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Insurance

Have a bad driving record? Here are the best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers

These insurance companies offer competitive rates to those with at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, and DUI offenses.

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If you're categorized as a high-risk driver by your car insurance company, you'll likely pay more than the average driver.

There are several reasons why you could be considered a high-risk driver. It may be because of your driving record — think having a history of tickets, accidents or DUI/DWI convictions. Or it may be because of certain characteristics, such as if you're a young or inexperienced driver or have poor credit.

While you may pay higher rates for coverage with one or more of these factors on your record, that doesn't mean that you can't still get the best possible price for coverage based on your situation. Shopping around for coverage, working on your credit score and bundling your insurance policies could help bring down the premium, or the price you pay for coverage. (See our methodology to see how we choose the car insurance companies for high-risk drivers.)

Best car insurance for high-risk drivers

Best overall

State Farm Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

    Yes

  • Policy highlights

    State farm is one of the largest auto insurers based on market share and has an excellent reputation for customer satisfaction. It offers 13 discounts, including ones for safe driving and young drivers.

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • High customer satisfaction
  • Largest car insurance company in the U.S.
  • Accident forgiveness for good drivers

Cons

  • High NAIC complaint index score 
  • Doesn’t offer gap insurance

State Farm is a top pick for high-risk drivers, and it was also our top pick for car insurance overall for customer satisfaction. It scores at the top of widely available car insurance companies by JD Power for customer satisfaction and offers some of the most affordable rates for people with at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs or DWIs. It also enjoys an A++ rating from AM Best, indicating superior financial health. Best of all, coverage is offered in all 50 states.

Average full-coverage premium after an at-fault accident: $1,769

Average full-coverage premium after one speeding ticket: $1,606

Average full-coverage premium after a DUI or DWI: $2,293

Learn more: Here's why we voted State Farm the best auto insurance company for customer satisfaction

Best for at-fault accidents

Erie Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

    Yes

  • Policy highlights

    Erie Insurance offers auto insurance for many different situations and affordable premiums. Several different coverages allow you to customize your policy.


Terms apply.

Pros

  • Offers affordable premiums
  • Below average NAIC complaint index

Cons

  • Only available in 12 states and Washington, D.C.

Erie offers some of the lowest premiums for several high-risk situations, including for people with at-fault accidents. The one major drawback is that it's only available in 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Average full-coverage premium after an at-fault accident: $1,562

Best for speeding tickets

Geico Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

    Yes

  • Policy highlights

    Geico coverage and services are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and there are 16 different types of discounts available. In addition to the standard coverage options, Geico offers various optional add-ons, such as emergency roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and mechanical breakdown insurance.

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • Lowest average rates
  • Inclusive coverage options, including high-risk drivers
  • Available nationwide

Cons

  • High premiums for high-risk drivers 
  • Fewer branches for in-person services

Insurance companies see speeding tickets as serious offenses, and this generally is factored into the price you'll pay for car insurance coverage. Of the insurance companies we compared, Geico offers the lowest price for those with one speeding ticket offense. It also offers a range of other insurance products, including homeowners insurance and renters insurance, that make it easy to bundle and save on coverage.

Average full-coverage premium after one speeding ticket: $1,586

Best for DUI or DWI

Progressive Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

    Yes

  • Policy highlights

    Progressive offers a number of lines of insurance to allow for bundling, and convenient tools to help you keep your coverage in your budget.

  • Terms apply.

Pros

  • Quotes available online
  • Available in all 50 states

Cons

  • Above average NAIC complaint index score

A DUI (also called a DWI in some states) is a serious offense. But, drivers with this on their record will still be able to get coverage from insurers. Progressive offers coverage for this situation, though premiums are much higher after this offense than for something like a speeding ticket.

Average full-coverage premium after a DUI or DWI: $2,049

Learn more: Progressive: A top auto insurance provider for high-risk drivers

Best for military members and veterans

USAA Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

    Yes

  • Policy highlights

    USAA's auto insurance is available in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and some international locations. In addition to low rates and coverage options for unique circumstances, such as for active-duty members, customers have access to an intuitive mobile app.

