Finding the best car insurance if you’re deemed a high-risk driver may require some research to make sure you get the lowest rate for the car insurance coverage you need. You may be considered a high-risk driver if you’ve gotten a DUI, have multiple traffic violations, or are a teen or senior driver.
The best high-risk car insurance companies offer good coverage options, low rates and multiple car insurance discounts so drivers can find affordable car insurance.
Why trust our insurance experts
Our team of insurance experts evaluates hundreds of insurance products and analyzes thousands of data points to help you find the best product for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.
- 780 companies analyzed.
- 7,800 rates reviewed.
- 5 levels of fact-checking.
Best high-risk auto insurance companies at a glance
The best high-risk car insurance company is USAA, according to our analysis. But USAA is only available to eligible members of the military community. If you don’t qualify for coverage from USAA, compare the other top-rated high-risk auto insurance companies in our rating.
What is the best high-risk car insurance?
The best high-risk auto insurance company is USAA, according to our analysis. However, not everyone qualifies for car insurance through USAA, so your next best option for high-risk car insurance may be Westfield, which gets 4.5 stars in our analysis. After USAA, Geico offers the next most affordable average annual car insurance rate for high-risk drivers.
Compare high-risk car insurance quotes
Our insurance experts evaluated the top car insurance companies in the nation to determine which offer the best high-risk auto insurance. Each car insurance company was eligible for up to 100 points, based on its performance in the following key categories:
Cost: 60 points. We analyzed rates from Quadrant Information Services based on a 45-year-old female driver insuring a Toyota RAV4 with a policy of 100/300/100 coverage ($100,000 bodily injury liability per person, $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident, $100,000 for property damage liability), plus collision and comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible. To calculate average rates for high-risk driver car insurance we averaged costs from each company for drivers who have caused an accident with injury, drivers who have caused an accident with property damage, drivers with a DUI and drivers with poor credit.
Car insurance coverage non-owners option: 20 points. Car insurance for high-risk drivers needs to include coverages that are important to this segment of drivers. One such coverage is non-owners for when the driver needs car insurance but doesn’t own a car. Auto insurance companies that offer this option received full points. Also, all of the car insurance companies we evaluated offer to file SR-22 certificates of financial responsibility for drivers in need.
Complaints: 10 points. We collected complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which shows the volume of car insurance consumer complaints against each company. When a consumer lodges a complaint to their state’s department of insurance — often about an insurance company’s claims process, delays, denials or settlements — these complaints are logged and tracked by the NAIC.
Collision repair: 10 points. Every year the CRASH Network surveys collision repair professionals across the nation, evaluating insurers on the quality of their repairs and customer service interactions for motorists. Grades range from A+ to F, and insurers with better grades score higher for this metric.
How much does high-risk car insurance cost?
The average annual high-risk auto insurance rate is $3,217, according to our analysis. However, that number varies widely among the car insurance companies we evaluated, easily by $1,000 or more, as well as by the actual factors that flag a high-risk driver. For example, a driver with a DUI is likely to pay more than a driver with an accident causing property damage.
Drivers who do not qualify for auto insurance through major car insurance companies because they are too high-risk are likely to pay even higher rates through their state’s residual markets, which are state-backed last resort coverage options, according to Mark Friedlander, the Director of Corporate Communications at the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).
Cheapest high-risk car insurance by company
Cheapest high-risk car insurance companies by state
Source: Quadrant Information Services. Rates are based on liability coverage of 100/300/100 and collision and comprehensive insurance with $500 deductible. In some cases, USAA is the cheapest company but membership is limited to military personnel, veterans and their families.
How to save on high-risk car insurance
High-risk drivers should shop around and compare car insurance quotes to find the best rates. It is also important to avoid the kind of violations that cause car insurance rates to increase. According to Friedlander, incidents such as accidents and moving violations will cause insurance bills to increase for about three years
High-risk car insurance company discounts
Even though you may be a high-risk driver, you can save money with the following car insurance discounts, which vary by company and state:
- Automatic payments.
- Defensive driving course.
- Driver training course.
- Early signup or quote.
- Federal employee.
- Good driving.
- Good student.
- Group memberships and affiliations.
- Low mileage.
- Multiple vehicles.
- New car.
- Paperless billing.
- Safety equipment.
- Senior driver.
- Student away from home.
- Usage-based insurance.
What is a high-risk driver?
A high-risk driver is someone with a history of behavior that triggers auto insurance companies to raise rates or deny coverage entirely. High-risk drivers might not necessarily know they’ve been designated as such, according to Friedlander.
“You may not always know if you are being designated as ‘high risk’ until you receive your premium bill,” explained Friedlander. “At-fault accidents and moving violations typically generate a minimum three-year surcharge on your bill. Your insurance agent can also help confirm if you are being designated as a high-risk driver by auto insurers. If you are being denied coverage by standard auto insurers, that’s an obvious sign you are high-risk.”
Factors car insurance companies use to determine high-risk drivers
According to Friedlander, scenarios that might trigger high-risk driver status include:
- Being convicted of impaired driving (DUI/DWI/OWI) or reckless driving.
- Filing too many comprehensive (non-collision) claims or roadside assistance claims.
- Having a poor credit history.
- Having at-fault or no-fault accidents on your motor vehicle record.
- Having speeding tickets or other moving violations on your record.
Your age can also factor into your high-risk designation — teens and senior drivers tend to see higher auto insurance rates.
How to find the best auto insurance for high-risk drivers
If you are considered a high-risk driver, you may have to shop around to find car insurance coverage. Triple-I recommends working with a local auto insurance agent to help secure car insurance for your vehicle to ensure you meet your state’s liability insurance requirements and are financially protected from losses.
When shopping for high-risk car insurance, make sure you check out and ask about how many discounts the auto insurance company offers — you may be able to lower your rates even as a high-risk driver.
Car insurance companies typically factor in the last three years of your driving record when setting your rate, so there’s a chance your car insurance premiums will go down again if you keep your driving record clean.
High-risk car insurance FAQs
Yes, car insurance companies have the right to decline to offer coverage to applicants who do not meet the company’s criteria for underwriting, explained Friedlander.
“However, you must be offered coverage by your state’s residual market if you are unable to obtain coverage in the private market,” Friedlander added.
If you can’t find coverage after shopping around and comparing car insurance quotes, you may need to go through your state’s insurance. “There are several auto insurers that specialize in covering high-risk drivers,” said Friedlander. “If you can’t obtain coverage through them, seek coverage through your state’s residual market. It serves as an insurer of last resort for drivers who can’t obtain coverage through a voluntary market insurer.”
For a high-risk driver, “cheap car insurance” is relative. It’s unlikely a high-risk driver will be able to get car insurance at rates comparable to those with a clean record, but some companies are still cheaper than others. The best way to get cheap car insurance is to maintain a clean driving record, but high-risk drivers can still shop around, which is an important strategy for any consumer looking to save on auto insurance costs.