Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, research investigative pieces…

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states…

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Reviewed byRachael Brennan
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UPDATED: May 6, 2020

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Auto Insurance for People with Bad Driving Records (2020 Rates)

Driving Record-Related Auto Insurance Statistics
Driving Record StatsDetailsFrom Experts
Highest Percentage of Uninsured DriversFlorida - 26.7% Uninsurediii.org
Lowest Percentage of Uninsured DriversMaine - 4.5% Uninsurediii.org
Percentage of Drivers With Non-Standard Insurance30-40%insurancejournal.com
Percentage of Drivers Who Admit To Running Red Lights40%trafficviolationlawfirms.com
Percentage of Drivers with 75k Salary Earning Tickets29%CNBC.com
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Auto insurance is expensive for almost everyone, but auto insurance for people with bad driving records is especially pricey. Tickets, accidents, DUIs, or other infractions on your record mean insurance companies charge more. A single ticket or accident can drive up your insurance costs, while multiple violations can place you firmly in the high-risk auto insurance category.

Nobody’s perfect. While there’s no such thing as auto insurance that doesn’t check your driving record, finding auto insurance with a bad driving record doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Continue reading to learn how tickets and accidents affect your insurance rates.

If you are ready to get a quote for affordable auto insurance, even if you have a bad driving record, enter your ZIP code into our FREE tool above.

Insurance for Bad Drivers – How to Know if You’re Considered High-Risk

Several factors are used to determine a high-risk driver. For example:

Your Driving Record

Obviously, if you’re found at fault in a collision, your rates will go up. But why does this happen with speeding tickets or minor accidents you didn’t cause? Some data suggests that every speeding ticket you receive substantially raises your risk of a future accident.

In the chart below, we’ve broken down the average annual premium with several major insurance companies based on different driving records.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Based on Driving Record
CompaniesClean RecordWith One AccidentWith One DUIWith One Speeding Violation
USAA$1,933.68$2,516.24$3,506.03$2,193.25
Geico$2,145.96$3,192.77$4,875.87$2,645.43
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75$4,330.24$3,025.74
Nationwide$2,746.18$3,396.95$4,543.20$3,113.68
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01$3,636.80$3,186.01
Progressive$3,393.09$4,777.04$3,969.65$4,002.28
Travelers$3,447.69$4,289.74$5,741.40$4,260.80
Farmers$3,460.60$4,518.73$4,718.75$4,079.01
Allstate$3,819.90$4,987.68$6,260.73$4,483.51
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78$7,613.48$5,701.26
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A single accident can raise your rates by $500 or more with most companies, so it’s important to drive carefully.

Also, being involved in one or more collisions, fault aside, may suggest a tendency towards reckless driving. If you’ve been hit in the past and/or have a habit of collecting tickets, auto insurance providers may deem you a riskier driver. And this can make finding affordable insurance a challenge.

Your Age

Teen drivers are considered high-risk for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is that inexperienced drivers are almost always going to make mistakes on the road, making them more likely to be in an accident or otherwise file a claim.

Take a look at the chart below to see exactly how your age (and your marital status) can impact your rates:

