The Best Cheap Car Insurance for Drivers With Bad Records

Best High-Risk Auto Insurance Companies

High-risk auto insurance is a coverage option for those who are deemed to present a higher risk of filing a claim or multiple claims that the insurance company will have to cover. When offering high-risk insurance, auto insurance companies must assess the likelihood that the driver will file a claim and charge for the policy accordingly.

Both The Balance and NerdWallet report that an insurance company will usually deem a driver as high risk when their history shows the potential for a higher number of claims than the average driver. Some examples of drivers that insurance companies may consider to be high risk include:

  • Those with one or more car accidents
  • Those with no prior auto insurance coverage
  • New drivers
  • Young drivers
  • Those with below-average credit scores or history
  • Those with multiple moving or traffic violations
  • Those who have been convicted of DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence)
  • Those with high-value or modified vehicles

If you are considered a high-risk driver, you can shop around and request quotes from various insurance companies to determine which will offer the best coverage at the best price. After you obtain several quotes, make sure to contact a professional at each company to further discuss your situation and any violations or issues that may be present on your driving history. An agent can look at your history and provide an estimated timeline for how long you might be considered high-risk, as well as suggest options to reduce the cost of your insurance coverage.

Information presented by Quote Wizard indicates that some of the major car insurance companies that offer the lowest average prices for drivers with an at-fault accident include:

  • American Family: $884 for six months of coverage
  • State Farm: $810 for six months of coverage
  • USAA: $767 for six months of coverage

The Zebra reports that drivers who have multiple speeding tickets on their records may want to consider the following companies, as they offer the lowest average rates following moving violations:

  • GEICO: $785 for six months of coverage
  • State Farm: $764 for six months of coverage
  • USAA: $677 for six months of coverage

If you have been convicted of DUI, the following companies offer the cheapest average rates for your high-risk driving history:

  • State Farm: $940 for six months of coverage
  • Progressive: $919 for six months of coverage
  • American Family: $823 for six months of coverage

If you’re having trouble securing auto insurance coverage due to your high-risk status, consider working with one of these insurance companies that cater to higher-risk drivers:

  • Falcon
  • Assurance America
  • Gainsco
  • Hallmark
  • The General
  • Kemper
  • Infinity
  • Dairyland
  • Bristol West


Are there other ways for drivers to reduce their auto insurance rates?

Good drivers can reduce their rates even further by looking at the factors that go into calculating car insurance rates. Part of the equation includes age, gender, and marital status.

There are even more things you can change more easily to receive better rates. These factors include how frequently you drive and how many auto insurance claims you have filed in the past. Your credit record may play a part, as does your location and the type of vehicle you drive.

Do I need an SR-22?

An SR-22 (or, in some states, an FR-44) is a document kept on file with your state that proves your insurance meets the minimum coverage levels required by law. This is also sometimes known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility. SR-22 insurance isn’t a specific kind of policy, simply a form that some people need to file in their state.

An SR-22 is typically only necessary for people with certain driving violations. DUIs, accidents caused while driving without insurance, and reckless driving infractions are all examples of what might make your state require you to file an SR-22.

The best way to determine if an SR-22 is required in your state is to check your state DMV website. For example, New Hampshire does not require an SR-22 for drivers at this time.

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How does a bad driving record affect car insurance?

Insurance companies charge higher rates to drivers that they expect will cost them more through insurance payouts—either for damages inflicted on other motorists that they are liable for, or to pay for vehicle repairs or replacement that result from a collision insurance claim.

According to the models that insurance companies use to set rates, drivers that have previous car accidents and violations on their records are more likely to be in future accidents. They are, therefore, charged higher car insurance rates due to the increased risk they represent to the insurers.

Not all traffic violations and accidents are equal; typically the more severe the incident, the greater the car insurance cost increase.

Minor accidents and violations—speeding or running a stop sign—are likely to only cause a relatively minor increase in premiums of around 14%. However, if you are convicted of a serious traffic violation—a DUI for example—you could see a difference in rates of 41%.

The best way for bad drivers to save on car insurance is to get free car insurance quotes from multiple insurers. You can also save if you get quotes after past driving incidents are no longer on your record.

