge a higher premium to protect their financial assets.
How Much Does It Cost?
Auto insurance for high-risk drivers is indubitably more expensive than regular car insurance, with the prices varying based on which type of a dangerous driver you are. For minor speeding tickets, you will pay around 10%–15% more than a driver of the same group with a clean record, while if you had a DUI citation, your premium would be 30%–50% higher. Teenagers and inexperienced drivers are hit the hardest by these pricing strategies, often having to pay four times more than a middle-aged driver.
On the bright side, there’s a great deal of cheap full-coverage options for car insurance for high-risk drivers, that often cost less than the more expensive regular insurance alternatives. Companies like Geico and Progressive are the top choices.
Types of High-Risk Drivers and How Much They Have to Pay
To be considered a dangerous driver, all you have to do is belong to a category that has a proven track record of being involved in an accident more often than the average. This can be because of driving factors, such as previous accidents or violations, or non-driving factors, such as your location or your vehicle type.
For insurance companies, this doesn’t matter; as long as you are more likely to cost them money, they will charge you more to protect their revenue. Here we list all of the most common causes of being a high-risk car insurance customer, along with data on how much they increase your premium and how long they stay on your record.
Not all violations are made equal, and a speeding ticket is ranked among the most benign according to the insurance companies. It will still increase your premium, with the hike ranging from around $200 annually in the states with the less expensive auto insurance, to more than a thousand dollars in states like California and Delaware, which have high car insurance prices.
At-fault accidents are a big no-no for those looking for affordable car insurance for high-risk drivers. There’s no bigger indicator that you’re likely to be involved in an accident than the fact that you’ve caused one recently. The greater the damage you created, the higher the premium increase will be. Bodily injury payouts are especially likely to make your rate go through the roof. On average, you will have to pay from $800 to $3,000 more annually for your auto insurance, depending on the state. An at-fault accident usually stays on the record for three years.
Reckless Driving Citations
This is another severe violation that will increase the prices of auto insurance for high-risk drivers. Reckless driving is vaguely defined to include excessive speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, driving too fast for conditions, passing illegally on the shoulder, blowing through stop signs, yield signs, or traffic lights, and aggressive tailgating, among others. It stays on your record for three years, and it costs an additional $1,000 or more per year, depending on your location.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
This is among the most common major traffic citations, but it still commands a high premium hike and requires high-risk car insurance. Statistically, a DUI causes more bodily injury, property damage and death benefit payments than any other violation. Your premium will increase from 30% to 50% yearly, no matter where you live. Additionally, you will have to pay high fines for the DUI, and you might be required to purchase SR22 insurance, which is among the most expensive types of insurance.
Racing on public roads is every insurance company’s nightmare, meaning they will charge you high amounts of money if you have this type of violation on your record. You can expect to pay at least $1,000 annually for your auto insurance for the next three years. If you want to get cheap high-risk auto insurance, avoid racing at all costs.
According to the insurance companies, there’s nothing as dangerous as being a young or inexperienced driver. And there’s statistical backing for this claim: drivers aged sixteen or seventeen are nine times more likely to crash than a 45-year-old driver. That’s why high-risk car insurance companies charge them three to four times more than the safer categories. There are some smart tricks to save on expensive teen car insurance, such as adding a young driver onto a policy with an experienced driver with a clean record. Check our guide for car insurance students for more details.
Where you live has a significant influence over the prices of insurance. No-fault insurance states, such as Michigan and New Jersey, typically have greater high-risk insurance rates. The presence of factors that increase the likelihood of a claim, such as high population density, the proximity of a flood zone, high crime area, etc., tend to hike the insurance prices too. The good news is that insurance providers will have their policies worked out in such areas, meaning you will have a wide selection of companies that will accept you.
The way you use your car and the number of miles you cover will have an impact on regular and high-risk insurance rates. Driving fewer miles in scarcely populated areas will result in the lowest premiums, while using the vehicle frequently in densely populated locations means you will have to pay more. The differences are not significant, usually being around $400 per year.
There are subtle differences in the final premium for the same value vehicles depending on their performance capabilities. If your car is a 4×4 off-roader or a powerful sports model, insurance companies will consider it a higher risk and charge a higher premium.
If you are wondering what credit rating has to do with being a good or bad driver, don’t worry, we asked ourselves the same question too. But statistics establish a strong link between low credit scores and a high likelihood of making a claim. For high-risk auto insurance companies, this kind of data is king. The annual difference in premium between those with excellent vs. poor ratings can exceed a thousand dollars. If you want to see how much your credit rating impacts the premium, you should check your auto insurance score on websites such as CreditKarma.
