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Best cheap high-risk car insurance

The best and cheapest high-risk car insurance for most people is State Farm, which offers affordable coverage and great customer service to people with bad driving records.

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By 

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

 & Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Updated  | 6 min read

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It can be difficult for high-risk drivers to find cheap car insurance. Drivers who have been in an accident or have a history of traffic tickets, a DUI/DWI, or bad credit are labeled high-risk by insurers. And if you're a high-risk driver, you could pay thousands of dollars more for car insurance per year than someone with a clean driving record.

Fortunately, it's still possible for high-risk drivers to find affordable insurance with a few companies. Our analysis found that most high-risk drivers can find cheap auto insurance from State Farm. Nationwide and Direct Auto may also offer cheap high-risk insurance depending on your driving record.

The cheapest high-risk auto insurance companies

Although many insurers charge high-risk drivers rates that are much more expensive than average, some companies still offer cheap coverage to people with bad driving records. We found that State Farm is usually the cheapest car insurance for high-risk drivers. 

With State Farm, high-risk drivers pay an average of 57% more than a driver without any violations on their records. Despite this steep cost increase, State Farm is the cheapest on our list of high-risk auto insurance companies, at an average cost of $1,951 per year for a full-coverage policy — $409 lower than the second-cheapest option, GEICO.

A bar graph of the cheapest car insurance companies for high-risk drivers

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While State Farm is the cheapest option for high-risk insurance, it's not the only insurance company that offers affordable coverage to drivers with red flags in their driving history. Most large insurance companies sell insurance for high-risk drivers. GEICO and Nationwide are two companies that may also have affordable high-risk car insurance, depending on where you live.

Some insurers are specifically known for offering coverage for high-risk drivers. Large high-risk auto insurance companies include National General, Direct Auto, and Dairyland. We found that National General is the cheapest of these companies. 

However, these high-risk car insurance companies may be a better option for drivers with multiple violations on their records who can't get covered elsewhere. Also called non-standard insurance companies, they were more expensive than other companies for high-risk drivers with just one violation.

CompanyAverage costCost for high-risk driverDifference
State Farm$1,240$1,95157%
GEICO$1,179$2,360100%
Nationwide$1,569$2,47558%
National General$1,772$2,86362%
Allstate$1,991$2,95348%
Direct Auto$2,534$3,18526%
Dairyland$3,163$4,02127%

Best auto insurance for high-risk drivers: State Farm

State Farm

3.7

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

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The best auto insurance for most high-risk drivers is State Farm, which has cheap car insurance rates for drivers with different violations on their records, along with its highly rated customer service.

State Farm is the best auto insurance company for high-risk drivers. Compared to other companies, State Farm offers the cheapest car insurance to high-risk drivers who have:

  • Been in an accident

  • Gotten a speeding ticket

  • Received a DUI or DWI citation

Along with having the cheapest rates for different types of high-risk drivers, State Farm ranks above other large insurers, like GEICO, Nationwide, and Allstate, in J.D. Power's claims satisfaction study. It also has a large local presence that allows high-risk drivers to manage their policies and ask questions in person or or online.

While State Farm is the best auto insurance for most high-risk drivers, Nationwide is actually the best and cheapest option for high-risk drivers with bad credit. Nationwide's average rates for drivers with bad credit are $1,133 cheaper per year than State Farm's.

CompanyClean recordAt-fault accidentBad creditDUISpeeding ticket
State Farm$1,240$1,445$3,338$1,652$1,370
GEICO$1,179$2,063$2,219$3,044$2,113
Nationwide$1,569$2,461$2,205$3,298$1,935
Allstate$1,991$3,080$3,335$3,047$2,350
National General$1,772$3,903$2,520$2,559$2,469
Direct Auto$2,534$3,507$2,919$3,006$3,306
Dairyland$3,163$4,294$4,653$3,347$3,788

Ultimately, the best insurance for high-risk drivers depends on each person's driving record. Since rates are determined differently by each company, it's important to compare the cost of coverage if you're a high-risk driver to find the most affordable insurance.

Average cost of high-risk auto insurance

To find the average cost of auto insurance for high-risk drivers, Policygenius calculated rates for drivers with a variety of violations on their records. Across all violations, high-risk car insurance cost drivers an average of ​​$2,596 per year. This is 44% more expensive than a comparable driver with a clean record.

