If you have been labeled as a high-risk driver, you might see a significant hike in your insurance premium. While it becomes challenging to find low-cost insurance coverage, it’s not impossible. Yes, you will need to do a little more research than the driver with a spotless record, but it will pay off in the long run. If you are searching for the best high-risk auto insurance, we are ready to help.
We’ve already done the research into the top providers of car insurance – looking into costs, coverage options, additional perks, and reputation of the companies. Let’s dive deeper and work on finding you a provider for your high-risk car insurance.
In this article:
What Is High-Risk Auto Insurance?
High-risk auto insurance is what drivers that pose a great risk to insurance companies must purchase. If providers deem you more liable than the average driver, you will pay a higher premium for coverage.
Interestingly, your high-risk designation comes not only from what you do behind the wheel, but from several other factors as well. Let’s take a look at what increases your risk level with car insurance companies.
Here are the major driving factors that will influence your car insurance premium.
If you’ve filed an insurance claim because of an accident you caused, your rates will go up – especially if there was a bodily injury payout. Filing a claim usually results in a 20- to 40-percent increase.
The more speeding violations you have, the higher your rates will go. The amount also varies based on the severity of the incident. Speeding tickets are seen as precursors to accidents.
High-level moving violations, such as reckless driving, can lead to about a 16-percent increase in your premiums.
There are many dangers associated with racing, which is why your insurance company will raise your premiums considerably if this is on your record. You’ll then have to purchase high-risk car insurance.
A DUI often results in property damage, bodily injury payouts, and even death benefits. This situation puts you into one of the highest risk categories for insurers. A DUI stays on your insurance record for three to ten years and will raise your rate about six percent after the first incident.
Not everything that changes your car insurance premium is a result of what happens in your vehicle. Several non-driving factors will raise a red flag with the provider, too. You may need to shop for high-risk car insurance if any of the following apply:
Insurance companies analyze your credit to determine the type of driver you are. About 92 percent of insurers consider credit scores when calculating premiums. Lower scores often indicate that the driver is more likely to file a claim than someone with better credit.
The younger you are, the more risk you bring to the provider. Teenage drivers are labeled as high-risk because of inexperience and a greater likelihood to file a claim. On the other hand, senior drivers are also seen as a high-risk, so premiums may increase as you grow older.
If you have gaps in your insurance coverage, you raise red flags with providers. Making sure coverage never lapses allows you to prove your responsibility to the companies and avoid having to purchase high-risk auto insurance.
Insurance is almost always priced based on zip code. Your location impacts rates because of traffic, accident rates, theft rates, and state-mandated coverage terms.
Use of Vehicle
Car insurance premiums go up based on how you use your vehicle. If you are driving for a rideshare organization or commercially, you are going to have higher rates, if the provider will even cover you at all.
Type of Vehicle
High-performance vehicles create an added risk for auto insurance companies. In addition, you may see an increase in rates if you drive an off-road vehicle or have high-priced components on the car.
What Are License Points?
The majority of states rely on a license point system to score your driving record. Each state has its own set of points, but every violation gets tied to a particular number. These points remain on your driving record for a determined period of time. If you get too many points, you can lose your license.
While most insurance companies don’t usually look at the points directly, your Motor Vehicle Report will illustrate all of the tickets, moving violations, and infractions against you. Providers use this information to help determine your premium cost.
How Much Does High-Risk Insurance Cost?
Because average car insurance prices vary based on so many factors, it’s challenging to specify what someone might pay for a high-risk policy. If you look at the averages for your location, you can determine an effective estimate by increasing that rate based on the above criteria. Overall, the best way to get the most accurate information is to get insurance quotes from various companies.
The Best Company For High-Risk Car Insurance
In your search for high-risk auto insurance, we recommend getting quotes from these top providers. Several offer usage-based policies that can result in a lower premium if you don’t drive much, as well as accident forgiveness and new car replacement in the event that yours is damaged beyond repair.
While USAA won’t cover everyone, you can find some of the lowest rates if you qualify. USAA is designed specifically for military personnel and their families. Not only can you get decent rates with poor credit, but the provider also covers young drivers. If you have a teenage driver in your home, this might be your best option.
