While one ticket over many years usually won’t trigger a huge rate increase, a bad driving record will cause your insurance rates to increase and stay high until all tickets and accidents come off your driving record. Insurance companies raise rates for people with infractions to mitigate the risks associated with drivers who make mistakes on the road. MoneyGeek analyzed auto insurance data to find the average best and cheapest coverage options for individuals with driving violations.
Best Cheap Car Insurance for Drivers with a Bad Record
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 discounts that lower your car insurance rates. Shop around and compare quotes from multiple providers to find the best rates.
The Best Cheap Car Insurance for a Bad Driving Record
For most drivers, State Farm is the best and cheapest option for high-risk drivers.
In each study crafted to determine the best and cheapest car insurance for drivers with a bad record, we found that USAA and State Farm offer the best service and rates. While USAA received MoneyGeek's highest best car insurance score and may offer cheaper rates, it is only available to veterans, current military, and their families.
Overall Best and Cheapest for Bad Driving Records: State Farm
Offers cheap quotes and rates for drivers with a ticket, accident or DUI.
Available in every state.
High score of 81/100 in MoneyGeek's overall best provider comparison study.
Doesn't offer some specialized coverage options, such as accident forgiveness, new car replacement or gap insurance.
Scored below the average national index for customer complaints.
Doesn't offer rideshare insurance.
State Farm may be the most affordable car insurance option for drivers with an at-fault accident, ticket or DUI on their records. On top of competitive rates, customers of State Farm can also take advantage of the many discounts offered by the company to further lower the cost of their premiums. Additionally, State Farm makes switching providers easy with free quotes online or over the phone.
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. Comparing quotes from multiple providers can help you find the best car insurance for your needs. You can also use MoneyGeek's car insurance estimator to get a sense of how much a policy will cost for you before you enter your personal information into a quote tool.
Cheapest Car Insurance After an Accident
We found that State Farm offered the cheapest car insurance quotes after an accident for every age group:
- Drivers aged 22-29: $1,347
- Drivers aged 30-59: $1,091
- Drivers aged 60+: $1004
If you aren’t eligible for USAA, State Farm is a great option to start comparison shopping with top insurance providers. Every insurance company uses a unique rating system to determine your quote, so rates can vary between providers. Shopping around and getting at least three quotes to compare before renewing your policy through the same company is an excellent way to find cheap car insurance after an accident.
Average Car insurance Premiums After an Accident
Cheapest Car Insurance After a Ticket
USAA and State Farm have the lowest rates, on average, for drivers with a speeding ticket. USAA is only available to military members and their families, so not all drivers are eligible.
We found that, aside from USAA, State Farm offered the cheapest car insurance quotes after a speeding ticket for every age group:
- Drivers aged 22-29: $1,243
- Drivers aged 30-59: $1,008
- Drivers aged 60+: $925
Insurance companies use several factors to determine their rates, so finding the best car insurance with a bad driving record may 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 getting a speeding ticket, you may still be able to find cheap car insurance.
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 than a driver with a clean driving record, and having a DUI on your record could make it challenging to find coverage through a standard auto insurer.
A stand-out winner with cheaper rates than USAA, State Farm offers the cheapest car insurance quotes after a DUI for every age group:
- Drivers aged 22-29: $1,514
- Drivers aged 30-59: $1,231
- Drivers aged 60+: $1,129
While you're likely to see a rate hike for several years after being convicted of a DUI, shopping around for car insurance after a DUI can help you save as you work to improve your driving record.
Average Car Insurance Premiums With a DUI
Cheapest Car Insurance for Military Members
Active-duty military members, veterans and their families may have access to special military discounts with select insurance companies. USAA is consistently considered the gold standard for insurance, earning a score of 93 out of 100 in MoneyGeek's best car insurance comparison study. Even for people with driving violations, USAA typically provides the lowest rates for those associated with the U.S. Armed Forces.
With USAA, drivers with a ticket on their record paid an average of $801 a year for a full coverage policy. The average rate for a driver with an accident was $953, and the average rate for a DUI was $1,258.
Serving active-duty military members, veterans and their families, USAA provides affordable rates for drivers. Even with a speeding ticket or at-fault accident on record, USAA members can expect to save hundreds of dollars a year on car insurance.
How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After An Accident?
Car insurance premiums often go up after an at-fault accident because insurance companies see drivers with poor driving records as riskier to insure. According to MoneyGeek’s in-depth analysis of car insurance rates, full coverage policy costs increase by 44% after an at-fault accident, which amounts to an average of $509.
Premium Increase After an Accident
This is 44% more expensive.
How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up With a Ticket?
If you receive a driving citation, there’s a good chance that your car insurance rates will increase. MoneyGeek analyzed rates for the average driver who received a ticket and found an average premium increase of $389, or 34%. This additional cost will apply to your premium as a surcharge for a minimum of three years.
Premium Increase After a Ticket
This is 34% more expensive.
How Much Does Car Insurance Go Up After a DUI?
The average length of time a DUI stays on your record ranges from five to 10 years, depending on local jurisdiction regulations. However, in some cases, it can remain on a driving profile indefinitely. To insurers, a DUI indicates a higher financial risk for claims, so those with DUIs are likely to pay more for car insurance than drivers with a clean record or lesser infractions. MoneyGeek analyzed rates for the average driver with a DUI on record and found an average premium increase of $993, or 86%.
Premium Increase After DUI
This is 86% more expensive.
How to Switch Car Insurance Companies After an Accident, Ticket or DUI
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 coverages are available.
- Shop around and compare car insurance rates online.
- Find the provider offering 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 compare quotes from multiple providers 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, which is a state-backed program for high-risk drivers.
5 Ways to Lower Car Insurance Costs After an Accident, Ticket or DUI
While the cost of car insurance after an accident or ticket can hurt your wallet, there are steps you can take to secure 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, improving your credit score could help.
Switch to a less expensive vehicle
While this option might not be feasible right away, consider switching the type of car you drive. Some vehicles are more expensive to insure and can cause your premiums to skyrocket, even before an accident. If you can, shop around for a safer car that's less costly 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 multiple car insurance companies if you are considering making a switch after an accident.
Bundle your home and car insurance policies
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 for actions like paying for your policy in full, installing security or safety devices in your vehicle or enrolling in a telematics program.
What to Do if You Have a Really Bad Driving Record
If you have a really bad driving record — either due to multiple at-fault accidents or 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've received, you may be required to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form. 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 completing a defensive driving course. Taking a defensive driving course shows that you are committed to driving more safely and helps reassure others that you have the necessary skills to be behind the wheel. You typically need a clean driving record (no at-fault accidents or moving violations) for at least three years before qualifying for this discount. Speak with your insurance provider to learn when you could take the course and how 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 via telematics programs. Using a mobile app or installed GPS device, your insurance provider can track your driving behavior to set rates based on your safe driving habits. However, keep in mind that rates could potentially increase if your driving habits are not considered safe.
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
MoneyGeek consulted with industry experts to explore why insurance companies raise rates after an accident, what drivers can do to find affordable coverage after receiving a violation and how drivers with extensive violations can secure coverage.
- 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?
SVP Personal and Life Insurance at Johnson Financial Group
Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of La Verne
Trial Attorney, Simeone & Miller, LLP
Adjunct Professor - Wayne Law at Wayne State University and COO at Miller & Tischler P.C.
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About Nicole Duxbury