Terms apply.

Pros

  • Lowest average premium for minimum coverage 
  • Highest customer satisfaction ranking
  • Superior discounts for military members

Cons

  • Only available to military members, veterans and their immediate family members

USAA offers competitive rates for those who have at-fault accidents and speeding tickets on their records. The company is also rated very highly for customer satisfaction. However, this insurer only provides coverage to those who have a military affiliation, including military members, veterans and their immediate family members.

Average full-coverage premium after an at-fault accident: $1,742

Average full-coverage premium after one speeding ticket: $1,464

Average full-coverage premium after a DUI or DWI: $2,313

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FAQs

Who is considered a high-risk driver?

High-risk drivers are those who have one or more of the following on their records:

  • A previous at-fault accident
  • A speeding ticket
  • A DUI or DWI
  • An SR-22 or FR-44, a form that proves insurance coverage, filed with their state insurance office
  • A large number of points on your license
  • A low credit score

It's worth noting that there's no industry standard for what's considered high-risk. And, while one driver might be considered high-risk to one insurance company, they may not be at another insurance company.

What's the best car insurance for high-risk drivers?

Depending on your situation, you'll want to shop around for coverage. Each car insurance company considers your risks differently and will price your car insurance premium accordingly. Getting quotes from several different car insurance companies will help you make sure you're paying the right price for the coverage you need.

How long are you considered a high-risk driver?

Generally, factors like at-fault accidents and speeding tickets affect your insurance for three to five years. Crashes that involve DUIs or reckless driving could stay on your record for life. However, the length of time these things ultimately stay on your record depends on the state where you live.

How can I lower my premium as a high-risk driver?

While you may not be able to get a ticket, DUI, or at-fault accident off your record, you can take steps to lower the price you'll pay.

Taking a defensive driving course could help to show insurers you're taking steps to become a better driver, and they could lower your premium because of it.

Working on your credit score can help lower the price you'll pay for car insurance. In some states, your credit score can be used as a factor to determine how much you'll pay for insurance. The higher your credit score, the less a car insurance company will charge you for coverage.

Bundling your coverage with a home, condo or renters insurance policy could help you save money as well. Some insurers offer discounts for keeping your insurance policies in one place.

Lastly, getting quotes from several companies and comparing them can help you make sure you get the best possible deal for you. You'll want to pay attention to more than just the price, however. Look closely at the amount of coverage offered, and choose the policy that offers the highest coverage limits for the smallest premium.

What if I'm denied coverage as a high-risk driver?

If you're denied auto insurance coverage from one insurer, it's worth checking with another. Each company looks at drivers differently when deciding whether to cover them and how much to charge. An insurance agent can also help you find coverage that fits your needs and driving record.

If you're still having trouble getting covered, there are options. Looking into a state-assigned risk pool might be one way to get insurance as a high-risk driver. These pools can help you be sure you'll get coverage, though the price might be higher than you could get on your own.

Bottom line

If you have a speeding ticket, an at-fault accident or a DUI on your driving record, it's still possible to get coverage. To make your coverage more affordable, do your research and compare several quotes, look for bundling opportunities and work on your credit score.

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every car insurance review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of insurance productsWhile CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics. See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best car insurance for high-risk drivers.

Our methodology

To find the best insurance companies for high-risk drivers, CNBC Select looked at dozens of insurers offering coverage to high-risk drivers.

When selecting and ranking these companies, we focused on the average premium data from Bankrate, since the cost of insurance as a high-risk driver is often higher than for the average driver. Quoted premiums were based on a 40-year-old with an otherwise clean driving record and a 2020 Toyota Camry, commuting five days a week for a total of 12,000 miles, and including the following coverage:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

We also considered average customer satisfaction ratings from JD Power, and financial strength ratings from AM Best.

After reviewing these factors, we sorted recommendations based on three common infractions, and the best overall and for those with military affiliations.

Note that the premiums and policy structures advertised for car insurance companies are subject to fluctuate in accordance with the company's policies.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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