Some additional perks offered by USAA include:
Rental car coverage
Car Replacement Assistance (CRA)
Filing a claim is simple with the USAA mobile app. While no one wants to be in a situation where submitting a claim is necessary, it’s helpful to know that you shouldn’t have trouble if an accident occurs.
Low rates for high-risk drivers
Only available to military members and their families
High customer satisfaction scores
Might not cover all high-risk driving records
Superior coverage options for young drivers
USAA is also known for customer satisfaction. In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study and the claims satisfaction survey noted above, USAA was the highest-scoring provider (although not included in the final results due to the exclusive nature of USAA insurance.
Our best overall pick: Offers great customer service to military members and their families.
Geico High-Risk Auto Insurance
If you want your high-risk auto insurance premiums to remain at a minimum after an incident, it might serve you well to check out the rates from Geico. The company provides some of the lowest rates of the industry’s most popular providers and excels at customer service. You also get some great added benefits with Geico, including:
Mechanical breakdown coverage
Not only does Geico accept drivers with a variety of records, but the company also has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This score isn’t typical in the insurance industry and further proves that Geico does what it says it will. If there are complaints, Geico attempts to deal with the customers promptly and ensure satisfaction whenever possible.
Good rates for drivers with bad credit
Not as many local agents as some providers
Lots of added benefits
Easy quotes process
Looking at both of the J.D. Power studies discussed above, we see that Geico is regularly regarded as one of the top insurance providers.
Best for those ineligible for USAA: Offers competitive pricing and great coverage.
Progressive High-Risk Auto Insurance
No one can deny that Progressive has some exceptional ad campaigns that help to increase brand recognition, but how good are the policies and customer service? Thankfully, Progressive lives up to its reputation with a multitude of offerings and an easy quotes process. In fact, you can see rates from competitors at the same time when you use the price comparison tool on Progressive’s website.
In addition, the company provides several benefits, including:
Rental car reimbursement
If you have bad credit or have had a moving violation, you’ll find some of the lowest prices through Progressive. The company has an extensive list of available discounts you might qualify for in spite of your age or driving history.
Lots of coverage options
Customer satisfaction score slightly lower than other providers
Easy to get a quote quickly
Unique price comparison tool
While Progressive doesn’t come close to failing in the customer service department, the provider doesn’t rank as highly as USAA and Geico. Still, we feel confident recommending Progressive for high-risk auto insurance.
Offers a number of ways to get a discount, including the Snapshot tool or bundle options.
What Are SR-22s?
The SR-22 certification is filed with your state and isn’t an insurance type. An SR-22 certificate assures that the person named carries the minimum state-mandated car insurance. Your insurance company provides this certificate to the state to guarantee that you have financial coverage for an accident.
Most people that are required to have an SR-22 are drivers with a DUI on their record, but it can also be required for the following reasons:
Major alcohol violation
Some moving violations, such as negligent or reckless driving
Numerous traffic incidents in a short time
Previously driving without insurance
Previously involved in an accident without insurance
Reinstated license after suspension or revocation
Most companies charge a one-time fee for an SR-22, so this shouldn’t increase your rate directly.
Save Money On High-Risk Car Insurance
If you have violations on your driving record or poor credit history, there are still steps you can take to lower your premium for high-risk auto insurance.
Avoid filing claims: Every time you file a claim, you receive a penalty with the insurance company. Depending on how much the damage costs, you might end up paying more over the next few years through the premium in comparison to simply paying for the damages yourself. It’s often wise to keep savings aside for these unforeseen circumstances.
Take a driving course: If you take a course before the insurance company receives a report of your speeding ticket or moving violation, you might temporarily lower rates. Most insurance companies won’t count this discount once the ticket is reported, so that’s something to keep in mind when you fall into the high-risk auto insurance category.
Boost your credit score: Car insurance premiums go down significantly just for having good credit. Aside from that, you get better financing rates for vehicles, homes, and everything else you purchase. Work on improving your credit score by making payments on time, and you will end up with more money in your pocket.
