What Is High-Risk Car Insurance? A Guide

High-risk car insurance is reserved for drivers who fall into the high-risk category, which includes anyone with multiple traffic violations, at-fault accidents, and other issues that result in higher costs for car insurance companies.

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If you’re in the high-risk category, your auto insurance quotes will be higher, and it may take several years for things to return to normal.

When are You Considered a High-Risk Driver?

You’re considered to be high-risk as soon as the statistics suggest that you’re more likely to make a claim.

For instance, you’ll be given the high-risk label if you are responsible for a major car accident or receive a DUI conviction. You’ll be given the same treatment if you have speeding tickets, run a red light, make an illegal turn, or fail to stop at the scene of an accident.

But that’s not all.

You also fall into the high-risk category if you’re a teenage driver who has just passed their test. Young drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in an accident and the same is true for male drivers and inexperienced drivers.

As a 16-year-old male getting behind the wheel for the first time, you’re considered to be just as much of a liability, if not more so, than an experienced driver who has previously been convicted of a serious driving offense.

The same is true for drivers over the age of 70, as the rate of accidents and claims increase after this milestone. That’s why many states insist on regular renewals along with vision tests, reaction tests, and letters from physicians.

How will Offenses Increase my Premiums?

Traffic violations can increase your car insurance rates and those increases will remain for several years. A DUI works in the same way, although, in this case, you may face an immediate suspension, as well as fines, and it could be some time before you’re allowed behind the wheel again.

The following price increases are based on national averages, but all auto insurance companies have different underwriting processes and take several other factors into consideration.

  • Driving Under the Influence = 70% to 80%
  • Reckless Driving = 75%
  • Racing = 70%
  • Speeding (30mph or more over the limit) = 30%
  • Texting While Driving = 22%
  • Distracted Driving = 21%
  • Speeding (15 to 30 mph over the limit) = 20%
  • Illegal Passing = 20%
  • Speeding (up to 15 mph over the limit) = 18%
  • Illegal Turn = 15%
  • Failure to Yield or Stop = 15%
  • Talking on Phone = 15%
  • Driving without Car Insurance = 10%
  • Not Wearing a Seatbelt (in New York) = 3%

Cost of High-Risk Insurance in Every State

Your location is one of the biggest factors determining the cost of your car insurance quotes and this is true whether you have a clean driving record or several moving violations.

In the list below, we have included the average cost of car insurance in each state, followed by the potential increases from speeding tickets and DUI/DWI convictions.

  • Alabama – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,670; Cost with One DUI = $2,500
  • Alaska – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,200; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,500; Cost with One DUI = $2,800
  • Arizona – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,450; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,780; Cost with One DUI = $1,800
  • Arkansas – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,550; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,400
  • California – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,400; Cost with One DUI = $4,000
  • Colorado – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,780; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,500; Cost with One DUI = $2,400
  • Connecticut – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,650; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,300; Cost with One DUI = $3,200
  • Delaware – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $2,600
  • D.C. – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,900; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $2,600
  • Florida – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,230; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $3,000; Cost with One DUI = $3,700
  • Georgia – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,800; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • Hawaii – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,400; Cost with One DUI = $4,200
  • Idaho – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,050; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,300; Cost with One DUI = $1,500
  • Illinois – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Cost with One DUI = $1,900
  • Indiana – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,180; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,300; Cost with One DUI = $1,500
  • Iowa – Statewide Average Car Insurance Cost = $1,050; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,280; Cost with One DUI = $1,700
  • Kansas – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,650; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • Kentucky – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,100; Cost with One DUI = $3,600
  • Louisiana – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $2,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,700; Cost with One DUI = $4,200
  • Maine – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,000; Cost with One DUI = $1,500
  • Maryland – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,550; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $2,600
  • Massachusetts – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,250; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,350
  • Michigan – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $2,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $3,400; Cost with One DUI = $5,800
  • Minnesota – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,380; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,700; Cost with One DUI = $2,350
  • Mississippi – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,000; Cost with One DUI = $2,300
  • Missouri – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,280; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Cost with One DUI = $1,900
  • Montana – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $2,100
  • Nebraska – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,650; Cost with One DUI = $1,750
  • Nevada – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,550; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • New Hampshire – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,100; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,850
  • New Jersey – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,520; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • New Mexico – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Cost with One DUI = $2,000
  • New York – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,800; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,450; Cost with One DUI = $3,000
  • North Carolina – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,100; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Cost with One DUI = $4,400
  • North Dakota – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,170; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,350; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • Ohio – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,180; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,250; Cost with One DUI = $1,700
  • Oklahoma – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,500; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,500
  • Oregon – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,850
  • Pennsylvania – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,200; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Cost with One DUI = $1,850
  • Rhode Island – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,850; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,500; Cost with One DUI = $3,350
  • South Carolina – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,440; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • South Dakota – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,270; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,500; Cost with One DUI = $2,200
  • Tennessee – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,300; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,550; Cost with One DUI = $2,100
  • Texas – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,800; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Cost with One DUI = $2,300
  • Utah – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,200; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,900
  • Vermont – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,100; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,350; Cost with One DUI = $2,050
  • Virginia – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,070; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,200; Cost with One DUI = $1,550
  • Washington – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,400; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Cost with One DUI = $2,000
  • West Virginia – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,480; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,750; Cost with One DUI = $2,100
  • Wisconsin – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $950; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Cost with One DUI = $1,950
  • Wyoming – Average Premiums for Most Drivers = $1,600; Cost with One Speeding Ticket = $2,000; Cost with One DUI = $2,200

High-Risk Insurance Options

Many insurance carriers will still offer you a policy if you are in the high-risk category, you’ll just be quoted much higher prices until you clean up your driving record.

