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Cheap Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

Are you a high-risk driver with a terrible driving record? Don’t despair, many auto insurance companies offer cheap car insurance to high-risk drivers!

police car behind high risk driver

What do you have to do to be labeled a high-risk driver? Anything that suggests you're more likely than the average policyholder to file a claim that will cost your insurer money. That includes crashing your car or getting driving citations like speeding or running a red light. In turn, you'll likely be charged more for car insurance. Our research shows that high risk drivers with multiple accidents on their driving record can pay nearly double for car insurance compared to drivers with clean records.

Some companies better cater to high-risk drivers compared to others. According to our data, Nationwide's rates increase 10% after an accident, whereas American Family's rates increase 18%. Some insurance companies also offer specialized insurance for high-risk drivers.

This article covers what finding cheap car insurance looks like for a high-risk driver, including:

Why is my car insurance so high?

Your auto insurance rates may be high because your insurer considers you a high-risk driver. As far as most insurance companies are concerned, there are three types of drivers. The best drivers are known as "preferred risk." Those with good but imperfect driving records are called "standard risk." The rest are the bad drivers that are tossed into a "high-risk" category.

How do people end up categorized as high-risk drivers? Here are some common examples:

  • Get several tickets within a few years.Getting more than a couple of tickets in a relatively short time span may cause your rates to go up. This includes moving violations like speeding, running a red light and getting a DWI. You may be labeled a high-risk driver if you get too many traffic tickets, and you'll pay higher premiums.
  • Cause an accident.You can be moved from preferred to standard risk if you cause a car crash. In fact, most insurers will label you high-risk if you're responsible for just one accident. Even if you're lucky enough to avoid a high-risk driver label after causing an accident, your rates may still increase.

How being a high-risk driver impacts your car insurance

After analyzing several types of violations and car accidents, we determined how much you should expect your rates to increase after a traffic citation or accident. This is what we found:

Type of accident or violation Average percent increase
One not at-fault accident 3%
One speeding ticket 18%
One accident with $3,000 in property damage costs 44%
One accident with $3,000 in bodily injury costs 55%
Two accidents with $3,000 in property damage costs each 81%
Two accidents with $3,000 in bodily injury costs each 95%
Average rate increases are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary. View our methodology here1

The following explains how your driving record can mark you as a high-risk driver and how that can increase your insurance rates:

  • Higher premiums. According to our data, your rates may increase up to 95% after accidents and traffic violations, depending on the severity.
  • Lost or denied coverage. If a car insurance company decides that you're too high of a risk — due to multiple traffic infractions in a short amount of time, or even just one severe traffic violation — they might revoke your policy altogether.

The best insurance companies for high-risk drivers

Fortunately, that 95% rate increase isn't a guarantee for all drivers. It depends on a few factors, including your specific insurance company.

According to Quadrant rate data, these companies have the lowest rate increases after one accident:

Insurance company Rate increase after one accident
Nationwide 10%
Progressive 12%
Safeco 12%
Travelers 16%
American Family 18%
Average rate increases are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.1

According to our data, Nationwide offers policies with the smallest rate increase after an accident (10%).

Companies specializing in high-risk car insurance

If you're a high-risk driver in the eyes of an insurance company, you need to buy high-risk insurance. Unfortunately, many companies refuse to cover high-risk drivers. You may have experienced this if you've had your coverage cancelled after too many tickets or accidents.

The bad news: high-risk or non-standard car insurance policies are usually more expensive than policies for lower-risk drivers. However, it shouldn't be too hard to track down a company that will sell you this type of auto insurance.

There are many insurance companies that specialize in high-risk or non-standard insurance. They sell policies specifically for drivers who may struggle to get standard coverage. These are the 10 best companies for high-risk insurance:

The General

With their affable military mascot gracing television screens during commercial breaks across the country, The General is perhaps America's best-known high-risk insurance company. And for good reason. The General sells policies to drivers with traffic violations or car accidents on their record, who have not maintained their car insurance or who have poor credit. Regardless of your risk level, the company says you can still find affordable car insurance with them.

Infinity

Infinity sells four types of insurance: auto, life, business and home. Their car insurance offerings include policies for high-risk drivers. One drawback is the fact that Infinity insurance policies are only available in a few select states.

Bristol West

As a subsidiary of Farmers Insurance, Bristol West sells high-risk insurance policies in most states. With their lengthy history and affiliation with Farmers, you can feel secure knowing that Bristol West has the necessary financial strength. Plus, they offer competitive prices, flexible billing options and quality customer service. .

Safe Auto

Safe Auto sells non-standard insurance like SR-22 and minimum coverage policies. Unlike other non-standard companies, Safe Auto policyholders can benefit from several discounts. Their website offers easy quotes and helpful insurance resources.

GEICO

GEICO has a company branch specifically for high-risk and non-standard drivers called GEICO Casualty. When you purchase a policy through GEICO, they'll automatically assign you to GEICO Casualty if you're high-risk. And since GEICO is known for affordable policies (and their green gecko), they're a great option if you need to save some money.

National General

With nearly 80 years in the business of insuring cars, National General has experience in the field. And that experience includes insuring high-risk and non-standard drivers. Their emphasis on customer service is a plus, especially for high-risk drivers who may not find that luxury with other companies. That includes lifetime repair guarantees, emergency expense allowances and flexible ways to pay.

Acceptance

Take the hint from the name: Acceptance accepts all kinds of drivers. Yes, that includes high-risk drivers with questionable driving records, and more:

  • High-risk
  • Bad credit
  • Non-standard
  • Non-owner
  • Teens and seniors
  • SR-22

Keep in mind that Acceptance only offers auto insurance in 17 states.

Dairyland

Wisconsin's own insurance company has been in the business for over 60 years. Today, they sell several policies, including for drivers who struggle to find coverage elsewhere. One benefit for high-risk drivers is Dairyland's pay-as-you-go option. Plus, Dairyland offers several helpful discounts.

How high-risk drivers can get cheap car insurance

  • Shop around. Compare auto insurance quotes for high-risk drivers from at least three companies. Doing so allows you to see which ones will offer you the best price and the best coverage. Then, use that information to decide which provider and policy will best fit your budget and your needs. Comparing quotes can help you save money on car insurance, no matter how bad your driving record is.
  • Improve your driving. Minimizing driving infractions, violations and accidents is the best way to improve your driving record. This will better your chances of getting affordable car insurance. That may require you to seek professional help. In the auto insurance world, this refers to defensive driving school, safe driving school or driver's education.
  • Be patient. While many states only allow insurers to look at the last three years of a person's driving record, others allow them to look further back. Regardless, you're going to have to be patient. Do your best not to get any more tickets or citations before you're in the clear with insurance companies.

Methodology

1These are the scenarios we analyzed:

  • The driver is involved in, but is not at fault for, one accident.
  • The driver causes one at-fault accident with $3,000 in property damage.
  • The driver causes two at-fault accidents with $3,000 in property damage for each accident.
  • The driver causes one at-fault accident with $3,000 in bodily injury.
  • The driver causes two at-fault accidents with $3,000 in bodily injury for each accident.
  • The driver is found speeding six to 10 miles per hour above the speed limit.

We sampled all ZIP codes in California, New York, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Average rates are based on non-binding estimates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary.

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

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