While one ticket over many years usually won’t trigger a huge rate increase, a bad driving record will cause your insurance rates to go up and probably stay up until all tickets and accidents come off your driving record. Insurance companies do this to mitigate the risks associated with drivers who make mistakes on the road. Read MoneyGeek's study to learn what the best and cheapest options may be for you if you have driving violations in your history.
If you're at fault in an accident or receive a ticket, your insurance rates are likely to increase.
In MoneyGeek's study, State Farm had the lowest rates for drivers at fault in an accident, while GEICO was most affordable after a ticket.
Even with a bad driving record, you may qualify for other discounts. Shop around after a ticket or accident to find the best rates.
The Best Cheap Car Insurance for a Bad Driving Record
While it’s legally required to have car insurance in most states, regardless of your driving record, that doesn’t mean you have to accept a rate increase without question. You can and should compare quotes for multiple providers to to find the best car insurance for your needs, or use MoneyGeek's car insurance estimator to get a sense for how much a policy will cost for you before you enter your personal information in a quote tool.
Cheapest Car Insurance After an Accident
On average, USAA and State Farm have the cheapest premiums for drivers who have an accident on their record. USAA isn’t available to everyone; however, if you are a military member, a veteran or a qualified family member, you are eligible for coverage under their plan.
If you aren’t eligible for USAA, you can still compare quotes at other top insurance providers. Every insurance company uses a unique rating system to determine your quote, so rates can vary between providers. Shopping around before renewing your policy through the same company is an excellent way to find cheap car insurance after an accident.
For drivers who've been in an accident, State Farm may be the most affordable car insurance option. State Farm offers competitive rates and makes switching providers easy with free quotes online or over the phone.
Average Car insurance Premiums After an Accident
Cheapest Car Insurance After a Ticket
USAA and Geico have the lowest rates, on average, for drivers with a ticket. USAA is available for military members and their families, so not all drivers are eligible. Insurance companies use several factors to determine their rates, so finding the best car insurance with a bad driving record will depend on criteria such as age, gender, the type of car you drive and your previous driving history. If you’ve had a good driving record up until the time you get a ticket, you may still be able to find cheap car insurance.
Widely available across the United States, GEICO provides a range of coverage options, including affordable rates for drivers with a ticket or accident on their record. GEICO's additional insurance options, like renters, home and boat insurance, can make switching providers easy through bundling.
Average Car Insurance Premiums With a Ticket
Cheapest Car Insurance After a DUI
Getting a DUI can result in a steep increase in your car insurance premium. Some companies charge thousands of dollars more to insure a driver with a DUI compared to a driver with a clean driving record. While you're likely to see your rates rise, shopping around for car insurance after a DUI can help you save as you work to improve your driving record.
With an average premium of $2,132 for comprehensive and collision coverage, Progressive provides some of the lowest rates for drivers with a DUI on their record. Progressive customers with a clean driving record can expect to pay much less in most circumstances, so improving your driving record and avoiding a DUI can help you save hundreds if not thousands of dollars on car insurance.
Cheapest Car Insurance for Military Members
Military members, veterans and their families may have access to special military discounts with select insurance companies. Even for bad drivers, USAA typically provides the lowest rates for those associated with the armed forces. In MoneyGeek's study, drivers with a ticket on their record paid an average of $1,015 for comprehensive and collision coverage with USAA. The average rate with USAA for a driver with an accident was $1,337, nearly $250 cheaper than the lowest rates offered by other companies.
Serving military members, veterans and their families, USAA provides affordable rates for drivers with a variety of backgrounds. Even with a ticket or accident on their record, USAA members can expect to save hundreds of dollars a year on car insurance.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost After an At-Fault Accident?
Car insurance premiums often go up after at-fault accidents because insurance companies see drivers with poor driving records as riskier to insure. Providers increase rates to protect themselves if they have to cover you if you are in another accident. According to MoneyGeek’s in-depth analysis of car insurance rates, policy costs increase by 56.8% after an accident, which amounts to an average of $783.
Premium Increases After an Accident
This is 57% more expensive.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost After a Ticket?
If you receive a driving citation, there’s a good chance that your car insurance rates will increase. Insurance companies view drivers who are cited for driving violations similar to how they view drivers who are at fault for an accident. Getting tickets also leads these companies to surmise that you could be riskier to insure. MoneyGeek analyzed rates for the average driver who received a ticket and found an average premium increase of $388, or 28.1%.
Premium Increase After a Ticket
This is 28% more expensive.