Shop after the violations expire: If you know when violations will be removed from your record, you know when to contact insurance companies. Even though your policy probably auto-renews at a particular time, you can ask for your insurance company to re-evaluate your rate early. An insurance company isn’t going to do this automatically, so don’t forget to ask so you can avoid paying for high-risk auto insurance again.
Choose a different vehicle: While everyone should be conscious of their choices in vehicles, those with high-risk insurance need to think about it even more. Some cars are notoriously cheap to insure, so you can lower your rates by considering a particular model. It might help to drive a minivan or family-geared SUV for now.
Take a break from the car: If you are going to pay too much for car insurance, maybe you should consider ditching the vehicle for a while. You can always use a rideshare service, bicycle, or public transportation. This decision is a reasonable solution if you can’t afford premiums and have no other options.
Prevention Is The Best Way To Avoid High Rates
If you don’t want to pay too much for auto insurance, you should think about the following before you find yourself in trouble:
Maintain a good credit score
Drive a car that is cheap to insure
Take defensive driving courses
Drive the speed limit
Avoid filing insurance claims in some situations
Never drink and drive
For those who have already been designated high-risk, the best way to find the most affordable high-risk auto insurance is to shop around. Not every company charges for violations the same way, so it helps to know what your options are. We recommend getting quotes from several top providers to see who can offer you the best coverage at the lowest rate.
After 70 years in Monterey County, 87-year-old Mary Martinez moved in the middle of a pandemic, evicted from her modest one-bedroom, second-floor apartment at 1118 Parkside St. in north Salinas.
According to her former landlord, Martinez was evicted because she allowed a “violent man” to live with her, violating the conditions of her lease. Martinez said the man is her epileptic nephew.
Advocates say that while evictions like Martinez’s are rarer during the pandemic, landlords are feeling the financial squeeze. Some have sold rental properties to make up for lack of income. That can leave renters out in the cold when their new landlord raises the rent by hundreds of dollars or requires all renters move out before they take over the building.
“I don’t want to leave”
Nearly half the housing units in Monterey County are renter-occupied and of those renters, about half pay 35% or more of their monthly income in rental costs, according to American Community Survey (ACS).
The same data shows people of color tend to be renters rather than homeowners. People ACS data identified as Hispanic, Latino or Mexican –– such as Martinez –– make up the largest body of renters in the county.
Martinez does not deny violating her lease agreement but said her landlord was looking for an excuse to kick her out since March when he bought her building.
She also said she believed her status as a Section 8 recipient made her a target, an assertion her landlord denied.
According to Martinez, he soured on her after her epileptic nephew suffered a seizure in the bathroom, leaving emergency crews to break down the locked door. Martinez paid about $70 to replace the door, she said
In June, she received a 90-day notice to evict.
“I don’t want to leave,” Martinez said through tears during a July interview. Her voice quavered. She sat on her living room couch, her shoulders slumped.
In August, she closed the door to apartment 10 behind her for the last time.
“Keep the house housed”
At the state level, Assembly Bill 3088, co-authored by California State Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), keeps renters facing hardship due to COVID-19 in their homes.
The legislation, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in August, states tenants who have provided qualifying declarations of hardship can’t be evicted before Feb. 1, 2021.
Monterey County, like other counties, passed a similar moratorium early in the pandemic, extending it multiple times to keep it alive until the state legislature could find a solution.
Martinez is not the only person to be evicted or lose their housing during the pandemic. The moratoriums dealt with eviction for nonpayment of rent, not of someone in violation of their lease, as Martinez was. Others saw their landlords sell to new owners who raised the rent an untenable amount.
Far fewer people have been evicted during the pandemic than anticipated, said Joel Hernández Laguna, the lead organizer for Center for Community Advocacy’s (CCA). But in recent months, CCA received a higher-than-usual number of calls about people being forced out of their homes due to rent increases.
“You have to see the other point of view,” said Hernández Laguna, who has worked for CCA for almost nine years. “Some landlords are struggling to make payments on properties they rent out.”
He suspects that resulted in higher property turnover than normal. New owners often stipulate in the purchase contract that all tenants must move out upon sale of the property, or raise the rents so much the current tenants can’t stay, Hernández Laguna said.
“Landlords aren’t able to evict people with the current ordinances so instead are (increasing) the rent,” he said. “Which is another way of pushing them out indirectly.”