Type of violation Avg. cost per year Increase in rates % increase None$2,411$00%Speeding$2,748$33714%Running a stop sign$2,758$34814%Racing$2,848$43718%Reckless driving$2,848$43718%Careless driving$2,933$52222%DUI$3,390$97941% Compare rates

A bad driving history won’t impact your auto insurance rates forever. Insurers typically only factor in accidents and traffic violations from the past three years. This means that incidents that occurred more than three years ago are unlikely to have any effect on your car insurance rates and may not need to be reported to your insurer. However, there is an exception when it comes to DUI convictions, which have the potential to affect your car insurance rates for up to five years.

How to get car insurance with a bad driving record

Having a bad driving record can be an insurance nightmare. You might even struggle to get approved for car insurance if you have a DUI/DWI or reckless driving charge. However, there are alternative ways that high-risk drivers can get coverage.

Look for non-standard insurance

If you’ve been denied coverage from a private insurance provider, consider looking into a high-risk insurance policy, also called non-standard insurance. Non-standard insurance is specifically for high-risk drivers, and there are a handful of insurance providers that offer this coverage. It may not be cheap, but it’s much easier to get approved. 

Take advantage of discounts

Most insurance providers offer discounts that can help policyholders lower their premium. Depending on your provider, you can qualify for savings if you have basic safety features installed in your car, take a defensive driving course, bundle your policies, pay your premium in full, or sign up for paperless billing. Contact your provider to see what discounts you are eligible for, as these can help mitigate rate increases. 

Set up a payment plan

If all else fails, and you can’t find a way to lower your rate any further, ask your insurance provider about a payment plan. It’s not always advertised, but most insurance companies will find a way to help you finance your payments. For example, you might be able to adjust your scheduled payment for the day after your paycheck gets deposited, or pay quarterly instead of monthly.

Good Driver Discounts

Car insurance discounts are one of the major rewards for good drivers. They usually come in the form of reduced rates. The exact amount depends on your specific insurance plan.

Even if you go into a policy with a less-than-perfect driving record, the discount may be applied later if you maintain a good driving record. The opposite could also apply.

If you go into a policy with a good record and receive a good driver discount, you could lose that discount unless you keep your record free of violations and claims as per the company’s specifications. You may also see an increase in your insurance rates, according to the Illinois Department of Insurance.

Accidents and moving violations may put you in a higher risk category. Of course, insurance companies tend to offset risk by increasing rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Plenty of infractions can earn you a bad driving record and dump you into the category of high-risk drivers. They seem minor, but moving violations like speeding tickets are enough to get you high-risk status. A DUI is a serious violation that insurance companies will judge harshly, along with reckless driving, at-fault car accidents, and hit-and-runs.

  • Speeding tickets, traffic violations, DUIs, reckless driving, car accidents, and other infractions on your driving record mean that car insurance companies consider you at a higher risk of getting in a car accident in the future. And since that would result in you making an insurance claim, the company won’t insure you unless they’re getting high insurance premiums to offset the risk.

  • In general, once five years have passed since the event, a given violation will not affect your driving record—and more importantly, your insurance costs. So there’s an end in sight, and in the meantime, you can take a defensive driving course and boost your credit score to keep your premiums reasonable.

  • Bad drivers don’t have to have bad policies, and they don’t have to pay crazy-high premiums either. You can overcome an at-fault accident or DUI on your driving record—you just have to find the companies that are offering affordable rates to drivers like you. Enter Insurify. In just a few minutes, you can access car insurance quotes tailored to your needs and driving history.

Frequently Asked Questions: Bad Driver Auto Insurance

We hope the information presented above answered any questions you may have about getting insurance with a bad driving history. You can also find answers to several frequently asked questions below:

#1 – Is auto insurance that doesn’t check your driving record available?

Almost all providers will check your driving history. However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Providers like SafeAuto, Titan Auto Insurance, and The General focus on providing auto insurance to drivers with less than perfect driving history.

Remember that if you are trying to get commercial insurance with a bad driving history, the stakes are higher. Commercial insurance is usually needed for your job, and not only will the insurance company check, but so will your employer. Keeping a clean record is vital if you drive for a living.

#2 – How can you check your driving history?

