High-Risk Drivers: The Best Car Insurance Companies for You

When you're considering the best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers, you're likely going to have to pay higher rates. Some of the quotes from the best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers can be up to $625 more than a standard driver would pay. If you want to get cheaper rates from the best insurance companies for high-risk drivers, consider how you can lower risk and put time between you and any offenses.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Written by D. Gilson, PhD
Professor & Published Author D. Gilson, PhD

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Feb 3, 2022

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The Highlights

  • High-risk drivers are those with multiple tickets, claims, or other issues on the road
  • Typically, high-risk drivers will have to pay anywhere from 10% to 50% more for car insurance
  • If you can’t find an insurance company to accept you, try non-standard car insurance

If you’re considered a high-risk driver, you might be worried about getting affordable car insurance. However, as long as you compare car insurance rates and lower your underwriting risk, you can still get insurance. If you can’t find car insurance as a high-risk driver, consider non-standard auto insurance.

Not sure what that means or where to start? A lot of high-risk drivers are confused, but we can help. Below we will cover high-risk insurance companies, insurance rates for high-risk drivers, and more.

Before reading on to learn about the best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool to see what you could pay today.

What companies offer car insurance for high-risk drivers?

If you’re labeled as a high-risk driver, it most likely means you’ve had some issues while driving your vehicle, like tickets or accidents. Driving without insurance can also land you in the high-risk category. Being a high-risk driver can significantly affect what you pay each period and limit your options with some insurance companies. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get car insurance. 

Some of the best insurance companies will offer coverage to high-risk drivers, but it will typically cost more than a regular driver would pay. Having a ticket or an accident won’t disqualify you from getting insurance at big companies like these:

  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • Allstate
  • USAA

As long as you don’t have multiple DUIs or unpaid parking tickets mucking up your record, you should be able to get insurance from the above companies. However, as previously mentioned, you should expect to pay more to cover the risk you pose.

For true high-risk drivers, the top companies may not be an option. The list of high-risk auto insurance companies includes:

  • The General
  • Foremost
  • Dairyland
  • Acceptance
  • Bristol West

Of course, not all of these companies are available in every state. You might need to look at local insurance companies to get coverage.

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What is a high-risk driver?

A high-risk driver is viewed as having a better chance of being in an accident due to negligence. The reason one might be labeled a high-risk driver can include prior claims, multiple DUIs, or unpaid bills and tickets. If you’re labeled as a high-risk driver, you’ll face higher insurance rates and may be declined by some insurers.

While you’ll still be able to get car insurance most of the time, it will severely limit your choices in policy options and other insurance companies. In addition, a car insurance company will be a lot more scrutinizing during underwriting if you’re a high-risk driver as well.

If you want to avoid being labeled as a high-risk driver, consider how you drive on the road and how you can improve. If you’re already labeled as one, you may have to wait some time to see the flag dropped from your record. Most insurance companies won’t consider events that happened three to five years before you applied.

What do insurers view as high-risk?

What an insurer views as high-risk can differ from company to company. However. this designation mainly comes from accidents or other dangerous activity while driving. Some of the most significant reasons you can be labeled as high-risk include:

  • Multiple DUIs/DWIs
  • Multiple unpaid traffic tickets
  • Frequent claims in recent history

If you have a history of getting into accidents or otherwise causing trouble on the road, you’ll likely have to pay for that in the long run. While you might still be able to get insurance, your car insurer will charge you to cover the risk you will make an error again.

If you’re worried about how these incidents will affect your car insurance, it’s best to put some distance between yourself and past offenses. Most insurance companies will only consider negatives during underwriting in the last three to five years. So if you can be on your best behavior, you should get better rates after that period.

What groups of drivers are considered high risk?

Outside of specific incidents, there are groups of people that insurance will consider as high-risk drivers due to a lack of knowledge or impairment. Some examples of groups that are viewed as high-risk by car insurance are:

  • Teenage drivers
  • First-time drivers
  • Immigrants with no U.S. driving record
  • Drivers with no or poor credit

Those who’ve been driving for a while recognize that there’s no experience like the real thing. Driving can be unpredictable in ways that aren’t covered in training, and the longer you drive, the more you’ll be prepared for. However, in some cases older drivers may be viewed as high-risk due to reduced reaction time and weakening eyesight.

How can I avoid being a high-risk driver?

If you’re not yet labeled as a high-risk driver, there are things you can do to prevent from receiving that designation. If you’re already marked as a high-risk driver, practicing safe driving until you’ve put some time between any errors will help you save.