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Based on Age Group
CompaniesMarried 60-Year-Old FemaleMarried 60-Year-Old MaleMarried 35-Year-Old FemaleMarried 35-Year-Old MaleSingle 25-Year-Old FemaleSingle 25-Year-Old MaleSingle 17-Year-Old FemaleSingle 17-Year-Old Male
Liberty Mutual$3,445.00$3,680.53$3,802.77$3,856.84$3,959.67$4,503.13$11,621.01$13,718.69
Allstate$2,913.37$2,990.64$3,156.09$3,123.01$3,424.87$3,570.93$9,282.19$10,642.53
Farmers$2,336.80$2,448.39$2,556.98$2,557.75$2,946.80$3,041.44$8,521.97$9,144.04
Geico$2,240.60$2,283.45$2,302.89$2,312.38$2,378.89$2,262.87$5,653.55$6,278.96
Nationwide$2,130.26$2,214.62$2,360.49$2,387.43$2,686.48$2,889.04$5,756.37$7,175.31
Travelers$2,051.98$2,074.41$2,178.66$2,199.51$2,325.25$2,491.21$9,307.32$12,850.91
American Family$1,992.92$2,014.38$2,202.70$2,224.31$2,288.65$2,694.72$5,996.50$8,130.50
Progressive$1,991.49$2,048.63$2,296.90$2,175.27$2,697.73$2,758.66$8,689.95$9,625.49
State Farm$1,873.89$1,873.89$2,081.72$2,081.72$2,335.96$2,554.56$5,953.88$7,324.34
USAA$1,449.85$1,448.98$1,551.43$1,540.32$1,988.52$2,126.14$4,807.54$5,385.61
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Teenagers tend to be more likely to make poor choices when driving and more likely to be distracted by cellphones or passengers. Not every teen will have these problems, but insurance companies look at the whole demographic, not the individual person.

On the other end of the spectrum, seniors may sometimes find themselves categorized as high-risk as well. Who has the cheapest auto insurance for seniors? Shopping around makes a big difference once again. some companies not only don’t ding you for your age but actually reward your many years of experience on the road.

Your ZIP Code

If you live in a ZIP code where there are higher than average numbers of accidents or higher crime rates, you’ll be rated as a higher risk than people living in safer ZIP codes. Everything from the road conditions to vandalism rates in your ZIP code can and will impact your insurance rates.

Continuous Coverage

If you have any gaps in your insurance coverage history, your provider will assume one of two things: either you’ve been driving uninsured, or you’ve had your coverage revoked from a former provider.

Even if you have a perfectly reasonable explanation for your gap in coverage, such as moving from a city with working public transportation to a more suburban area where a vehicle is necessary, it still may be expensive or impossible for you to get an affordable insurance policy from a reliable company.

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What is a bad driving record?

A bad driving record is typically defined as having multiple infractions, whether those are traffic tickets or accidents. Each state will have different ways of determining how tickets and accidents will impact your driver’s license. Take a look at the examples below:

  • Maine uses a demerit point system. Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle will earn you four points, for example, while driving without a license will earn you six points.
  • In Nebraska, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle doesn’t even make the list of actions that will earn you points on your license, while driving without a license only earns you one point.
  • In Pennsylvania, a violation concerning your license earns you three points. Failure to yield could earn you anywhere between two and three points, depending on the specific circumstances.

From an insurance point of view, the point system is not the only thing that determines whether or not you’re considered high risk. A DUI will cost you dearly when it comes to your insurance premiums, regardless of whether it earned you four points or eight points on your license.

Auto insurance for drivers with points may be standard or high-risk depending on how many points you have and the type of violation.

What happens if you have a bad driving record? Can you get cheap insurance? What is the best auto insurance for bad drivers? What is the best insurance company for high-risk drivers? Let’s take a look at some of your options.

How much does high-risk auto insurance cost?

Even for drivers with bad driving records, the cost of insurance can vary significantly from company to company. you may be able to get insurance from a standard company, but if your record means you need non-standard insurance, you can expect it to be even more expensive.

If your driving record is such that none of the insurance companies in your state will cover you, you may be required to get your insurance through a state plan, typically referred to as a state assigned risk pool.

For example, Montana’s state plan is MTAIP. High-risk auto insurance in Florida is called FAJUA.  While the acronyms are different, they are the same basic thing. You can find your state’s plan information on the Auto Insurance Plan Service Office (AIPSO) website.

These plans are not cheap insurance, nor are they necessarily the best high-risk auto insurance. They are the last resort for those that can’t get coverage anywhere else.

The best way to determine how much you’ll pay for insurance is to get quotes from multiple companies.

What is the cheapest auto insurance for bad drivers?

The most efficient way to eliminate those annoying spikes in your premium is to search and compare many different auto insurance providers. So what is the cheapest insurance for high-risk drivers? The most affordable auto insurance for high-risk drivers depends on the record and on the person.