In this case, the internet is your best option. You can typically find your driving record online using your state’s DMV website (or the equivalent of many states having a DPS or a BMV or other acronym instead of DMV). Remember, official state sites will end in .gov, so don’t be fooled by phishing sites.

Keep in mind that it isn’t free to check your driving history. Most states charge a fee to access your records online, so be prepared to enter your credit card information before you get to see your record.

#3 – How can you clean up your driving record?

The easiest way to clean up your driving history is to do a little research on how your state works. Some states will allow you to expunge specific instances from your driving record. Others often have automatic time limits, which means your infraction will fall off your record after a certain number of years.

Below are some of the ways you might be able to clean up your record:

  • If your state allows you to remove items by request, make sure you meet their criteria and fill out the DMV form. The odds are good there will be a fee associated with this, so make sure you know how much you’ll be paying before you go.
  • If you haven’t already done so, taking a safe driver course may help you remove a ticket from your record. Check with your local DMV to see if this is an option for you.
  • If your situation is dire, it might be worth your time to contact an attorney to find out exactly what can be done to fix your driving history.

Of course, the best option is to avoid tickets and accidents in the future as well. Some people will opt to use public transit or other travel options for a period of time to avoid further damaging their records.

#4 – How long are you considered a high-risk driver?

If you’re considered a high-risk driver due to your age, you will have to wait until you are out of your teens and early 20s. You can take advantage of good student discounts to help reduce your costs during this time.

If you’re considered high-risk, all you need to do is fix your driving record to reduce your premiums. Sometimes all you can do is wait until infractions fall off your record over time, but you can take steps to improve your record like those mentioned in the previous question to speed up the process.

#5 – How do you find out what discounts an auto insurance company offers?

Almost every insurance company has a page on their website dedicated to their available discounts, so you can always search online to find your discounts.

If you’re having trouble navigating the website, contact the customer service department and ask them to help you find out if there are any additional discounts available to you at this time.

You can also use online quoting tools like the one below to get quotes that include discount options.

#6 – Why is it harder to get insurance with a bad driving record?

Insurance is a tricky business. If insurance companies spend too much money paying out claims, they cannot afford to stay in business. The lower they can keep their expenditures, the more money they can bring in for their investors.

Because of the increased likelihood that they will be in an accident, high-risk drivers stand to cost an insurance company much more than they spend on their premiums. This is why it is so much harder for high-risk drivers to get auto insurance.

Sometimes a bad driving history is because of negligence on the part of the driver. If your driving record has gotten bad recently when it has always been pristine in the past, you may want to consider if something else may be causing the issue.

If this is a sudden change, arrange for a check-up with your doctor and your optometrist to make sure there is nothing medically wrong that might be causing you to drive poorly.

#7 – My driving record is fine. Do I need to worry about insurance for bad drivers?

If your driving history is fine, you don’t need to worry about high-risk insurance right now.

However, it is straightforward to go from having a clean record to having multiple points on your license. A single DUI (sometimes referred to as DWI) is enough to push you into a high-risk category, so don’t even think about drinking and driving.

You can also end up with multiple tickets or accidents in a short time. If you run a red light and hit another driver, both the accident and the ticket for running the red light may appear on your record. You could go from a clean record to two infractions in a single day.

#8 – What is the best auto insurance for bad drivers?

The best insurance for bad driving records overall is Bristol West. However, Bristol West is not as big as Geico, State Farm, and Progressive, but they appear to be the best auto insurance drivers with a bad driving record.

Also, try out Titan auto insurance to see if you can get a deal for high-risk auto insurance. Geico high-risk insurance may compete with them due to its low auto insurance rates across the nation.

As you can see if you have a bad driving record, cheap insurance can be found but you’ll need to shop around.

#9 – How long does an automobile accident stay on your record for insurance?

A car accident can stay on your driving record for three to five years.

#10 – How can I lower my auto insurance with State Farm?

You can lower State auto insurance by qualifying for auto insurance discounts or take off other coverage options like comprehensive and collision coverage.

If you’re a high-risk driver, hope is not lost. Enter your ZIP code in our FREE tool below to get quotes for bad driving record auto insurance. Compare cheap bad driving record auto insurance quotes before you buy.