While nearly all states require a minimum amount of car insurance for all drivers, car insurance companies are allowed to deny coverage when they believe the driver is too high-risk to cover.
Drivers in the high-risk category face certain challenges when it comes to getting car insurance. For example, it can be more difficult to find car insurance companies who will insure you, and your premiums are likely to be higher than those for drivers in the standard tier.
What Is a High-Risk Driver?
A “high-risk driver" is one who has a higher potential of filing a claim on his or her car insurance than the average driver. Car insurance companies often see high-risk drivers as undesirable, as they may end up costing them more than they make in the end.
There are several reasons why an auto insurance carrier might consider you high risk. There is no uniform definition as to what exactly a high-risk driver is.
Continue reading to learn some of the more common reasons drivers are deemed high risk.
A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI/DWI) will cost you large amounts of money in fines and penalties. Additionally, you will likely face great consequences related to your car insurance:
- Classification as a high-risk driver.*
- Increased car insurance rates.
- SR-22 insurance filing requirement.
- Possible denial of car insurance coverage.
* In most states, your DUI conviction will stick with you for at least 3 years. You can expect to stay classified as high risk for at least the amount of time that your driving record shows a DUI conviction.
Other Serious Violations
A DUI/DWI is not the only type of violation that can potentially change your car insurance risk rating. Several serious violations can also cause auto insurance companies to rate you as a high-risk driver.
Some examples of serious violations include:
- Excessive speeding.
- Illegal street racing.
- Driving without a license.
- Reckless driving.
- Any traffic violation that results in a fatality.
A fender bender here and there is likely to have little impact on your car insurance beyond a premium increase. However, serious accidents can be an entirely different story. The definition of a serious accident can vary from state to state, but generally any accident involving an injury or a certain amount of property damage (typically set by state law) is considered a serious accident.
If you are involved in a serious accident, many auto insurance carriers may subsequently view you as a high-risk driver.
When it comes to your car insurance, it is hard to argue that anything affects it more than your driving record.
If your driving record is littered with traffic violations and accidents, you are very likely to be considered a high-risk driver and face significantly higher car insurance rates.
Most states have laws regarding just how far back a car insurance company is allowed to look at your driving record. Car insurance companies are typically most interested in information from the last 5 years. However, regulations vary and your state may allow car insurance companies to look much further back.
In order to make sure you know what your insurance company sees, you can view your driving record online today.
Because of their lack of experience and car insurance history, new drivers can be considered high-risk drivers.
Statistics consistently show that inexperienced drivers are much more likely to be involved in a car crash than a more experienced driver.
Teen drivers can avoid having to purchase car insurance within the high-risk tier by simply being added on to their parents' policy. However, parents can expect a significant increase in their premiums.
New adult drivers who have to purchase their own car insurance may have to purchase high-risk auto insurance. However, depending on where you live and the insurance companies you can buy from, you may be able to purchase standard insurance (if not right away, then possibly as soon as 6 months from the time of initial purchase).
Before you renew your high-risk insurance, shop around and get new car insurance quotes.
You may find that certain types of cars will move you into the high-risk category of drivers.
Some types of high-risk vehicles include:
- Exotic cars.
- Sports cars.
- Collectible cars.
Some car insurance companies specialize in insuring these types of cars. Speak with your auto insurance agent to learn about any options you might have when insuring your high-risk vehicle.
Lapse in Car Insurance Coverage
Having a lapse in car insurance coverage is dangerous for several reasons:
- Driving uninsured is against the law. If you are caught driving without a current car insurance policy, you can be subject to fines and other penalties.
- Getting into an accident without the minimum amount of auto insurance exposes you to huge financial risk.
- Car insurance companies see coverage lapses as huge indicators of future risk.
If you drop your car insurance and don't begin another policy immediately, you are very likely to be considered a high-risk driver once you reinstate your policy and/or find a new policy.
Drivers Over 70
Older drivers (typically those over 70 years old) face higher rates and possible classification into the high-risk tier of car insurance, because many drivers in this age category experience:
- Loss of mobility.
- Vision changes.
- Decreased reflexes.
A great way for seniors to save on car insurance is by completing an approved defensive driving course. You can contact your car insurance representative for more information.
Shop Around for Lower Rates
It's true: high-risk drivers face much higher premium rates than standard-risk drivers.
Keep in mind, however, that just because one car insurance provider may categorize you as a high-risk driver, it does not mean all car insurance companies will.
Before buying high-risk car insurance, try getting multiple car insurance quotes to find the most affordable car insurance possible.