Believe it or not, there are auto insurance companies willing and able to swallow an increased risk by providing coverage for a high-risk motorist.

These providers operate in a non-standard market, meaning that they cater to customers who have multiple points on their record, customers who are young drivers, and customers with poor credit. You could save several hundred dollars a month, potentially getting these deals from either big insurance companies or a local provider.

Of course, there is a difference between the cheapest and what is the best auto insurance for bad drivers. Remember that even if you’re high-risk, you still want a company with a solid reputation.

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Insurance Coverage for Drivers with Accidents or Tickets

Drivers with fantastic driving records (and blemish-free credit scores, depending on where you live) tend to get the best rates on auto insurance. But many drivers aren’t as lucky, often facing higher insurance rates because of this.

However, there are some understanding insurance companies out there, to the point that some even specialize in creating affordable policies for riskier drivers.

If you recently received a premium hike due to your credit score, a collision, or a ticket, you may need to start shopping around for a better policy. A few minor blemishes on your driving record won’t get you an elevated premium with all insurance companies.

Each company is different, which means that some companies will increase your premium significantly for an accident or a ticket while others will have small increases for the same infraction.

It is possible to remove tickets, DUIs, and other infractions from your record in some instances, so that can be helpful in keeping your rates low.

Some companies will even give you the opportunity to take a safe driving course to remove a ticket from your record or allow you to waive the first ticket or accident if you’ve added that coverage to your policy.

Getting multiple quotes is an excellent way to find cheap auto insurance after an accident or with tickets on your record.

Can you lose your insurance for having tickets and accidents?

Yes, it’s possible to lose your insurance because of a bad driving record. Your policy generally cannot be canceled in the middle of a contracted period, but your insurance company has the right to refuse to renew your policy.

The law allows insurance companies to drop your policy, otherwise known as a non-renewal, for any reason except those that are protected by law. This means that they can’t cancel your policy because of your age or gender, but they can cancel your policy because you filed too many claims.

There are ways to avoid filing too many claims, like paying for accident damage out of pocket, but tickets, DUIs, and other issues can build up on your record with surprising speed if you aren’t careful.

Driving the speed limit and avoiding accidents is the best way to prevent your policy from being non-renewed.

How far back does your driving record go?

Moving violations and accidents don’t stay on your record forever, which means you won’t be held accountable today for that speeding ticket you got 10 years ago.

For most states, your driving record lasts for three years. Some states have longer records and some states require you to contact them to remove older violations from your record, so you will need to check your local laws to determine exactly how long a ticket or accident will stay on your record.

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How does the insurance company know I am a high-risk driver?

There are a few ways your insurance company can find out about your driving record.

  • They can access your records through the DMV.
  • They can access your claims history through their records.
  • You can tell them.

If you receive a ticket or other driving infraction, that information is stored on your driving record with the state. Some states will allow you to take a driving safety course to remove a ticket from your record, but typically this only allowed once every few years.

If you’re in an accident and a claim is filed through the insurance company, they’ll have record of that and it may impact your rates in the future.

Also, remember that you’ll be asked about your driving record when signing up for a new policy with an insurance company. If you managed to avoid having an accident listed in your claims history but you mention it to your new insurance company, they’ll take it into account when figuring your rates.

Can I hide my bad driving record from my insurance company?

If you pay for damages in an accident out of pocket, this could potentially keep an accident off your record. This doesn’t mean you should lie to your insurance company, however, because lying about your driving history is a form of insurance fraud.

FBI estimate on the cost of insurance fraud

Insurance fraud isn’t just limited to fraudulent activity on the part of brokers and insurance agents. Customers are held accountable for insurance fraud, too, and it isn’t limited to huge things like faking a claim. Lying about your driving history counts as insurance fraud, so don’t take that chance.

You’re better off shopping around to find the best auto insurance for a bad driving record while still being honest with your insurance company.

