Car Insurance for Bad Drivers

What Defines a Bad Driving Record?

When insurance companies offer you a quote, they do so based on a risk assessment. While there are many factors that influence your auto insurance rates, your driving record is one of the most important.

Traditionally, companies will label a driver as “high risk” if they have multiple traffic infractions, crashes, or both. Usually, it takes multiple incidents for you to be officially labeled as a high-risk driver. 

There are a few exceptions, though. For instance, if you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you will almost certainly be deemed a high-risk driver.

Drivers with a bad driving record are at an increased risk of being involved in a car accident. Typically, these drivers also engage in other high-risk activities, such as distracted driving or speeding. 

Once someone is labeled as high risk, it can affect their rates for years to come. That is why it’s best to protect your clean driving record if you want to obtain cheap car insurance.


Who Is a High-Risk Driver?

High-risk drivers include people whose driving history shows potentially higher threats than the average. Some high-risk driver profiles include:

  • New drivers and, for some insurers, young drivers
  • Those without prior insurance
  • People who have had one or more car accidents 
  • Drivers who have been convicted of DUI or driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • Drivers with multiple traffic violations
  • Someone who has been required by a state to file an SR-22
  • People who have a below-average credit history
  • People with modified or high-value cars

Good Driver Rate Reduction

Most insurance companies offer lower rates to good drivers than they do to bad drivers. This usually applies even before you get to the good driver discounts.

Insurance companies in California must offer lower rates to good drivers, thanks once again to Proposition 103. In California, each insurance company must offer good drivers a rate that is 20% lower than the rates it would offer to bad drivers. Of course, California car insurance companies are free to reduce the rates even further, but they need to offer at least a 20 percent reduction.

The Best Way to Compare and Get Cheaper Car Insurance

Cheap auto insurance is possible for everyone—no matter how often you’re told it’s out of reach. Finding great auto insurance coverage is just a matter of finding the auto insurance quotes that are right for you. And with Insurify, you can find the best car insurance company for you by comparing auto insurance. It’s free, it’s fast, and it saves you money.

How to get car insurance with a bad driving record

To get affordable car insurance rates, individuals with a bad driving record may have to spend more time and effort shopping for auto insurance. This is because insurance companies might quote these individuals exorbitant rates for their auto coverage. Furthermore, some insurers may not even offer coverage to high-risk drivers, such as those that require SR-22 insurance.

SR-22 (or FR-44 in some states) insurance refers to a special type of policy for individuals with bad driving records that requires an insurer to file a certificate of financial responsibility that confirms you have the required amount of liability coverage. Usually, this is only necessary for individuals with pretty serious convictions on their driving records—such as DUIs—and those that have had their driver’s license suspended.

If you require a SR-22 form to be filed on your behalf, major insurers—such as Farmers, State Farm and Allstate—might not be an option, as they may choose not to offer you coverage because of your bad driving record. Instead you may have to consider nonstandard auto insurance companies that specialize in offering coverage to high-risk drivers.

Two good nonstandard car insurance companies are The General Insurance and Direct General Insurance. However—since the impact of a bad driving record on your car insurance rates changes over time—you should shop around for insurance regularly to make sure you are getting the lowest rates.

FAQ: Bad Driving Record Auto Insurance

What is the best car insurance for bad drivers? There is no one-size-fits-all coverage option for vehicle owners who have bad driving records. However, some companies, like Progressive, are specifically known for working with high-risk drivers. Does driving history affect car insurance rates? Yes, while many factors impact your insurance rates, driving history is one of the most important for providers. If you have multiple at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, or both, then you will pay more for insurance coverage. How can I lower my insurance rates as a bad driver? While time does not heal all things, it can certainly help repair your reputation with insurance providers. Most of your negative driving history will fall off of your driving report after 3 years. However, some car insurance companies keep detailed records for as long as 7 years. You can also take a defensive driving course if your insurer offers discounts for the class. What should I do if I can’t find coverage as a high-risk driver? Just about anyone can find auto coverage, even if they are a high-risk driver. However, bad driving record auto insurance will be more costly.

Bad Driving Record Auto Insurance Requirements

In most states, auto insurance is compulsory even if you have a bad driving record. Although laws differ from state to state, failure to maintain auto insurance typically results in a license suspension.

You may also have to pay fines and reinstatement fees so you can have your driving privileges restored.

High-risk drivers pay $137.75/month more on average for auto insurance. Keep your record clean by avoiding speeding tickets and DUIs.

You may also have to pay fines and reinstatement fees so you can have your driving privileges restored.

The good news is that there are companies that specialize in providing car insurance for bad drivers. These drivers might need high-risk auto insurance.

In the insurance industry, these companies are referred to as “non-standard” auto insurance carriers.

Tips for Cheaper Car Insurance for Drivers with a Bad Record

Take a Defensive Driving Course

Especially if you’ve been caught driving under the influence (), you can affirm your commitment to good driving habits by taking a defensive driving course. Auto insurance companies love to see that you’re making an effort to avoid future driving violations.

Boost Your Credit Score

Good credit always helps convince car insurance companies to give you a low rate. Since bad credit is almost as bad for your car insurance rates as a bad driving record, paying close attention to your credit history is a great way to get your premium down in the meantime.

