Published: July 23, 2019Updated: May 23, 2022

Auto Insurance for High Risk Drivers

If you’ve been designated a “high risk” driver, you may already have some worrisome questions: Will you be able to find car insurance? Will it be affordable? Can you protect yourself financially if there’s an accident?

The good news is that all of these questions have one simple answer: Yes!

We know the “high risk” label may feel like an insult, but it’s not personal – and it doesn’t even mean you’re an unsafe driver. It’s simply means that some car insurance companies think your likelihood of _using _your insurance policy is above average. We’ll show you how to find competitive high risk auto insurance – but first, some background:

Who are high-risk drivers?

Different insurance companies have different ways of calculating risk. There’s no single, universal definition. But generally speaking, high-risk drivers are at a greater risk of getting into car accidents. Some of the factors that can land you in this category include:

  • Having a low credit score. Insurance companies often us credit score to determine your car insurance premiums, even if you’re not a high-risk driver.
  • Having multiple traffic violations (e.g. speeding tickets, reckless driving, or other moving violations) can be an issue, as well as having at-fault accident on your driving record.
  • Being a teen driver. Younger drivers are generally less experienced and tend to be more accident-prone while driving.
  • Having a DUI or DWI infraction on your driving record.
  • Being a first-time insurance candidate. If you have no history of insurance coverage, insurers will see you as a greater risk.
  • Driving an exotic car or a performance car.

Why does high risk auto insurance cost more?

Car insurance companies are effectively gambling on drivers. They try to charge you a fair price based on your likelihood that you’ll make an insurance claim. If you’re a perfect driver who never gets in an accident, the insurance agency will never need to cover your claim. They can charge you a very low rate with no risk to their business.

On the other hand, if you get in lots of accidents, car insurance companies will end up shelling out a lot of money to cover them. They pass these costs on to you, so you have to pay significantly higher premiums for your insurance every month.

But don’t worry! If you do your research and exercise smart consumer practices, you can still find very competitive rates that get you on the road affordably.

How do I get low rates as a high-risk driver?

Finding an auto insurance policy that meets your needs as a high-risk driver while keeping your insurance premiums in an affordable range may seem daunting at first… but there are several steps you can take to find the perfect auto insurance with just a little investigation.

  1. Build up your credit score. If you have poor credit, even small improvements could lower your insurance premiums.
  2. Take a defensive driving course. If your driving history is shaky, studying defensive driving will boost insurance your standing with auto insurance companies.
  3. Avoid gaps in auto insurance coverage. If you have a car insurance policy, maintain it consistently with no lapses.
  4. Shop around. Getting a low quote is by far the most important tactic to securing affordable car insurance! See the next section for more details.

How do I get the best quote as a high-risk driver?

Finding high risk auto insurance at a fair price used to be virtually impossible. The old-fashioned coverage experience (i.e. talking to an insurance agent, filing paperwork, waiting weeks for a decision) was clumsy, time-consuming and painful.

But thanks to the magic of the internet, all of that has changed. With just a few clicks, you can see auto insurance quotes from many different auto insurers, find the right policy for you, and apply for coverage instantly. Smart comparison shopping for car insurance quotes has never been easier – and you can get started right now at

What if I can’t find insurance?

Some drivers with a large number of serious violations on record will appear to be too much of a liability for most insurers and won’t be able to get coverage on their own directly from any insurer in the state. This only happens to a small percentage of drivers, but when it does, those drivers may have to get coverage through state-run assigned-risk plans. In these programs, drivers apply for coverage through the state, and the state assigns a particular insurer to cover them. The programs are set up so that every insurer in the state has to take on its fair share of high-risk drivers. Unfortunately for drivers in these programs, the premiums tend to be higher than if they had secured coverage on the voluntary market.

The majority of drivers will not have to get coverage through an assigned-risk program, however. Most states have a significant number of insurers that are not just willing to write high-risk insurance policies but actually target drivers categorized as high risk. The only way high-risk drivers can find those companies is by shopping around and comparing quotes from multiple providers.

Did You Know?

Residual market enrollment

Enrollment in the residual market is relatively low. The residual market, which helps high-risk drivers get coverage after they couldn’t find a policy on their own, accounts for less than 1% of total annual premiums written by insurers.