Best High-Risk Auto Insurance Companies

The General tops our list for the best insurers for high-risk drivers

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High-risk car insurance is a type of auto insurance that covers situations in which the insurer perceives there is a greater-than-average likelihood of a claim or when the perceived amount that might be paid out in claims is higher than normal. 

Reasons for this include multiple accidents, infractions, and driving-under-the-influence violations (DUIs), as well as your payment history, age, or the value, use, or features of your car.

If you've been denied coverage, call your insurance company to discuss your specific situation. Although many high-risk insurers cover most of these circumstances, some do it better than others. Here’s our list of the car insurance companies that are the best for coverage in different high-risk circumstances.

We teamed up with MediaAlpha to bring you the following car insurance offers. Below, you'll find more details on our picks for the best options for high-risk drivers.

Best High-Risk Auto Insurance Companies of 2022

Best High-Risk Auto Insurance Companies
Best High-Risk Auto Insurance Companies

Best Overall : The General


Why We Picked It

The General is our pick for the best high-risk insurer for basic coverage because it can insure almost any type of high-risk driver. Whether you have bad credit, a history of accidents, traffic violations, or have been uninsured, it probably can help. Plus, the company has local agents who can help you with your specific issues.

The company offers convenient payment options with low down payments. The General is best if you are looking for basic or minimum insurance coverage, even though coverage options are limited with very little information online.

Company Overview

 The General is an insurance agency, underwriting policies through three companies, including The General Automobile Insurance Co. You can work with a local agent to help find the best coverage, or you can get a quote online. 

AM Best, a ratings agency that rates the financial stability of insurers, gave The General an A (Excellent) rating.

Even so, The General has experienced inconsistent complaint trends among its automobile insurance customers. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) gave the company a complaint index score of 1.68 averaged over three years. A score of 1.00 means a company has an average number of complaints for a company of its size, so The General received many more complaints than expected.

Be aware that the General agency also underwrites insurance through two other insurance divisions (Permanent General Assurance Corp. and the Permanent General Assurance Corp. of Ohio), both of which have extremely high incidents of complaints through the NAIC. So when you get your insurance policy, be clear on which of the General agency companies will be underwriting it.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Coverage available to high-risk drivers

  • Fast online quotes and policy management with an app

  • Local agents can help with your policy

Cons
  • High level of customer complaints

  • Low maximum coverage limits

  • Few coverage perks or options

Best Rates After a DUI : State Farm


State farm

 State farm

Why We Picked It

If you're looking to get your driving record back on track after being charged with driving under the influence, State Farm is a good choice. We researched pricing online and found State Farm's quotes came in lower than most standard insurers for DUI and multiple infractions.

State Farm also allows high-risk drivers to recover from higher costs by participating in its Drive Safe & Save program in which it uses an app to monitor safe driving habits to potentially lower your premiums by as much as 30%.

Company Overview

State Farm is the largest car insurer in the U.S. in terms of market share.

It's also a financially stable company. Ratings agency AM Best gave the insurer a financial stability rating of A++ (Superior), which means State Farm is in a superior position to meet its financial obligations, including paying on claims.

The insurer also has good results for customer and claims satisfaction in independent studies.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lowest premiums for drivers with a DUI

  • Drive Safe & Save program can help high-risk drivers save

  • Few complaints

  • Various opportunities to save on insurance costs for safe driving habits or safe car features


Cons
  • Customers rate the digital experience below average

  • Discounts from the Drive Safe & Save program can take up to six months if you exhibit safe driving habits

  • Pressure to work with a local agent

Best Rates After a Traffic Violation : GEICO


Why We Picked It

GEICO may offer high-risk drivers better prices than some of its competitors that specialize in this category.

We ran price samples with GEICO for high-risk and average-risk drivers. We deliberately left out information to allow a credit-based insurance score, which means pricing was not optimized for a good credit score. Risk-based rates were very reasonable compared with other insurers. We also saw good prices for young drivers. GEICO consistently offered good rates for higher-risk drivers from other online sources that compare insurance rates. 

Company Overview

GEICO was the top-scoring insurer in the J.D. Power 2020 Insurance Shopping Study and in the J.D. Power Digital Customer Experience Study in both 2020 and 2021, which makes it a great pick if you like to use an app to manage your insurance or get quotes.  

The insurer can also provide SR-22 filings. This is a form filed with your state to show that you are meeting its minimum auto liability insurance requirements if you had a DUI or reckless-driving charge.

Additionally, if you have a classic car or replica, GEICO also has a partnership with American Modern Insurance Group to provide coverage for such vehicles.

In general, GEICO appears well-equipped for a range of high-risk driver scenarios, so it is our pick for Runner-up Best Overall. If you think you need high-risk insurance, be sure to check GEICO’s rates before going to a specialized high-risk insurer. 

It carries a financial strength rating of A++ (Superior) from AM Best. This means the ratings agency believes GEICO is in a superior position to meet its financial obligations, including paying claims. It also ranks highly for customer and claims satisfaction in independent studies. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Easy online quotes with good pricing for high-risk drivers

  • Few customer complaints 

  • Safe driver discounts via tracking device

  • SR-22 or FR-44 forms available

Cons
  • No gap insurance

  • Safe driving DriveEasy program not available in all states

Best for Lowering Costs : Progressive


Why We Picked It

Progressive, the third largest car insurer in the U.S., has a great online quoting tool that shows you comparative rates from other insurers and lets you name your price. The online quote provides helpful suggestions on the kind of coverage you can expect for the price you’ve cited.

