The Best and Cheapest Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

Insurance companies may consider you a high-risk driver for several reasons, including your driving record, age, credit score and vehicle. Each insurance company treats these factors differently, so you can find savings by shopping around.

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When assessing how much to charge a customer for their car insurance, companies look at that customer’s driving history and the profile of a driver. Higher-risk drivers are charged higher rates.

If the driver has a history of getting tickets or getting into accidents, they may be considered high-risk based on their driving record.

Others may be considered high-risk because of certain characteristics. Examples include young or inexperienced drivers, drivers with poor credit scores or drivers with certain types of car models.

MoneyGeek identified the best and cheapest car insurance companies for high-risk drivers. Those who cannot get covered by an insurance company should seek a residual market plan in which state insurance regulators assign you to an insurer.

Table of Contents
Key Takeaways

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The most important factor insurance companies use to determine whether you are a high-risk driver is your driving history.

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Driving experience, or lack thereof, and poor credit scores can make finding reasonably priced car insurance more challenging.

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The type of car you drive matters: vintage and sports cars are pricier to insure than sedans.

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The Best Companies for High-Risk Drivers Based on Driving Record

The reasons an insurance company may consider you a high-risk driver can be varied. One of the most common reasons is if violations show up on your driving record. A history of tickets, at-fault accidents, DUIs or other infractions indicates to insurance companies that you pose a higher risk to them. The more severe your violation, or the more violations you commit, the higher your rates will be.

Using a scoring system based on a affordability of rates for high-risk drivers and customer service quality MoneyGeek identified two insurers as the best companies for high-risk drivers:

  • State Farm ranks as best commonly available insurer for high-risk drivers, also scoring well in affordability, customer satisfaction and financial stability.
  • USAA scores the best overall for high-risk drivers, but it's only available to military families. It offers affordable premiums and received high marks in both satisfaction and financial stability.

Finding the best car insurance for high-risk drivers can take extra time and research. If you're only focused on price, MoneyGeek has also detailed the cheapest companies for high-risk drivers.

Best Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers: Company Rankings

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  • Company
    MoneyGeek Score (out of 100)
    Satisfaction Score (out of 5)
    Complaints Score (out of 5)
    Stability Score (out of 5)
    Affordability Score (out of 5)
  • USAA
    99
    5
    5
    5
    5
  • State Farm
    84
    3
    4
    5
    4
  • GEICO
    80
    3
    4
    5
    4
  • Nationwide
    79
    3
    5
    5
    4
  • Allstate
    77
    3
    5
    5
    4
  • Progressive
    75
    3
    4
    5
    4
  • Travelers
    72
    3
    5
    5
    3
  • Farmers Insurance
    71
    3
    4
    4
    3
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MoneyGeek's scores — described in detail in our methodology — base affordability on how car insurance companies treat a blend of car insurance violations. Averages may differ depending on your particular violation, and MoneyGeek has resources specifically for drivers with a DUI looking for insurance and for drivers with a ticket or accident shopping for insurance shopping for insurance.

The Cheapest Companies for High-Risk Drivers Based on Driving Record

If customer service and extra services rank far lower on your list of needs than affordability, you may be interested in knowing which car insurance companies offer the cheapest policies. The national average cost of insurance for drivers with no violations is currently $1,379, while those with violations on their records pay an average of $2,240.

In terms of the cheapest car insurance for high-risk drivers, USAA also comes out on top in this list, with an average cost of $1,389. State Farm is the runner-up at $1,769.

These figures are based on average rates for three different violation scenarios: after a ticket, an at-fault accident or a DUI.

The Cheapest Companies for High-Risk Drivers

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The Cheapest Companies for High-Risk Drivers by State

While the previous section highlights national averages for high-risk driver insurance, it's important to remember that these figures can vary based on where you live. Some companies adjust their rates in different states. To ensure you find the best option for your needs, we highlight the cheapest company in each state.

Excluding USAA, State Farm is the cheapest option in 27 states. American Family Insurance — a regional insurer — is the cheapest option second most frequently: six states. But 12 companies were the cheapest option in at least one state, so high-risk drivers can benefit from shopping around.

USAA was excluded from this analysis because of its eligibility requirements, but if you're eligible we found it's the cheapest car insurance company for drivers in 29 states.

Cheapest Companies for High-Risk Drivers by State - Excl. USAA

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Car Insurance Costs for High-Risk Drivers Based on Driver Profile

When most people consider which factors indicate a high-risk driver, they think about many of the ones we already covered: a poor overall driving record or a violation, such as an at-fault accident or a DUI. But insurance companies may decide you pose a high risk because of factors unrelated to your driving record.

Young drivers who recently received their license, for example, pay substantially more than their older counterparts. Drivers with bad credit scores are also considered high-risk because insurers believe there's a greater chance they may not keep up-to-date with their payments. The type of vehicle you drive plays an important role too. If you drive a car with a top safety rating, such as a Volvo or Subaru, you're far less likely to pay higher premiums than someone driving a sports car.

The Cost of High-Risk Car Insurance: Young Drivers

Compared to their parents and most other adults, teen drivers have less experience behind the wheel. As a result, insurers see them as high-risk. In 2021, an 18-year-old driver can expect to pay an average premium of $4,866 per year. In contrast, the average premium for a 40-year-old driver is $1,379.

