How to Find Affordable Insurance for a High-Risk Driver

auto
Photo by MInerva Studio / Shutterstock.com

Any driver can have an accident or get a speeding ticket, but if you have too many such mishaps on the road, your auto insurance company may consider you to be a high-risk driver.

That can drive up your insurance rates or worse — insurers may refuse to renew your policy. Although nearly all states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of car insurance, carriers have the right to deny coverage if they think you represent too great a risk.

If no insurer will sell you a policy on the commercial market, your state department of motor vehicles may send you to an assigned-risk pool, where policies are far more costly.

If your state doesn’t have a high-risk pool, it will be up to you to find a “nonstandard insurer” who will take on the risk of providing coverage at a higher-than-normal price.

First, drive right

The best way to avoid being labeled a high-risk driver is make sure you to have a good driving record by driving safely.

“That is one of the best factors to help you get affordable insurance,” said Carole Walker, the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. “Having a lead foot or getting a lot of tickets for moving violations could push you toward having to shop for a high-risk insurer.”

Insurance companies review driving records before they issue policies and typically place drivers in one of the following categories:

Preferred drivers: These motorists get reduced rates because they have good driving records and no traffic citations.

Standard drivers: These may have received some traffic citations, but overall have good driving records.

Nonstandard drivers: These may have had numerous accidents or citations. If you are considered to be a nonstandard driver, your car insurance costs can double, said Kevin Foley, a New Jersey insurance agent.

Typically, states require insurers to provide coverage for drivers in the high-risk pool who otherwise would not be able to buy policies. Each insurer who does business in the state is issued a share of the state’s risky drivers based on the number of car insurance policies they issue.

Start with the commercial options

To save money, first explore the commercial market. Only after exhausting that option should you pursue coverage through an assigned-risk pool, recommends Amy Bach, executive director of the United Policyholders consumer advocacy group in California. Small companies that specialize in high-risk drivers sometimes can offer lower rates.

“Try to go through the competitive market first to see what you can get,” she said. “You definitely want to compare what they offer to what you can get through an assigned-risk plan.”

People who have trouble improving their driving can ask their insurer to install a device in their car to monitor their driving, she added. These telematics devices monitors and records such things as how fast you drive and how hard you apply the brakes. If the devices show that you are consistently practicing safe driving, you may even qualify for an insurance discount.

Once you’re in the high-risk pool, you’ll want to get out of it as soon as you can. Insurers typically use a point system to rate various claims, traffic violations and accidents. You can ask your insurance carrier how long it may take for the points to drop off your record so you can qualify for a standard policy.

Other factors that may drive up your insurance costs

Not all drivers who are considered high-risk have bad driving records. Insurers may charge you extra for your policy for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Being a young person with no driving history. Experience counts when it comes to pricing car insurance. Teens statistically are among the riskiest drivers on the highway.
  • Allowing your insurance policy to lapse. Insurers consider this to be a sign of risky behavior.
  • Driving cars with powerful engines. High-performance cars tend to generate more claims, said Kevin Foley, a New Jersey insurance agent. “The power of the car is factored into your insurance rates.”
  • Residing in a community where there are more traffic accidents than average. Even if you’re a great driver, where you live will be factored into your insurance costs.
  • Having credit problems. Studies show that people who don’t pay their bills on time tend to file more insurance claims, said Foley.

Keep looking for a better deal

Whenever you find yourself paying high vehicle insurance costs, you remain free to look for a better deal, said Janet Ruiz, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute. If you’re able to improve your driving record, eventually a carrier will sell you a standard policy, although it could take several years, depending on your driving record.

“Keep shopping and comparing each time you are up for renewal,” she said.

What’s your experience getting a deal on auto insurance? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
How Much of My Social Security Benefit Can My Ex Take From Me?
How Much of My Social Security Benefit Can My Ex Take From Me?

A man wonders if his ex-wife will siphon away his Social Security benefit.

20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Maybe you’re not ready to leave the workplace entirely.

5 Memberships That Offer Car Insurance Discounts
5 Memberships That Offer Car Insurance Discounts

These discounts may save you hundreds — even thousands — of dollars a year.

15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales
15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales

You can save a ton of money — especially if you spot any of these items.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases. Yes, even pregnancy tests.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

8 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
8 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill
8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill

No matter what price you are paying for internet service, taking these simple steps can lower it.

Americans Agree on These 3 Changes to Social Security
Americans Agree on These 3 Changes to Social Security

In an era of division, we are united about these changes to the Social Security system.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.