All high-risk driving  does not affect your insurance rates equally. We found that the most expensive high-risk is a hit and run, which can raise your future insurance premiums by 100% if you're the perpetrator. A not at-fault accident, a far less severe example of high-risk behavior than a hit and run, only raises your rates by an average of 4%.

Traffic violationCostDifference
Hit and Run$3,614100%
DUI$3,55597%
Driving with a suspended license$3,44391%
Reckless Driving$3,40489%
Racing$3,37887%
Bad credit$3,05569%
Driving with an open container$2,76553%
At-fault Accident$2,57943%
Speeding Ticket$2,40133%
Passing a school bus$2,33229%
Improper passing$2,21723%
Following too closely$2,19722%
Failure to stop at a red light$2,19221%
Failure to yield$2,18721%
Illegal turn$2,17721%
Driving without Lights$2,14519%
Failure to show documents$2,14119%
Driving with expired registration$2,13218%
Not at-fault Accident$1,8754%

Rates compared to the average cost of car insurance for a 30-year-old driver, which is $1,805 per year for full coverage. Ordered by cost increase from highest to lowest.

Average cost of high-risk car insurance, by state

Policygenius also figured out the cheapest and most expensive states for car insurance for high-risk drivers. According to our analysis, the worst state for high-risk drivers is Hawaii, where they pay an average of 168% more for car insurance than a comparable driver with a clean record. Washington is the least expensive state for high-risk drivers. In this state, high-risk drivers pay only 30% more for coverage.

StateClean recordHigh risk driversDifference
Alaska$1,408$1,90135%
Alabama$1,818$2,68948%
Arkansas$1,861$3,05964%
Arizona$1,646$2,65661%
California$1,937$3,60486%
Colorado$1,828$2,72849%
Connecticut$1,859$3,06665%
District of Columbia$1,831$2,73649%
Delaware$2,127$3,13147%
Florida$2,961$3,99335%
Georgia$1,760$2,77057%
Hawaii$1,200$3,210168%
Iowa$1,207$1,79248%
Idaho$1,179$1,73947%
Illinois$1,484$2,33757%
Indiana$1,298$1,92949%
Kansas$1,677$2,49149%
Kentucky$2,258$3,64561%
Louisiana$3,024$4,92663%
Massachusetts$1,681$2,49749%
Maryland$1,886$3,03061%
Maine$1,218$1,94460%
Michigan$2,438$4,74194%
Minnesota$1,459$2,40865%
Missouri$1,665$2,40845%
Mississippi$1,797$2,69450%
Montana$1,958$3,00253%
North Carolina$1,019$2,257121%
North Dakota$1,456$2,27856%
Nebraska$1,837$2,83354%
New Hampshire$1,275$2,23075%
New Jersey$2,304$3,87568%
New Mexico$1,542$2,18141%
Nevada$2,232$3,20243%
New York$2,197$3,65967%
Ohio$1,096$1,67953%
Oklahoma$2,050$2,83838%
Oregon$1,490$2,16645%
Pennsylvania$1,690$2,54350%
Rhode Island$1,957$3,17662%
South Carolina$1,964$2,77741%
South Dakota$1,680$2,75264%
Tennessee$1,396$2,26162%
Texas$1,943$2,82645%
Utah$1,562$2,36852%
Virginia$1,410$2,35267%
Vermont$1,190$1,95865%
Washington$1,730$2,24930%
Wisconsin$1,111$1,88570%
West Virginia$1,735$2,83063%
Wyoming$1,468$2,27355%

Combined average rates for drivers with one at-fault accident, DUI, speeding ticket, or bad credit.

→ Read more about what different types of drivers pay for car insurance coverage

How to get cheap high-risk car insurance quotes

Since it's harder for high-risk drivers to find cheap auto insurance, it's important that drivers with bad records get quotes from multiple insurance companies before choosing a policy. 

Shopping around is the best way to find the cheapest rates in your area if you’re a high-risk driver, but there’s more you can do to get cheaper quotes.

To get cheap high-risk insurance quotes, you should also consider:

  1. Raising your deductible: By raising your car insurance deductible — the amount that's subtracted from a physical damage claim — you can lower your overall cost of insurance. A higher deductible shows insurance companies that you're unlikely to make a claim, except for after expensive accidents. This can offset the perceived risk a high-risk driver carries of being a potential repeat claimant.

