How Long Will I Be a High Risk Driver?

One good thing about being a high-risk driver is it doesn't last forever if you make good choices. Understanding how long you will be a high-risk driver will allow you to switch to a cheaper insurance policy as soon as possible. The length of time you are considered high risk depends on what made you a high risk in the beginning.

No Prior Insurance

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Paying a higher rate on your insurance because of not carrying insurance for a period of time is frustrating for a lot of people. Car insurance is important to keep at all times because of the surcharge for a lapse. Once you get ​car insurance again you will be paying high-risk rates for 6 continuous months.

Tip: Once you obtain a policy, it is in your best interest to keep the same policy for six months. Switching before your six months is up, means you will have to start your six months over lengthening the time you pay the high-risk rate. It is possible you can use multiple declaration pages to prove six months of coverage, but the hassle usually isn't worth the savings.

Multiple Tickets

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Three years is the usual time frame for minor violations to affect your insurance rates. If you are high risk due to multiple tickets or at-fault accidents, you can get back into a preferred carrier once your oldest violation falls off. After a violation is 3 years old it typically comes off your record, however you have to wait for your renewal to see a difference in your rate if you are staying with the same carrier.

Ask your insurance agent to give you the dates of all your violations. Switching to a preferred carrier the day after your violation falls off is a great way to save money fast, or if you have a few other drivers under your policy, you could leverage leaving in order to secure a discounted rate. 

Tip: Not all insurance companies are the same. Some only count tickets received within the last 2 years. But for multiple tickets the term can be extended to 3 years.

Major Violation

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A major violation such as a DUI can affect your insurance rate up to 5 years for some insurance carriers. Lighter guidelines can be found with a few insurance carriers, but a preferred rate probably won't be available until 5 years have passed.

A major violation usually comes with an extra requirement from the state. The state wants to be notified of your insurance coverage at all times. An SR 22 filing must be added onto your car insurance policy. The same is true if you were caught by police driving without car insurance.

Tip: Start shopping around for an insurance carrier that does not surcharge for major violations after 3 years once your ticket is more than 3 years old. Start shopping again after 5 years to verify you are getting the cheapest car insurance possible.

The Bottom Line

It is tough doing the time with the high rates of a high-risk driver status. Many high-risk drivers spend more than the allotted time high risk because they do not keep continuous insurance coverage. The length of time required to get out of high-risk insurance rates can easily be affected by your actions. More tickets and a lapse in coverage can extend your high rates infinitely. Keep your driving record in check and keep your insurance policy in effect at all times to escape high-risk rates.