How to Switch Car Insurance Companies After an Accident or Ticket
Switching car insurance after getting a ticket or causing an accident isn’t hard, but it does require some legwork.
- Learn how car insurance works, including how rates are determined and what different coverage is available.
- Shop around and compare car insurance rates online.
- Get the lowest rate.
- Purchase your policy with the new provider at your lower rate.
- Cancel or don’t renew your old policy, but be sure that you have your new policy before you do this. If you cancel, you may be due a refund.
- Be sure to get proof of insurance to keep with your records and in your vehicle as required by law.
If you're considered a high-risk driver based on your record, it may be worthwhile to shop around for car insurance to find the best rates. If you’re having difficulty getting car insurance after a policy cancellation, contact your previous provider and clear up possible misunderstandings. Discuss whether it’s possible to have your policy reinstated. If insurance companies refuse to cover you, you may be able to purchase a residual market plan.
5 Ways to Lower Car Insurance Costs After an Accident or Ticket
While the cost of car insurance after an accident or ticket can hurt your wallet, you can take action to get a lower rate.
Improve your credit
Some car insurance companies view drivers with poor credit as riskier clients to insure. To compensate for that risk, providers will increase their rates. If you’re trying to lower your rate after a ticket or accident, work on improving your credit score.
Switch to a less expensive vehicle
While this option might not be feasible right away, consider switching the type of car you drive. Some cars are more expensive to insure and can cause your rate to skyrocket even before an accident. If you can, shop around for a safer car that is less expensive to insure.
Shop around with multiple providers
There are no regulations on how insurance companies develop their algorithms to determine your rate. Therefore, the quotes you receive from different providers have been derived from different formulas. Compare quotes from more than one car insurance company if you are considering making a switch after an accident.
Bundle your home and car insurance
Many car insurance providers also offer home insurance, so consider bundling your home and auto insurance for a lower rate. Some insurance providers will also give a discount if you insure more than one vehicle with them, so ask about your bundling options to catch a break.
Seek out other discounts
Just because you have a ticket or accident on your record doesn’t mean you or the other drivers on your policy won’t qualify for different ways to save money. There are many discounts available to drivers, including paying for your policy in full rather than making no deposit monthly payments, as well as military or good grades discounts. If there’s a discount, go for it.
What to Do if You Have a Really Bad Driving Record
If you have a really bad driving record, either due to multiple accidents or from a higher-risk citation like a DUI, you will face higher insurance rates and may have to shop around to find a company that will insure you.
Depending on the severity of the violation or the number of violations you receive, you may be required to get an SR-22. An SR-22 (also known as a “Certificate of Financial Responsibility”) is a document on file with your state that proves you have insurance that meets the minimum legal requirement.
If you are facing a rate increase due to a bad driving record, there are a few ways you can get your premium back in your budget:
- Take a defensive driving course. Many insurance providers will offer a discount after the completion of a defensive driving course. Taking a defensive driving course shows that you are committed to driving more safely and helps ensure others that you have the necessary skills to be behind the wheel. Speak with your insurance provider to find an approved course near you.
- Trade your car in for a safer model. The type of car you drive can impact your insurance rate, and a bad driving record won’t help. If you are facing an increase in your policy, consider trading your car in for a vehicle with better safety features to see a decrease in your policy.
- Keep track of your driving record. Most insurance providers will reevaluate your rate after a few years without a traffic violation. Keeping a clean driving record for three years can help decrease your rate.
- Have your driving monitored. Some companies provide discounts for customers who allow their driving to be monitored. Using a monitoring device, your insurance provider can track your driving behavior to set rates based on your safe driving habits.
Compare Auto Insurance Rates
Ensure you are getting the best rate for your car insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.
Expert Advice: Finding Auto Insurance After an Accident or Ticket
- Why do insurance companies charge higher rates if I have a poor driving record?
- What actions can I take in the near-term to lower my car insurance rates after I’ve had traffic violations?
- What should I do if my driving record is so poor insurance companies won’t cover me?
Trial Attorney, Simeone & Miller, LLP
Adjunct Professor - Wayne Law at Wayne State University and COO at Miller & Tischler P.C.
Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of La Verne
SVP Personal and Life Insurance at Johnson Financial Group
Premiums listed are based on an average driver profile with 100/300/100 comprehensive and collision coverage. Learn more about MoneyGeek's methdology.
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About Nicole Duxbury
- Insurance Information Institute. "Nine Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs." Accessed July 27, 2020.
- State Farm. "High Risk Auto Insurance." Accessed July 27, 2020.
- USAA. "Why Choose USAA." Accessed July 27, 2020.