  2. Signing up for safe driving courses: Many insurance companies offer opportunities to save on car insurance if you've taken an approved defensive or safe driving course. If your record has a history of accidents or tickets, taking a defensive driving class may help, in part, to balance out the effects of those past violations.

  3. Bundling your car insurance: If you're a homeowner, think about getting your car insurance and home insurance from the same company. Insurers usually reward this practice, called bundling, with a significant discount. You can also bundle your car insurance with insurance for your motorcycle, RV, ATV, or boat. 

  4. Improving your credit score: Most agencies recommend strengthening your credit score over time by paying down debts — including your credit cards — and not frequently opening new lines of credit.

While these steps can help you find cheap quotes for high-risk auto insurance, you can also lower your premiums over time just by driving safelyExpensive premiums for high-risk drivers don't last forever. Your car insurance company typically only considers the last three to five years of your driving history. Every accident and traffic violation will eventually fade away — as long as you avoid any more accidents and tickets.

Finally, if you're a high risk driver you should shop around for coverage every time your policy is up for renewal. Switching insurance companies can result in lower rates, even if you were formerly classified as a high-risk driver.

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Alternative insurance for high risk drivers who can't get covered

Depending on where you live and the number of accidents or violations on your record, it may be virtually impossible to get cheap coverage in your area. If you're having trouble finding coverage, you may be able to get car insurance with a non-standard insurance policy or with a state-sponsored auto plan.

A non-standard car insurance policy covers people whose driving records make them more risky to insure. If you can't get affordable high-risk car insurance from one of the major insurers, consider popular non-standard auto insurance companies, like:

  • The General

  • State Auto

  • Direct Auto

  • National General

  • Dairyland

  • Bristol West

Alternatively, you can also get car insurance for high-risk drivers from your state's high-risk insurance pool. These state-sponsored pools are designed to ensure that high-risk drivers carry enough insurance to meet the state's minimum requirements (although programs like this are only offered in a few states). 

Participating companies must offer coverage to applicants, but since getting auto insurance this way is usually much more expensive, this option is a last resort.

→ Read more your options if you can’t afford car insurance 

Who is a high-risk driver?

High-risk drivers usually have a history of dangerous driving behavior, including at-fault accidents, speeding tickets or other moving violations, or a DUI citation. However, these aren't the only people who insurers consider high-risk. You may also be a high-risk driver if you:

  • Are young or inexperienced behind the wheel

  • Have no credit or a poor credit history

  • Live in an area with more uninsured drivers or car thefts than average

  • Have had a lapse in your insurance coverage

  • Were caught driving uninsured or with a suspended license

No matter why you're considered a high-risk driver, it's likely that you will pay more for car insurance than most people.

→ Read more about all of the factors that affect what you pay for coverage 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any companies that don't check your driving record?

Every car insurance company will consider your driving record when you request a quote. However, each company weighs your driving history and other personal data differently when determining your rates. This means that some companies are more likely than others to offer cheap coverage to high-risk drivers.

Will big insurance companies insure a high-risk driver?

Large insurance companies, including State Farm, GEICO, Allstate, and others, will usually insure high-risk drivers. However, if you have multiple violations on your record, smaller, non-standard companies may be one of the few options you have.

How long do you stay on high-risk auto insurance?

Depending on your record, you could be a high-risk driver for a while. While accidents and traffic tickets usually stop negatively affecting your insurance after a few years, poor credit score or multiple accidents could cause you to pay higher rates for a longer time. However, this is if your driving record otherwise stays clean during that time. Getting in another accident or adding a moving violation while considered high risk can be enough to extend the amount of time you have a bad driving record.

Methodology

Policygenius found the cheapest car insurance options for high-risk drivers by calculating the premiums of drivers with one at-fault accident, speeding ticket, DUI, or history of poor credit. We averaged the premiums for each of these, then compared the overall change with the cost of coverage for a driver without any accidents, violations, and good credit.

Quadrant Information Services provided public rate information for every ZIP code in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These rates reflect the cost of a full-coverage policy with the following limits:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

Our sample driver was a 30-year-old male driver, driving a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles/year.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of costs. Your actual quotes may differ.