Insurance is expensive, but what happens when you drive without it?

Driving without insurance is both illegal and incredibly dangerous. Most states require you to have minimum auto insurance requirements for liability in place, which means driving without insurance is breaking the law.

Worse than that, if you’re at fault for an accident, you could be held liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses. Remember, not every accident is a simple fender bender, there are thousands of deadly crashes across the country every year.

You could hit an expensive, new Lexus on the highway, sending the driver and multiple passengers to the hospital.

If this happens and you don’t have insurance, you’re responsible for all of the car repairs and all of the medical bills, leaving you in a position where the courts can take your property and garnish your wages to force you to pay for damages.

If you truly cannot afford even a basic liability policy, it may be in your best interest to limit yourself to public transportation until your driving record has improved.

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Do I need an SR-22?

An SR-22 (or, in some states, an FR-44) is a document kept on file with your state that proves your insurance meets the minimum coverage levels required by law. This is also sometimes known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility. SR-22 insurance isn’t a specific kind of policy, simply a form that some people need to file in their state.

An SR-22 is typically only necessary for people with certain driving violations. DUIs, accidents caused while driving without insurance, and reckless driving infractions are all examples of what might make your state require you to file an SR-22.

The best way to find out if an SR-22 is required in your state is to check your state DMV website. For example, New Hampshire does not require an SR-22 for drivers at this time.

Does your credit history impact your driving record?

Although your credit score and your driving record seem unrelated, credit scores can tell your prospective auto insurance provider a lot about you. Studies have determined that motorists with lower credit scores file more claims. Because of this data, auto insurance providers often charge higher rates for drivers with lower credit scores.

The table below shows a list of companies and their average annual premiums based on credit history.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Based on Credit History
CompaniesGood CreditFair CreditPoor Credit
USAA$1,821.20$2,219.83$3,690.73
State Farm$2,174.26$2,853.00$4,951.20
Geico$2,434.82$2,986.79$4,259.50
American Family$2,691.74$3,169.53$4,467.98
Nationwide$2,925.94$3,254.83$4,083.29
Progressive$3,628.85$3,956.31$4,737.64
Farmers$3,677.12$3,899.41$4,864.14
Allstate$3,859.66$4,581.16$6,490.65
Travelers$4,058.97$4,344.10$5,160.22
Liberty Mutual$4,388.18$5,604.24$8,802.22
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You can see from the information above that your credit history can change your rates by several thousand dollars a year. This means that cleaning up your credit is an excellent way to lower your insurance rates.

Despite the fact that both impact your insurance rates, your driving record and your credit history are two separate things. It’s possible to have pristine credit and a poor driving record or a perfect driving record and terrible credit.

Some states prohibit the use of credit scores in determining your insurance rates. Check your local laws if you have any concerns.

How can I lower my high-risk insurance rates?

Even with a bad driving record, there are ways of lowering your auto insurance costs. Some of these steps include:

  • Getting a quote for cheaper coverage
  • Choosing a vehicle that is cheap to insure
  • Increasing deductibles
  • Limiting your policy to liability only
  • Reducing your annual mileage
  • Taking advantage of safe driving apps offered by your insurance company

There are many ways you can bring down your insurance costs, so don’t feel resigned to having a high premium.

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Accident Forgiveness

With most companies, accident forgiveness is an option you pay for, much the same way you would add comprehensive or collision insurance to your policy for an additional fee. This additional premium might seem unnecessary, but if it prevents your premium from increasing, it could be well worth it.

Keep in mind that accident forgiveness only applies to your first accident in a given period. They won’t forgive multiple accidents, so it is important to be cautious behind the wheel.

Additionally, every company approaches accident forgiveness in a different way. Some don’t offer it at all, while others offer it as a paid benefit. Some of the companies that do offer it may have caveats built into the policy regarding second or third accidents, so make sure you understand the coverage before you sign up.