Finding cheap car insurance for teens isn’t impossible. But you need to know where to look. Signing up under a parental policy may also help young drivers save on car insurance. And many insurers offer lower rates for maintaining good grades and driving vehicles with a low risk rating.

Average Annual Cost for Teens vs. Adults

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Adult

40-Year-Old

$1,379
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Teen

18-Year-Old

$4,866
Premiums for teens are on average:$3,487 more

This is 253% more expensive.

The Cost of High-Risk Car Insurance: Drivers With Poor Credit

Insurers have found a correlation between poor credit scores and an increase in the number of claims filed. Having bad credit can make finding reasonably priced car insurance more challenging. On average, drivers with a credit score below 578 paid $1,246 more in car insurance per year, nearly double what those with a score above 768 paid.

EvYou can still find cheap car insurance with poor credit. Taking steps to improve your credit, such as minimizing debt and making payments on time, may also lower your insurance costs over time.

Average Annual Insurance Cost by Credit Score

money
Good Credit

(Score above 768)

$1,379
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Poor Credit

(Score below 578)

$2,625
Premiums for drivers with poor credit are on average:$1,246 more

This is 90% more expensive.

The Cost of High-Risk Car Insurance: Drivers With Sports Cars

Data shows that sports cars are more commonly stolen, causing some insurers to charge higher premiums. Also, because sports cars weigh less and are smaller than a standard sedan, they tend to sustain greater damage when involved in a wreck.

For example, a common sports car model that is relatively expensive to insure is a Ford Mustang. According to our latest research, drivers with a 2010 Ford Mustang paid an average of $204 more than those who owned a Toyota Camry of the same model year. Those driving a 2020 Mustang paid roughly $894 more.

Average Insurance Cost by Model Type

car
Toyota Camry

Model Year 2010

$1,379
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Ford Mustang

Model Year 2010

$1,583
Premiums for drivers with a Ford Mustang are on average:$204 more

This is 15% more expensive.

What Is a High-Risk Driver?

High-risk drivers come in many forms, according to auto insurers. Even if you possess a squeaky clean driving record, factors such as your credit score or type of vehicle can raise premiums. Even if you have a safe car and good credit, past violations can also hike up the cost. Some of the most serious violations that can make you exceptionally risky include:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license
  • Driving recklessly
  • Drag racing

If you have serious violations on your driving record, you may need to file for SR-22 car insurance. Also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, this document must be filed to prove you carry the minimum required amount of car insurance in your state. Getting high-risk insurance, also known as non-standard car insurance, will cost more, but there are plenty of ways to save.

How to Avoid Being Categorized as a High-Risk Driver

Whether you're already classified as a high-risk driver or want to avoid falling into that category, you can take steps to keep your car insurance low.

1

Drive safely.

It may seem intuitive, but ensuring you don't get tickets or cause wrecks can go a long way in helping you pay lower rates for auto insurance. Follow the speed limit and all posted signage. If you have violations already, shop for new rates as violations age out of the rate-setting process.

2

Improve your credit score.

Making on-time payments, adding your name to a parent's or family member's utility bill, and keeping your credit card balances low can all help improve your credit score. It can take some time, but the payoff is worth it.

3

Take a defensive driving course.

Many insurance companies offer discounts to those who complete a defensive driving course. In addition to curbing risky behaviors, these programs also help you identify driving dangers more quickly.

What If I’m a High-Risk Driver and Insurers Won’t Cover Me?

If an insurance company considers you too risky, they may refuse to offer you coverage. If this happens, you should look for a residual market plan. These programs bring together other overly-risky drivers in the state to provide coverage without raising the premiums of other, less-risky drivers. The Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office (AIPSO) helps these drivers find insurance. The group also maintains a state-by-state database to ensure you can locate a plan where you live.

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FAQs About High-Risk Car Insurance

Lots of questions exist about getting the best high-risk insurance for individual needs. We answer some of the most common below.

Methodology

Average rates were calculated based on car insurance policies with 100/300/100 liability insurance and comprehensive and collision insurance with a $1,000 deductible.

To calculate rates for a high-risk driver, MoneyGeek averaged the rates insurance companies charge for three of the most common driving violations: speeding, committing an at-fault accident and a DUI.

To determine the best car insurance company for high-risk drivers, MoneyGeek scored companies based on affordability, customer satisfaction and complaints — drawn from J.D. Power surveys and NAIC complaint scores — and financial strength ratings as calculated by A.M. Best. Affordability received the highest weight in our calculations.

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About the Author


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Katy McWhirter is a professional writer and owner of Heritage Creatives, a boutique historical branding agency. She has experience in nonprofit management, marketing, personal finance, government relations and education from her decade-plus writing career. Katy’s work has been featured in both the United States and abroad, highlighting the need for research-driven, accessible information on financial topics.

Katy earned her bachelor’s degree in social entrepreneurship from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and her master’s degree in modern history from the University of York in England. She spends her free time with her husband and two cats, restoring their 1901 home in Louisville and reading up on all things personal finance.


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