Are you struggling to find car insurance as a high-risk driver? If you’ve been labeled a high-risk driver (because of a serious traffic violation or several minor violations), you might not immediately know it, but you will definitely see a hike in your insurance premiums.
But before you purchase any policy, be sure to comparison shop and talk to your friends and neighbors about their experiences in the insurance market. It’s also a good idea to look into the financial strength and complaint ratios of the companies you’re considering. Companies with financial strength are able to pay out claims on time, meaning you’re sure that you’ll actually receive the coverage you’ve paid for in the event that you need to use it. Companies with a low complaint ratio are hard to find in the high-risk insurance market, but not impossible, and it’s worth trying to find a company that provides a good mix of value and cost.
We teamed up with QuinStreet to help you get quotes from the following insurers. Below the table, you'll find our list of the best insurance companies for drivers with tickets or accidents on their record, so you can get back on the road as quickly and safely as possible.
Best High-Risk Auto Insurance Companies of 2020
- Best Overall: Bristol West
- Runner-Up, Best Overall: Allstate
- Best for Rebuilding Your Driving Record: State Farm
- Best for The Accident-Prone: Progressive
- Best for Clear & Upfront Costs: Geico
- Best for Those Rejected by Other Companies: Titan
- Best Bare Minimum: The General
- Best When You Need An SR-22: Acceptance Insurance
Available in most states, Bristol West is a leader in liability coverage for high-risk drivers. The company typically has fewer than average complaints and has great financial standing, and offers low down payment options and flexible payment plans. As a subsidiary of Farmers Insurance, it is only sold through Farmers Insurance agents rather than directly to consumers.
Bristol West's low down payment option can be very helpful. Having a low down payment can mean the difference between buying insurance and driving without. The most common reasons that individuals are labeled as high-risk drivers include serious violations such as driving under the influence, causing a hit-and-run accident, acquiring a ton of speeding tickets or failing to purchase car insurance before getting behind the wheel. But if you are a very young or old driver, live in a very dense urban area, or drive an older vehicle, you might also find yourself being labeled as an insurance risk.
On top of having above-average financials and fewer than the average number of complaints, Allstate also offers a slew of incentives that can help you get your driving record back on track – and provides financial incentives for doing so. Every six months you drive accident-free, you’ll receive a check in the mail from Allstate. For each year with no moving violations, you’ll get an additional $100 off of your collision deductible. If you’re willing to install the company’s Drivewise app, you’ll get up to 25 percent off for every six months you drive safely.
If you do happen to get into an accident, you can send photos and videos instead of in-person inspections for filing a claim, and the company guarantees claim satisfaction. They also offer accident forgiveness for your first accident and will even replace your car if you total it within the first two years that you purchase it.
Along with offering reasonably-priced plans, State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save program tracks you in real-time for a myriad of safe-driving factors as simple as accelerating smoothly and braking properly. And you can get very steep discounts if State Farm determines you’re not as risky a driver as your record states. The company also offers training called The Steer Clear Driver Program if you need a refresher course on what safe driving behaviors look like.
Did you know that Progressive actually started out as a company exclusively for high-risk drivers? They were the first insurance company to let you pay your premiums in installments and to offer drive-in claims service, as well. They are also a leader in customer service and claims processing: all elements of the process are handled by Progressive and Progressive affiliated body shops, meaning much less hassle for drivers when you need repairs and a more streamlined process for everyone.
Geico Casualty, the high-risk subsidiary of Geico, uses a surprisingly transparent points system to determine how much an individual will pay for a particular policy, based on recency of accidents, reckless driving and coverage options selected. The company also offers a renewal and good driver discount, and always scores highly in terms of customer satisfaction levels.
As the second-largest insurance company in the nation, it should come as no surprise that Geico has “superior” financial strength as well. If you’re looking for a personal touch, however, you might want to consider a different company: GEICO is insurance agent-less because they sell directly to customers, meaning if you have any problems or questions, you’ll have to find it on the website or call customer service.
If you’ve been rejected by other insurance companies, don’t give up your search until you’ve looked into Titan, a Nationwide subsidiary. Titan often will insure drivers that other insurance companies wouldn’t touch, including those with drunk-driving convictions, and will provide you with SR-22 paperwork if you need it. The company offers many minimum coverage options if you’re looking for the cheapest option available, and provides many discounts for things you wouldn’t necessarily think would provide a financial perk, like having anti-lock brakes installed or using your vehicle on a farm.
If you’re looking for an insurance company that won’t try to add additional frills to your policy but also has a solid financial backing, look no further than The General. This company will insure just about anyone, can issue SR-22 forms, and quotes on its website only include state minimum coverage.
The General also offers low down payments and flexible monthly payment options. While the company does have an above-average complaint ratio, The General’s financial strength is “excellent,” according to ratings agency A.M. Best – meaning their ability to pay out a claim, should you need to file one, is strong. The company also offers a self-serve app and website that eliminates the need to work with an insurance agent in order to make payments or policy changes, get your insurance card or view relevant insurance documents.
If you’ve committed an egregious offense, you might be required to file SR-22 paperwork with your state, which provides proof that you have purchased car insurance. SR-22 is not a type of insurance and those who refer to “SR-22 insurance” just means that companies who are willing to insure drivers are required to file this paperwork with the government.
You might have to pay an additional fee for the filing costs that come with an SR-22, but most high-risk insurance companies will not be surprised if you mention this requirement. Of course, it’s a good idea to be up front with any insurance agents when discussing policy options and mention that you’ll need to file an SR-22 form from the outset.
Acceptance Insurance caters to those who need this type of coverage and aims to make the filing process as painless as possible. Because they cater to high-risk drivers, Acceptance also has a variety of plans for high-risk drivers rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach. As a small Midwestern company, Acceptance also offers great customer service.
Thankfully, being labeled a high-risk driver is not a nail in the coffin. If you’ve been irresponsible, correcting your habits and behaviors will ensure your insurance rates are lower in the future.