Use Your Coverage Options

If you can roll with a higher deductible, your premium will go down. And if you drive a cheaper vehicle with good safety features, you might want to forgo collision coverage and other full-coverage car insurance options you don’t need. Strategize with your insurance agent about paring down your insurance coverage to keep your premiums low.

Can I find auto insurance that doesn’t check my driving record?

Unfortunately, no. Every auto insurance company will check your driving record when you apply for insurance. However, not every company will deny you coverage based on what they find. Here are some insurance providers that don’t weigh your driving record heavily to determine your eligibility:

  • The General
  • Safe Auto
  • Jupiter
  • Direct Auto
  • Foremost
  • Founders

Which are the top car insurance companies for high risk drivers?

Finding the best high risk car insurance companies is a difficult task. Even most of the companies decline to give policies to high-risk drivers. Others increase the premium rates to almost double. As a result, it gets difficult to find an affordable plus reliable insurance company as per our requirements.

But it is important to note that, not every company treats high-risk drivers the same way. Some are way too harsh, who will assess harsher rate penalties. Some are a bit lenient, especially for the first-time penalties.

Hence it is always advisable to check different high risk insurers before buying your insurance policy. Below are the top auto insurance companies for high-risk drivers:

  1. GEICO
  2. Progressive
  3. 21st Century
  4. Bristol West
  5. Safe Auto
  6. Kemper
  7. Acceptance
  8. Dairyland
  10. Infinity Insurance
  11. Direct Auto Insurance
  12. National General Insurance
  13. The General Insurance

Car insurance costs 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 and state. 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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is the cause of one-third of all crash fatalities. Because of the risk speeding represents, a ticket can cause rates to increase an average of 23%.

National average full coverage premium National average full coverage premium after speeding ticket Premium impact
$1,674 $2,062 +23%

Rates after an at-fault accident

An at-fault accident is a red flag to insurance companies because it can indicate unsafe driving practices. Once you have caused one accident, you might be more likely to cause another. An at-fault loss could increase your annual premium by an average of 38%, but you might see a higher or lower increase depending on the severity of the accident you cause.

National average full coverage premium National average full coverage premium after at-fault accident Premium impact
$1,674 $2,311 +38%

Rates after a DUI

Insurance companies consider DUIs to be one of the riskiest driving behaviors. Drunk driving is still a leading cause of traffic fatalities. The NHTSA estimates around 28 people are killed in drunk-driving crashes 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
$1,674 $3,139 +88%

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. If you are the parent of a teen driver, you could expect a steep increase with a teen driver added to your policy. The rates below for 16- and 17-year-old drivers represent the increase in cost to add the driver to a parents’ policy. The 18-year-old driver’s rate is calculated on their own policy.

National average full coverage premium Average annual cost to add a 16-year-old driver Average annual cost to add a 17-year-old driver Average annual premium for a 18-year-old driver*
$1,674 +$2,531 +$2,376 $5,247

*Rates calculated for an 18-year-old renter on their own 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. Unless you have no reason to carry auto insurance — for example, you exclusively use public transportation or otherwise do not own a vehicle — your car insurance policy should be in force at all times. Once you have a lapse in coverage, you can expect a premium increase when applying for a new policy.

National average full coverage premium National average full coverage premium after a lapse in coverage Premium impact
$1,674 $1,861 +11%

Frequently asked questions

    • The best car insurance company will depend on highly personal factors, particularly for drivers who may be considered high-risk. Collecting and comparing quotes from different providers might help you find your best option.

    • High-risk car insurance rates tend to be more expensive than rates for policyholders with clean driving records. One of the most effective ways to get the best rate on car insurance is to compare quotes from multiple providers. If you fall under one or more high-risk categories, you might be more limited in the companies that will write your policy. If you can get quotes from several carriers, you can compare premiums to find the cheapest option. You might also consider taking advantage of discounts to keep your cost down.

    • Because car insurance is a legal requirement for all drivers, even drivers with a DUI are generally able to find coverage after a conviction. If you are convicted of a DUI, most states will require you to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form in order to reinstate your license. This is a document that proves you’re maintaining adequate coverage following risky driving behavior. Insurance companies file this form for you on your behalf. Your current insurer might not be willing to continue coverage if you have a DUI conviction, so you might need to shop around for a new company to file this form.

    • Practicing safe driving habits, maintaining or improving your credit (in most states) and avoiding driving under the influence are all good practices. Your car insurance rate will vary based on a number of factors, but keeping your driving record clean goes a long way in avoiding rate increases associated with high-risk behaviors.

And That a Wrap!

We are sure that now you are aware of all the nitty-gritty of high risk driver’s insurance. If you still have some questions then RateForce team is here to assist. You can get in touch with us and we will clear all your queries instantly.

Moreover, are you confused about auto insurance terms in your policy? Then here’s a detailed blog: Auto Insurance Terminology Guide. You can check all the important terms related to auto insurance in the blog.

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Editorial Guidelines: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of auto insurance. This information does not refer to any specific auto insurance policy. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. References to costs of coverages/repair, average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, etc., are indicative and may not apply to your situation. We encourage you to speak to our insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.