Matt Huerta, Director of housing at the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), said housing stakeholders are raising the issue of eviction and housing in MBEP group discussions.
“Our overarching message has been to keep the housed housed,” Huerta said. “Unless it’s a health and safety problem – in terms of the tenant creating a health and safety problem – everyone should be motivated to prevent a large health and safety problem to prevent evictions that will lead to crowded housing and homelessness.”
Phyllis Katz, directing attorney at California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) of Monterey County, said while CRLA had not seen any eviction cases during the pandemic, an eviction could lead to the same – or worse – consequences for someone.
“People acquire bad credit by being evicted,” Katz said in an email.
That bad credit can follow renters and can result in their wages being garnished to pay off debts or keep them from renting on their own. The cost of applying to apartments can be prohibitive, too.
“It costs $30-$50 for each application for housing,” Katz said. “People stay with relatives if they can, or in their car, if they can’t until they find housing.”
That can put people at risk, Katz noted.
“Families who go live in crowded conditions with another family are more prone to contracting COVID-19, and suffering illness as a result,” he said.
Health experts say this creates a prime environment for the coronavirus to spread throughout a household.
A June analysis by The Californian and CalMatters showed the hardest-hit neighborhoods had three times the rate of overcrowding and twice the rate of poverty as the neighborhoods that suffered the least. The neighborhoods with the most infections are disproportionately populated by people of color.
“People end up in that situation because they don’t want to become homeless,” Hernández Laguna said. “Families are willing to share an apartment complex or bring someone else into their home to pay the rent. One of the consequences of being evicted is having to overshare a property.”
Personal and financial loss
At first glance, you wouldn’t know Martinez is in the latter half of her ninth decade.
Before the pandemic, she walked to church almost every day for services. When she lived in Salinas, she’d walk to a nearby grocery store to purchase food, and carried it home herself, two blocks and up a flight of stairs.
Martinez’s age puts her at a higher risk of complications from COVID-19, should she contract the virus.
An eviction increases the odds she might encounter the virus, as she is no longer able to safely isolate herself, and moved three times in fewer than two months. Her sisters, who hosted Martinez following her eviction, are also at increased risk. Both women are in their 70s.
Martinez eventually moved to Pueblo, Colo. to stay with her younger sister, Esther, 76.
In the midst of all this, Martinez is struggling with the loss of her nephew, Greg Palacios.
Palacios was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his seizure in Martinez’s bathroom. He moved into hospice care and died over the summer.
Martinez cried as she talked about his death. She was unable to visit him while he was in care hospice due to pandemic-induced restrictions on visitors.
Martinez is wrestling with financial concerns as well.
She can’t afford a new apartment without the six weeks’ worth of rent, she told The Californian. She has little in the way of savings – she never married and worked mainly as a babysitter and a housekeeper.
While she hopes to keep her Section 8 status, she doesn’t know how moving out of state will impact her.
Furthermore, Martinez said she did not receive her deposit back when she moved out and was owed two weeks’ rent.
When reached by phone, her landlord introduced himself as “Pete.” He confirmed he had been Martinez’s landlord, but refused multiple times to give his last name, or say how long he had owned the property.
According to Monterey County Assessor records, 1118 Parkside St., the complex where Martinez used to live, was purchased by Ace Organic in March of 2020, which is headquartered in Salinas. An LLC-12 Statement of Information filed with the Secretary of State shows Peter Quinlan King as the owner of Ace Organic.
King told The Californian he worked in conjunction with the Housing Authority to evict Martinez, informing them on “everything, step by step.” He also pointed out that he had multiple Section 8 tenants on the premises.
“Mary had a violent and unauthorized tenant living there, so that was cause for eviction,” King said when reached for comment.
According to Monterey attorney David Brown, who handles civil matters between landlords and tenants, if Palacios had been on the lease with Martinez, it likely would have been unlawful to evict them due to his seizure.
As Martinez paid for the damage done to the door, Brown said, that might have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“I don’t know for sure but…assuming that was the landlord’s motivation, yeah, that would probably violate the ADA,” Brown said.
King declined to comment further on Martinez’s eviction, or if he planned to return her deposit.