First and foremost, you should eliminate any distractions while driving. This can include putting your phone in the glovebox, turning the radio down low, and putting more focus on the road. In addition, staying calm while driving will lower your stress and allow you to get to your destination safely.

Lastly, make sure that you’re paying your bills on time, as lapsed coverage or a poor credit score can also leave a car insurance company with a negative opinion.

What should I do when I am a high-risk driver?

As a high-risk driver, the most important thing you can do is to put some time between yourself and any past traffic incidents. As previously mentioned, your insurer will only underwrite for the past three to five years. If you can drive responsibly and keep your payments on time, you’ll be saving again in no time.

If you have a hard time affording car insurance as a high-risk driver, using alternative modes of transportation could help you get places until your rates are lowered again.

What penalties do high-risk drivers face?

It can cost between 10% to 50% more per year for car insurance if you’re a high-risk driver. While that might not seem like a lot, it can quickly add up over time.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of car insurance is around $1,250 a year for a medium-sized sedan. If you were to apply 10% extra, you’d be paying an additional $125 on the low end. If you’re categorized with really high risk and get charged 50% more, that’s an extra $625.

The extra cost that comes with high-risk car insurance can be very high, but it’s not the only penalty that a high-risk driver could face. If you have enough negative impacts on your driving record, you could see yourself denied by most major car insurance companies.

How much more is high-risk car insurance compared to standard?

As mentioned above, high-risk car insurance can cost anywhere from 10% to 50% more than you’d pay as a regular driver. Using the numbers provided by III, the average driver can expect to pay between $125 to $625 more for car insurance over standard car insurance rates.

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How can I get affordable car insurance for high-risk drivers?

The key to getting lower car insurance rates is lowering the risk you pose to having an accident or other claim. Of course, the insurance company will want to make as much money as it can before paying out, but it also wants to offer you the lowest rates for competitive reasons.

So the insurance company will often offer you the lowest rates it can feasibly see a return on before you’re predicted to have an accident. Higher-risk drivers pay much more because the insurance company wants to ensure that it sees some return for when it inevitably has to payout.

It’ll be nearly impossible to find car insurance that doesn’t check driving records because your driving history is the number one factor that predicts future behavior on the road.

How do car insurance companies determine rates?

Car insurance companies determine your rates through a process called underwriting. During this process, your insurance company will examine various factors in your life to see what risk you pose. If the company finds a higher chance, you’ll file a claim, and you’ll have to pay more to cover that risk.

The insurance underwriter will consider these areas in the last three to five years:

  • How long you’ve been driving
  • Any past traffic incidents/DUIs
  • Past insurance claims
  • Credit history
  • Where your car will be parked at home and work
  • Your car’s make and model

If your car has a higher risk of being stolen or vandalized, you’ll pay more to cover that risk too. It’s also essential to drive safely and pay all your bills on time. Lastly, where you leave your car at home and work will also be under scrutiny. If you have an enclosed garage or fence, you’ll likely save a little.

How can I lower my risk during underwriting?

There are many ways you can lower risk. It just depends on what areas you’re having issues with. Depending on the areas that you need to improve, some actions could include:

  • Driving defensively while on the road
  • Paying your bills on time
  • Parking your car in the garage instead of on the street
  • Investing in safety measures like alarms

Anything you can do to lower the risk that something will happen to your vehicle will be a positive to your insurance company, which may reflect itself in lower rates. So while high-risk drivers will likely have to pay more for insurance across the board, you can probably save a little by lowering the risk these factors could pose.

What is non-standard car insurance?

Non-standard car insurance is the policy that is offered to drivers who pose the most risk during the life insurance process. If you have a consistently bad record, you will find it harder to get insurance from the most prominent companies. Thankfully, there are still options for you to get insurance coverage.

However, you should be aware that you will have to pay more each month in premiums. This is due to the insurance company taking on a considerable risk by insuring you. If you’re applying for non-standard car insurance, you likely can’t get a policy anywhere else, and the insurance company is aware of that.

Non-standard car insurance is best for companies with a record of accidents and other violations on the road. Because of this, the insurance company asks non-standard drivers to cover the risk.

The Best Car Insurance Companies for High-Risk Drivers: The Bottom Line

While it can be stressful to be designated as a high-risk driver, it isn’t the end of the road for you. You can still get a quality car insurance policy, but you should be prepared to pay more for car insurance rates. If you’ve had multiple DUIs or claims, you may find yourself denied. In that case, consider non-standard car insurance for your vehicle.

Now that you know the best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool to see what you could pay today.

Are you looking for free insurance quotes?

Your one-stop online insurance guide. Get free quotes now!

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