High-risk auto insurance—often called nonstandard auto insurance—covers drivers who insurance companies determine have a higher risk of filing a claim, being an inconsistent payer, or being involved in an accident. While high-risk auto insurance policies are typically more expensive, drivers can improve their records and even remove their high-risk designation over time.
Insurance companies classify high-risk drivers as carrying a greater-than-average risk of filing a claim, causing an accident, committing a traffic violation while driving, or being less likely to pay their premiums. While there are no set rules for who’s considered high-risk, you could be deemed high-risk based on your:
If you have a major violation—such as a DUI or DWI—on your record, you’ll likely be considered a high-risk driver. The same may be true if you have several minor traffic violations, like speeding tickets.
Statistically, young drivers and others who haven’t held a driver’s license for very long are more likely to be involved in accidents than more experienced drivers. The risk gradually decreases over time—along with rates—but begins increasing again as drivers reach their 60s or 70s because of their risk of vision issues and slower reaction times.
Even with a clean driving record, allowing your auto insurance to lapse can lead insurance providers to consider you a high risk to insure. Whether your insurance lapse was accidental or the result of a tough financial choice, there’s good news—if you act quickly and contact your insurance provider, you could face minimal penalties.
There’s no universal timetable for being a high-risk driver—each driver carries their own unique designation based on their record and other factors. For example, if you have multiple serious violations, you’ll likely be considered a high-risk driver for a longer period than someone with minor violations.
Violations like speeding tickets add points to your driving record. These points are typically removed from your record after a certain amount of time. If you maintain a clean driving record over time, points will eventually fall off your record and you’ll no longer require high-risk auto insurance.
There are many reasons you could require high-risk auto insurance, including:
Rates for high-risk auto insurance will vary based on your unique circumstances. The best course of action to determine the cost is to request a free online quote or speak to an agent near you.
Having a DUI conviction on your driving record will almost certainly cause your auto insurance rates to increase. If you stay with your current provider, they’ll likely raise your rates based on your increased risk. If your provider doesn’t offer high-risk auto insurance, they may drop you, so you’ll need to find a provider who does. Here’s what else you need to know about your car insurance after a DUI.
If you’re at fault in an accident, your rates will increase—but the size of the increase depends on several factors. Just like each state sets its own minimum required auto insurance limits, the amount your rates go up will vary depending on your state and carrier’s filed rates. Other factors include:
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce coverage costs and eventually lose your high-risk designation completely:
In most states, your credit score is related to your risk as a customer—statistically, drivers with lower credit scores are less likely to pay their premiums. Even if your low credit score is the result of missed payments or financial struggles several years back, it can still contribute to higher car insurance rates.
That’s why rebuilding a bad credit score over time can help lower your rates. You can start improving your credit score a number of ways, including:
Since your high-risk status is largely based on your driving record, one of the most important steps for lowering your insurance costs is driving safely and avoiding accidents, helping you remove points from your driving record along the way.
Many insurance companies regard drivers without six months of continuous coverage to be high-risk drivers. If you have a registered vehicle, you should always have car insurance.
Even if you don’t own a vehicle but need to drive occasionally, consider a non-owner insurance policy, which can help protect you if you’re found to be at fault in an accident while driving a vehicle you don’t own.
If you have access to modes of public transportation such as a bus or train, use them for trips like your daily commute. Especially in higher-traffic areas, this can help you avoid common areas and times of day with heightened risks of accidents and traffic violations.
Just like you would for any major purchase, make sure you do your research and continuously evaluate the cost of your policy.
As a high-risk driver, it’s important to understand everything that impacts your car insurance and how you can work toward reducing the cost of your high-risk auto insurance policy.
If you’re a driver searching for the best high-risk auto insurance, find the right plan for you today by receiving a free quote or speaking with your local agent.
What if I can’t find high-risk auto insurance?
An insurance company may deny coverage for several reasons—they may not offer a high-risk policy, or they have strict guidelines as to what they consider and how high of a risk they’re willing to cover. Not all insurance companies have the same guidelines, so make sure to contact several to find someone who’ll insure you. You can call Dairyland at 855-931-2484 now to see what we can offer you.
How long am I considered a high-risk driver?
The designation is dependent on your driving record and your history of making payments. If you continue to get tickets, cause accidents, and/or miss making your payments, it’ll be difficult to shed your high-risk designation. However, if you have a squeaky-clean record moving forward and make your payments on time, you’ll probably be able to move out of the high-risk driver designation over time. In the meantime, look for ways to get cheaper car insurance.
Are there other ways to improve my driving record?
Yes. One easy way to improve your driving record is to take a defensive driving course. Taking the course may even get you a discount on your policy.
Related links:As you're researching high-risk auto insurance offerings, beware of providers offering "no-deposit car insurance."
Some high-risk drivers consider driving without insurance rather than paying increased rates. But that decision comes with its own set of risks, including the likelihood of prolonging a driver’s high-risk designation.