If you're a high-risk driver, Progressive offers a plan to help you lower your rates by monitoring your driving habits. Its Snapshot safe driver program can help lower your insurance cost, something that can be particularly helpful to high-risk drivers who are looking to turn their driving habits around and save on premiums.

We chose Progressive as best for lowering costs because of the features it offers to help customize your price by getting a quote yourself online or with an agent’s help.

Company Overview

Progressive offers flexible pricing options that can help drivers save on their premiums based on the amount of coverage they need.

Although its online quoting tool is impressive, Progressive’s customer service satisfaction rankings fall below average in some regions while they are about average in others. Its complaint trends with state regulators were somewhat worse than average in both 2018 and 2019. 

Depending on how you get your quote, Progressive’s insurance cost will vary. It uses different pricing for agents, brokers, and online sales because of differences in expenses among these sales methods.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Progressive can offer an SR-22

  • Snapshot safe driver program saves customers an average of $146 a year

  • Multiple quotes available online to help you find the best price

  • Diminishing deductible for every six months you don’t have a claim

Cons
  • Rates vary depending on the way in which you purchase your car insurance

  • Inconsistent customer service and claims satisfaction rankings

Questions & Answers

What Is High-Risk Auto Insurance?

High-risk auto insurance refers to any policy an insurance company perceives as having the potential to carry higher-than-average payouts due to claims. Insurance companies base premiums on how likely they think it is they will have to pay claims, and in doing so, how much they expect to pay out. 

One of the tools for determining car insurance rates is risk classification factors, such as driving history. You might be considered a high-risk driver if you fit any of the below criteria:

  • New drivers and, for some insurers, young drivers
  • Those without prior insurance
  • People who have had one or more car accidents 
  • Drivers who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • Drivers with multiple traffic violations
  • Someone who has been required by a state to file an SR-22
  • People who have a below-average credit history
  • People with modified or high-value cars

How Do I Get High-Risk Auto Insurance?

The best way to get high-risk car insurance is to shop around for quotes with a few different insurance companies before you make a decision. Once you have quotes, be sure to speak to insurance professionals about your situation.

How Can I Lower the Cost of My High-Risk Auto Insurance?

You can take a variety of approaches to lower the cost of your car insurance depending upon your circumstances.

  • Your car’s value: Consider installing aftermarket anti-theft devices. Many insurers offer discounts for these devices. But be sure to ask your insurance company which one yields the greatest discounts.
  • Buying a new car: Be sure to check the cost of the model’s car insurance before you purchase it. Car insurance premiums depend upon the car’s risk profile. Cars with more expensive parts, higher engine capacity, or are at risk for theft, especially in your zip code, will add to your insurance cost. Cars with safety features may lower the cost of your insurance.
  • Multiple accidents: Shop around for rates with different insurers every renewal term. Some insurers use the last five years of driving history to determine the rate; others use the last three years. And not all insurers penalize at-fault accidents the same way.
  • Insurer discounts: You can lower your cost by taking defensive driving courses or enrolling in a safe driver program that tracks data about your driving habits. But check with your provider to see what your options are.
  • Low credit score: Take measures to get your credit score back on track. You don't need to pay off all your credit cards to improve your credit score. Paying your bill before it's past due or lowering your average card balance can help. If your credit score is low due to a special circumstance, like a divorce, medical crisis, temporary unemployment, or death in the family, let your insurance company know. Some make exceptions, and this could save you some money.
  • Senior drivers: Some companies consider drivers over age 65 higher risk. Defensive driving courses and seeking out insurers that have better rates or group plans for seniors could help save you some cash.
  • Membership associations and your employer: Sometimes, membership plans will be more lenient because you are affiliated with a group.

What If I Can’t Find Insurance?

If you try to get quotes and are unable to find insurance because of your high-risk classification, ask insurance companies that deny coverage why they are doing so. This will help you learn about the best way to find coverage elsewhere. 

If it is due to past claims, you can ask for a letter of claims experience, so you will have all the details you need to get quotes elsewhere. You can also contact your state insurance commissioner’s office to help you find insurance. States have systems to guarantee that auto insurance is available to those who cannot obtain it in the private market. As part of this, you could be assigned by your state to an “assigned risk plan” at a private insurer, rather than choosing your insurer, or you could try a government-run insurance program.

How We Chose the Best High-Risk Auto Insurance Companies

To select the best high-risk car insurance companies, we reviewed which insurers are able to offer coverage in each high-risk circumstance, including:

  • Insuring high-risk drivers or specialty cars
  • Giving better rates for poor to bad credit
  • Offering an SR-22

Because financial stability is an important aspect of an insurance company’s being able to meet its financial obligations, we checked financial strength rankings for all the insurers, making sure they ranged from Excellent to Superior, as ranked by AM Best. 

We reviewed the car insurance prices on the companies’ websites, through online quotes, and in independent auto insurance rate studies to identify the top options in the high-risk car insurance categories. We also looked at customer complaints for specialty insurers and the top car insurers in the U.S. by region and nationally as filed with the NAIC, as well as standings in four different car insurance studies by J.D. Power, which ranked overall customer satisfaction, claims satisfaction insurance shopping experience, and digital customer experience. 

Although our regular car insurance company reviews focus on identifying companies with a low complaints ratio through state regulators in the NAIC databases, we found that most specialized car insurers in the high-risk market had average to extremely high levels of complaints filed in the past three years; therefore, we looked for the companies with the best track records in the category.