Try the following tips to ensure you get the best car insurance even when you are considered to be a higher risk.

1. Improve Your Credit Score

Underwriters look at your credit score to determine your risk. They know, for instance, that someone with bad credit is more likely to make a claim on their policy. As a result, bad credit drivers are charged much higher rates than those with good credit.

There are a few likely scenarios here. The first is that people with good credit are more financially responsible. Not only are they less likely to drive fast or recklessly, but they are also more likely to pay for small accidents out of pocket.

Perhaps more importantly, a good credit driver is more likely to pay for their premiums on time, thus causing fewer problems for the insurer. 

Maintain a good credit history by meeting all your monthly payments on time; avoid applying for any new loans or credit cards; increase your credit limits where possible, and clear as much of your current debt balances as you can.

All of these simple methods will ensure your credit score stays strong.

2. Take a Defensive Driving Course

A defensive driving course can undo some of the damage done by a traffic violation and give you the experience and skills you need to stay safe behind the wheel. A knowledgeable driver is a safe driver, which is why defensive driving certificates can save you money.

​3. Buy a Suitable Car

If you’re a new driver or you’re making a transition from one vehicle to the next and have the luxury of, then you’re in a very strong position. 

Many young drivers, for instance, will get the fastest and most powerful car they can afford. Either that, or they save every cent they can and purchase the latest trendy new vehicle. But neither of these options will result in an affordable car insurance policy.

A new car typically costs more to insure than an older car, as the cost of replacing it and repairing the electronics will be much higher. As for sports cars and luxury cars, they have much lower safety ratings and, as a result, will almost certainly drive those insurance premiums sky-high.

The ideal car is one that has a high safety rating, is affordable, comes with numerous safety features and anti-theft features, and doesn’t have many custom parts or hard-to-replace parts.

Not only will car insurance companies look more fondly on vehicles that fit this mold, but you can also take more liberties with regards to the deductible and the coverage options.

For example, a brand-new car will need New Car Replacement coverage, as well as collision cover and comprehensive cover. That way, if you hit a wall, a tree or an animal, or your car is stolen, vandalized or damaged following an extreme weather event, you don’t stand to lose all of your investment.

If the car is cheap, you can dismiss those potentially expensive options, knowing that you can cover all minor repairs yourself and write off the vehicle entirely if anything major happens to it.

4. Compare and Contrast

Hundreds of insurance companies operate in every single state and you can sign up over the phone, online or via an insurance agent. With so many choices and possibilities, you have no excuse not to shop around.

A car insurance policy is like any other big purchase you make. You wouldn’t buy a brand new $2,000 computer after visiting just one store, nor would you drop several grand on the first car you see.

With car insurance, you need to consult many reps from many major insurance companies (Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, Progressive, Nationwide) as well as a few local and specialized ones (The General, USAA).

It’s the only way to guarantee the best rates and this applies whether you have a clean driving history, or one filled with violations and insurance claims.

5. Get Some Car Insurance Discounts

Reduce your car insurance premiums by checking all possible discounts and getting as many of them as you can. Car insurance discounts differ from provider to provider and from state to state, but generally, they include:

  • Good Student Discount: Many state authorities require insurance carriers to offer discounts for students who maintain a high-grade point average. This is also true for high-risk auto insurance providers and for all qualifying applicants, the discounts can be incredibly generous.
  • Safety Features Discount: The addition of front-and-side airbags could save you as much as 40% on comprehensive insurance coverage. The risk of serious injuries and fatalities drops considerably when these basic safety features are installed. Discounts are also offered for anti-lock brakes, car alarms, and other features designed to keep drivers safe and prevent the vehicle from being stolen or vandalized.
  • Multi-Car Discount: Add multiple vehicles to the same policy to qualify for a discount. If you have multiple cars and drivers in your household, this discount is a must.
  • Multi-Policy Discount: Insurers use this discount to encourage policyholders to sign up for additional services. For instance, most major standard and non-standard auto insurance carriers will give you a discount if you purchase homeowners insurance along with auto insurance.
  • Student Away Discount: If you’re a young driver who lives and studies on campus, you may qualify for this discount, which takes advantage of the fact you will spend much less time on the roads.
  • Senior Discount: Some states offer discounts to senior drivers, and those drivers could save even more if they have a long and clean driving record behind them. Bear in mind, however, that many states also require additional vision/reaction tests to ensure you’re still capable and responsible.
  • Low Mileage: Mileage based car insurance providers charge you by the mile. You may pay more if you drive a lot but could save yourself a few dollars if you drive very little. The major providers offer something similar, installing apps that monitor your driving habits and use the data gathered to tweak your insurance premiums.
  • Married Homeowner Discount: Although it’s not a discount as such, you will receive a much cheaper auto insurance policy if you own your home and are married. Insurers covet married policyholders as they are more responsible, less likely to claim, and they can also get a two-for-one deal.

Bottom Line: Higher Premiums but Still Affordable

Receiving the high-risk label doesn’t mean you’re doomed forever, nor does it mean you’ll be paying through the nose for the most basic of car insurance policies. 

You’ll pay more than you would for a standard insurance policy, but by doing a little research and a lot of comparison shopping, and by keeping a clean driving record from this moment on, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars and avoid concerning rate increases in the future.