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope the information presented above answered any questions you may have about getting insurance with a bad driving record, but you can also find answers to several frequently asked questions below:

#1 – Is auto insurance that doesn’t check your driving record available?

Almost all providers will check you driving record. However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Providers like SafeAuto, Titan Auto Insurance, and The General focus on providing auto insurance to drivers with less than perfect driving records.

Remember that if you are trying to get commercial insurance with a bad driving record, the stakes are higher. Commercial insurance is usually needed for your job, and not only will the insurance company check, but so will your employer. Keeping a clean record is vital if you drive for a living.

#2 – How can you check your driving record?

In this case, the internet is your best option. You can typically find your driving record online by using your state’s DMV website (or the equivalent — many states have a DPS or a BMV or other acronym instead of DMV). Remember, official state sites will end in .gov, so don’t be fooled by phishing sites.

Keep in mind that it isn’t free to check your driving record. Most states charge a fee to access your records online, so be prepared to enter your credit card information before you get to see your record.

#3 – How can you clean up your driving record?

The easiest way to clean up your driving record is to do a little research on how your state works. Some states will allow you to expunge specific instances from your driving record, but others often have automatic time limits, which means your infraction will fall off your record after a certain number of years.

Below are some of the ways you might be able to clean up your record:

  • If your state allows you to remove items by request, make sure you meet their criteria and fill out the form with the DMV. The odds are good there will be a fee associated with this, so make sure you know how much you’ll be paying before you go.
  • If you haven’t already done so, taking a safe driver course may help you remove a ticket from your record. Check with your local DMV to see if this is an option for you.
  • If your situation is very serious, it might be worth your time to contact an attorney to find out exactly what can be done to fix your driving record.

Of course, the best option is to avoid tickets and accidents in the future as well. Some people will opt to use public transit or other travel options for a period of time to avoid further damaging their driving record.

#4 – How long are you considered a high-risk driver?

If you’re considered a high-risk driver due to your age, you will simply have to wait until you are out of your teens and early 20s. You can take advantage of good student discounts to help reduce your costs during this time.

If you’re considered high-risk because of your driving record, all you need to do is fix your driving record to reduce your premiums. Sometimes all you can do is wait until infractions fall off your record over time, but you can take steps to improve your driving record like the ones mentioned in the previous question to speed up the process.

#5 – How do you find out what discounts an auto insurance company offers?

Almost every insurance company has a page on their website dedicated to their available discounts, so you can always search online to find your discounts.

If you’re having trouble navigating the website, simply contact the customer service department and ask them to help you find out if there are any additional discounts available to you at this time.

You can also make use of online quoting tools like the one below to get quotes that include discount options.

#6 – Why is it harder to get insurance with a bad driving record?

Insurance is a tricky business. If insurance companies spend too much money paying out claims, they cannot afford to stay in business. The lower they can keep their expenditures, the more money they can bring in for their investors.

Because of the increased likelihood that they will be in an accident, high-risk drivers stand to cost an insurance company much more than they spend on their premiums. This is why it is so much harder for high-risk drivers to get auto insurance.

Sometimes a bad driving record is because of negligence on the part of the driver, but if your driving record has gotten bad recently when it has always been pristine in the past, you may want to consider if something else may be causing the issue.

If this is a sudden change, arrange for a check-up with your doctor and your optometrist to make sure there is nothing medically wrong that might be causing you to drive poorly.

#7 – My driving record is fine. Do I need to worry about insurance for bad drivers?

If your driving record is fine, you don’t need to worry about high-risk insurance right now.

However, it is extremely easy to go from having a clean record to having multiple points on your license. A single DUI (sometimes referred to as DWI) is enough to push you into a high-risk category, so don’t even think about drinking and driving.

You can also end up with multiple tickets or accidents in a very short time. If you run a red light and hit another driver, it’s possible that both the accident and the ticket for running the red light will appear on your record. You could go from a clean record to two infractions in a single day.

If you’re a high-risk driver, hope is not lost. Use our free tool below to get quotes for the most affordable auto insurance available to you.