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Car Insurance for Bad Drivers With Tickets or Accidents

If you have several tickets or accidents on your driving record, find out what car insurance options are available to you.

bad driver getting ticket

Whether you're facing a rate increase due to an at-fault accident or having trouble finding coverage after multiple tickets, you have insurance options. Some insurance companies specialize in providing inexpensive coverage to high-risk drivers with accidents or tickets. For example, our data shows that State Farm® has the lowest rate increase after a major accident, with costs increasing by 37%. Some companies also offer accident forgiveness.

If you're facing a rate increase due to a ticket or accident, it's important to shop around and get car insurance quotes from top insurance companies. This article covers what you need to know if you're considered a bad driver, including:

What to do after a traffic violation or accident raises your rates

If your insurer recently raised your rates because of an accident or moving violation ticket, look elsewhere for coverage. Car insurance customers should shop around, especially if they're considered high-risk based on a bad driving record. Auto insurance carriers don't require a contract, so you're not locked in and can change insurance companies at any time.

You can also contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) agency and request a copy of your driving record. Just like reviewing your credit history, it's important to periodically review your driving record. If you find citations on your driving record that shouldn't be there, request to have them removed from your record. Depending on your state, first-time offenders that complete driving safety programs after an infraction can get the infraction removed.

Don't assume you're going to get the same high rates with every company just because of multiple tickets or accidents. Each auto insurance company has a unique way of determining risk — it's not an exact science. Some insurance companies care more about accidents and violations than others. Some even offer accident forgiveness. That's why shopping around is so important.

Affordable car insurance companies for high-risk drivers

Don't let a few minor slip-ups keep you from cheap auto insurance. There are insurance companies for every kind of driving record. In fact, some insurance companies specialize in covering high-risk drivers. These are some of them:

Acceptance

If you're a high-risk driver, Acceptance has you covered. Take a hint from their name — they accept all drivers, no matter how bad their driving record is. Be aware that Acceptance only sells policies in 17 states.

The General

According to their website, "The General specializes in providing auto insurance for drivers who fall into that high-risk category." They state that they cover all kinds of high-risk drivers, including drivers in these categories:

  • Under the age of 20
  • Over the age of 70
  • With a history of tickets or accidents

Safe Auto

If you need high-risk insurance, Safe Auto is a good bet. They sell all standard insurance, and they specialize in SR-22 and minimum coverage policies. Unlike other high-risk companies, Safe Auto customers benefit from multiple discounts. That includes defensive driving courses, multi-vehicle and homeowner discounts.

When should I switch to a high-risk insurance company?

You should only switch to a high-risk insurance company once you become high-risk and don't have any other options.

How do you know if you're considered a high-risk driver? If you've racked up multiple moving violations or at-fault accidents in the last three to five years, you're probably a high-risk driver. Another way to tell is if your insurance company raises your rates astronomically, or if they decide to cancel your coverage.

If your regular insurance company drops you or raises your rate through the roof, you have options. Get a quote from a high-risk insurance company to see how much you can save.

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The best car insurance if you have a bad driving record

According to our data, insurance rates increase anywhere from 3% to 95% after a traffic incident, depending on the severity of the violation. Whether it's a speeding ticket, running a red light or causing an accident, your insurance rates will likely suffer.

But not every company treats these incidents equally. Our data shows how much your rates will increase after a single accident with these major companies:

Insurance company Rate increase after one accident
GEICO 55%
Allstate 54%
State Farm 37%
Progressive 54%
Average rate increases are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.1

We found that State Farm® has the lowest rate increase after a traffic incident (37%), and GEICO has the highest rate increase after a traffic incident (55%).

What to do after you're dropped by your auto insurance carrier

Some drivers will have their insurance cancelled or non-renewed by their insurance company. This is most likely due to multiple accidents, tickets or a bad driving record. If this happens to you, we suggest contacting several auto insurance companies for quotes.

Some states have programs that offer car insurance for bad drivers who lose their insurance. This allows them to continue driving a vehicle while maintaining the minimum insurance requirements. New York and Texas are examples of states that have such programs.

Drivers with really bad driving records may have to find insurance through a high-risk or non-preferred insurer. These high-risk car insurance companies are required by most state DMVs to have an SR-22. This is a certificate of financial responsibility insurance. An SR-22 enables drivers to reinstate their driving privileges following loss of insurance, an uninsured car accident or other traffic-related offense.

Methodology

1The driver profile we analyzed owns a 2014 Honda Accord and selects the minimum liability coverage auto policy required. The profile was a 30-year-old single man with a clean driving history. The driver travels 15,000 miles annually in the vehicle.

We sampled all ZIP codes in California, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania. We compared rates from major insurance companies in those states. Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.

We found the average between these two scenarios to determine rates:

  • The driver causes one at-fault accident with $3,000 in property damage.
  • The driver causes one at-fault accident with $3,000 in bodily injury.

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