There’s way more than one reason for someone to become a “risky driver”.
Tickets and accidents can cause a driver to pay more for insurance. Also, younger drivers and those with poor credit pay more.
And if you have had a lapse in coverage, some states will fine you. Insurers will get the notification. Then, you’ll graduate to the risky driver pool right away.
It hardly seems fair that age and credit affect rates. But insurers have to cover a large pool of customers. They save the best prices for older drivers with a clean driving record and perfect credit.
So, some groups have to make up for the skyrocketing costs of claims each year. You may be in that group. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay the highest costs year after year.
The best car insurance for bad driving record doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There are ways to get out the risk pool, too.
Here are some important things to know about insurance for bad drivers.
What Causes a Driver to Be in the Risky Pool?
Some reasons a driver is risky are not the driver’s fault. Teen drivers are dangerous because of their lack of experience.
Also, those who own specialty or antique cars must get a high-risk policy. This is due to the high replacement costs of the vehicle. But for most in the risk pool, their record is the issue.
A few typical reasons include:
- DUI conviction
- At fault accidents on your record
- More than one ticket
- More than one claim in a year
- Lapse of insurance
- Serious charges (like an accident with a fatality)
Even one ticket or claim can cause a driver to become risky in the eyes of an insurer. And if an accident is not your fault, the claim on your record can increase premiums.
But getting more than one ticket or more than one claim will change anyone’s category.
How We Buy Insurance is Not the Same
It used to be that people would stay with the same insurer throughout their lifetime. Later on, their kids would join too.
Families would cover their homes, cars, and get their life policies all under one roof. And it saved money to have several plans.
Most insurance companies, even today, offer discounts for multi-line customers. But times are changing.
What Most Drivers Do Today
Rates have gone up along with claims. Cars are more expensive to repair. So everyone pays more.
But customers are more apt to leave if rates go up too much. And your insurance is not a contract like a lease. Customers can cancel any time.
More and more, drivers will have several insurers over their lifetime to pay less on premiums. This especially goes for risky drivers. Shopping around for the best rates should be part of the plan.
If you’re considered a risky driver, get quotes often. And when you know a DUI or ticket is about to drop off your record, insurers do, too. They may very well come to you.
When Does Driving History Drop off the Record?
The amount of time a ticket or an accident stays on your record varies by both state and the insurer. There may be a three-year time limit on tickets, whereas a reckless driving charge may last five or more.
A charge involving alcohol stays on California’s record for ten years. In Florida, it’s for life (or 75 years). But keep in mind this can be leverage for you.
You can check with the separate insurers to see how each measures the time limit. Some are more lenient than others. Their rates will reflect it.
What is an SR-22?
Though some believe an SR-22 is an insurance policy, it is not. This is a form that is used in the DMV of some states.
Let’s say a driver is at fault in an accident with a fatality or has a DUI conviction. They are a risky driver in the eyes of their state. Because of this, the state can demand a hefty dollar amount stay in a bank deposit.
The money is meant to cover costs in case the risky driver should cause damage in the future. But the driver can get an SR-22 form from their insurer.
The form proves financial responsibility (coverage), and the state waives the money deposit (in Arizona, for example, it’s $40,000).
In most states, this has to remain on file with no interruption for three years.
High-Risk Insurance Can Be Affordable
Many of the largest insurers in the U.S. have specific policies for high-risk drivers. The classification is necessary, because the more risky drivers they insure, the rates will go up or down.
It is all dependent on the customer base, the car you drive, and where you live. These categories enable some risky drivers to get the best deal on rates.
And while some insurers may require minimum coverage amounts, others do not. Those with more leeway can offer lower premiums to risky drivers. Especially for those who will settle for higher deductibles.
But you should save all that extra money for the time you may have to use it. The deductible may be payable when you need a windshield repair, too.
How You Can Become a Low Risk
You may have a record, but you sure don’t have to stay victim to your mistakes forever. In the future, there is much you can do to stay, off the radar.
Fight Questionable Tickets
Everyone is sure the light isn’t red when they enter the intersection. But the fact is, some tickets are questionable enough to fight.
If you have tickets and accidents on your record already, you don’t want any more. Chances are, you are more careful than ever now.
Fighting a ticket may cost you a few hours, but you have much to lose if you don’t try.
Take Driver’s Classes
Most insurers offer discounts for those who take defensive driving classes, and most states provide them in place of giving you points on your record.
For this reason, you should take the courses at every opportunity.
States vary when it comes to expunging records. In some states, there are DMV records as well as criminal records which can affect your risk assessment.
Depending on the severity of your history, you can ask for removal or seal from public view. If you have had no infractions for a length of time and can show good cause, this can help clean up your past.
Resolve the “Fix-It” Tickets Fast
If the taillight or headlight is out, chances are good the traffic patrol will notice. While those these types of tickets do not affect your record, not taking care of them will.
The lapse will lead to court appearances and fines. Get them taken care of immediately.
How to Find the Best Car Insurance for Bad Driving Record
Because you are a risky driver, does not mean you shouldn’t have ample coverage at an affordable price. But you also want to make sure the provider is a stable one.
So, if you need a tow or someone claims against you, the insurer can cover the costs. Most major insurers offer separate policies for the high-risk pool. And, you can check their standings.
Look at their customer reviews and financial standing as well as their costs. If an insurer turns you down, don’t despair. There are also insurers who offer coverage for those with rejections elsewhere.
As your record becomes a thing of the past, your standing will improve. And, so will your options for insurance.
Also, the car you drive can make a difference in your premium and risk. The rule of thumb is that SUV’s are more expensive to cover. Muscle cars, too. Small compacts tend to be cheaper to insure.
If you are in the market for a new car, spend wisely. The cost of insurance can exceed the car payment if you are not careful.
Rebuilding Credit Helps Your Record
Just as you can rebuild your driving record, you can rebuild your credit. And, doing both can save you money.
You see, those with bad credit pay much higher fees for loans and credit cards, which is counterintuitive because these are the folks who can least afford it.
The best insurance for bad driving record will help get better rates. The best programs for poor credit will help money too.
We have many options. Poor credit and driving records are not forever.
Check out more information on best credit cards and loans in our learning center.