Although Martinez reached out to the Housing Authority for help and spoke regularly with her caseworker, she found herself confused as to whether she truly had to move out, or if her eviction notice was just a warning.
She moved out in August but still had doubts at the time of her departure.
Hernández Laguna urged people facing eviction or unanticipated rent increases to reach out to his organization or CRLA for help.
“Seek help,” he said. “There are protections out there for families.”
In Pueblo, Martinez found a new home with her sister Esther, though she doesn’t like the cold that’s begun to settle in for the Colorado winter.
Esther says she hopes Martinez will stay with her. Pueblo had a low rate of COVID-19 compared to the rest of Colorado, but in recent weeks has seen cases rise. Still, Esther said she feels she and Mary are safe from the virus there.
“I think Mary’s going to stay here,” said Esther. “We’ll go to California to visit.”
Kate Cimini is a reporter with The Salinas Californian. This article is part of The California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequality and economic survival in California.
ATLANTA _ Many Black entrepreneurs struggle to get bank loans and professional help to launch new businesses. A new program aims to remove those stumbling blocks.
An Atlanta nonprofit and another business have committed $150 million to the 1 Million Black Businesses effort, which will make loans and provide financial and business advice to Black-owned startups and established small businesses. Atlanta-based nonprofit Operation Hope, which helps consumers improve credit scores, is kicking in $20 million, and Shopify, the online e-commerce is adding another $130 million for the loans and website-hosting services.
Other services firms providing expertise or help include Aprio, an Atlanta-based accounting firm, and First Horizon Bank.
It’s a package of products that many Black entrepreneurs couldn’t get through a bank or credit union, said John Hope Bryant, CEO of Operation Hope.
“A bank won’t lend you money unless you can prove that you don’t need it,” Bryant said. “That’s especially true with minority-owned small businesses.”
Small businesses with Black owners were half as likely to obtain business loans as whites, according to a Federal Reserve survey published earlier this year.
The initiative is the latest effort to help Black consumers and businesses enter the financial mainstream. Earlier this month, a group that includes rapper Killer Mike opened a digital bank aimed at Black and Latino consumers.
Banks and credit unions have tried for years to help Black consumers open checking and savings accounts. The efforts helped, as the number of U.S. households without bank accounts fell to 5.4% in 2019 from 6.5% in 2017, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Monday.
Consumers who own checking and savings accounts typically have access loans with better rates and a wider variety of financial services.
The federal government’s $660 billion loan initiative for businesses hit by COVID-19, the Paycheck Protection Program, also helped few Black-owned businesses, Bryant said. PPP loans were based on a company’s number of employees and its rent obligations. many Black-owned small businesses typically didn’t have enough workers to qualify and are based out of the owner’s residence.
Bryant said a bad credit history may not prevent applicants from receiving a loan.
He hopes more companies will contribute services such as insurance advice or software typically available only to well-established businesses.
Bryant noted that 1MBB is not a charitable organization, as participating companies like Shopify will likely get a pipeline of new business customers through the program.
“This is not pure philanthropy,” he said. “Shopify believes that Black-owned businesses are good businesses if they’re properly supported.”
The final days of October offer a chance to take advantage of outstanding model year-end deals. Most offers end November 2, which means there isn’t much time left to enjoy this month’s best lease deals and deepest new car discounts. We even found incentives that can help those with bad credit buy a new or used car.
Why are small cars bad to lease? Even though smaller cars typically come with lower price tags, that isn’t always the case when leasing. A mix of lower discounts, worse residual values, and smaller discounts can actually make a Nissan Altima cheaper than a Versa despite having an almost $10,000 difference in MSRP.
Shorter-mileage leases. More brands are offering shorter mileage allowances on car leases. Although this is typically used to offer consumers more flexibility, we’ve found cases in which you can end up getting less for your money. If you don’t read all the fine print, this could make comparison-shopping difficult.
$0 down leases. If you’re adamant about now putting down any money on a lease, you’ll love Sign & Drive leases. In addition to requiring no money down, $0 down lease deals can cover your first month’s payment. Even hot sellers like the Honda CR-V Hybrid offer $0 down and as little as $330/month on a lease.