If you think this is unfair, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that some states like Hawaii, California, and Massachusetts banned this practice altogether.
Gaps in Insurance History
Having extensive car insurance coverage for a long period of time demonstrates that you’re a safe driver. It shows you handle your finances responsibly and serves as a record of your previous violations. But a lapse in your auto insurance is a major red flag for an insurer. It automatically puts you in the hazardous driver category, entailing a noticeably higher premium ($200–$400 annually). Some insurers consider these drivers such a high-risk they won’t provide them car insurance quotes.
Things to Consider When Choosing This Kind of Insurance
As with regular auto insurance, you need to get your priorities straight, meaning you should roughly know your budget and the type of coverage you are looking for. Remember, the most expensive option is not always the best. Next, you should see which kind of risky driver you are and look for the company that offers the services you need at the most affordable prices. There are good chances that the quality of the high-risk and regular car insurance is similar, meaning reading insurance company reviews can help a lot.
You should get a few high-risk car insurance quotes from different providers, just as you would with standard auto insurance. The companies evaluate many factors before they make their final offer, meaning your individual profile has a considerable influence over what you will get in the end.
How to Save
By taking the necessary steps to become a more reliable driver, the chances of getting cheap car insurance for high-risk drivers improves. This means enrolling in a defensive driving course and going violation-free for an extended period of time. It usually takes around three years of safe driving for your premium to return to normal.
Things get a little bit trickier here, since you can’t influence some non-driving factors, such as being a new and inexperienced driver. However, many companies offer courses that improve driving skills for those who recently got behind the wheel, like Statefarms’s Steer Clear program. Additionally, various insurers, like Hanover and Travelers, offer Good Student discounts, awarding around a 10% premium reduction for students with GPAs of 3.0 or higher.
The trick that provides an even bigger high-risk auto insurance premium reduction is adding a new driver to a policy of an already experienced driver. However, you should live with or at least be registered at the same address as the veteran driver, since insurance policies are zipcode based.
Other non-driving factors have a more clear-cut route for getting a cheaper premium. A low credit rating can be improved, while a high-octane vehicle can be replaced with a less powerful model. There are even preventive measures against location-related factors, such as a high crime rate, like installing a central-station monitored burglar alarm.
Car insurance for high-risk drivers can be very expensive, but there are many ways to lower your premium and stop being classified as a high-risk driver altogether. You can start by buying insurance from an affordable company like Geico or Progressive, and then take preventive measures such as completing an accredited defensive driving course or improving the security of your garage. Even by taking no proactive steps, your driving profile will improve just by staying accident-free.
No matter if you are just looking for the best car insurance for high-risk drivers or if finding the lowest price is your priority, it is always smart to get a couple of quotes from a few different companies. The final offers from these companies may be vastly different since there are many various factors that insurance companies take into consideration, and not all of those factors are the same per company.
People Also Ask
Multiple companies provide high-risk quotes, like Bristol West, Allstate, Geico, Progressive, State Farm, MetLife, Acceptance Insurance, and many others. If all else fails, Titan insurance is the most tolerant insurance company, meaning they will have you covered (their site is still operational, although its parent company, Nationwide, indicates that Titan no longer works in the US).
The increase in price compared to standard insurance varies from a couple hundred dollars annually, for a minor speeding citation, to a couple thousand, for DUIs and street racing. Young and inexperienced drivers are perhaps hit hardest by an insurance company’s pricing strategy, meaning they will have to pay up to four times the amount a seasoned middle-aged driver would. There are many tactics they can use to lower their high premiums—the best one is to add a teen driver to the policy of an experienced driver with a pristine record.
SR22 is actually a form that the insurance company has to fill out and send to the government as proof that your car insurance is adequate. Companies may offer you SR22 compatible plans, meaning they are capable of providing coverage that satisfies the requirements in a particular state. Various violations demand an SR22 form, such as a DUI, driving without auto insurance, and inflicting bodily injuries in an at-fault accident. After a violation, the government will check your driving record for several years under the SR22 program.
Yes. The company actually started out specializing in high-risk drivers and extended its business to standard auto insurance. It is one of the finest options in the market for customers who are considered dangerous, ranking as the best option overall in our test. Additionally, Progressive is the best when it comes to cheaper options for this kind of auto insurance, offering the best prices in the market. It should be near the top of your shortlist.
Yes. The company offers very competitive prices, and it is ranked in this review as the leading high-risk provider in the financial strength category. On top of that, it offers high-quality customer service and outstanding online tools. If you are in the dangerous driver category, Geico is definitely worth considering.