Last week I was in Washington DC to support my wife’s Veterans Day event at the White House. (I didn’t get to go, but she says the White House Lenox china is excellent. To make up for some missed time (and give me a little time to catch up) the folks from Marketwatch are here to provide you a little weekend reading.
Drivers with less than perfect driving histories often face higher car insurance rates. But there are ways to save money on car insurance if you know how to shop around. Here are some tips that can help high-risk drivers bring down their premiums and find the best car insurance for them.
What Is a High-Risk Driver?
Although it’s not an official legal or insurance category, a high-risk driver is generally someone with a poor driving record. This group can include drivers with:
- DUI or DWI convictions: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in every state. If you’ve been convicted of DUI, your car insurance rates will likely be high.
- Traffic tickets: Drivers with a history of traffic violations tend to be at higher risk.
- Multiple at-fault accidents: At-fault accidents that result in property damage and bodily injury are also high-risk factors. Insurers specifically look at your accident history in the past three to five years.
- Driving without a license: Having a suspended or revoked license is another high-risk factor. In some states, it’s also a crime. Depending on the reason for the suspension, you could fall into the high-risk category.
- A poor credit score: Insurers often check your credit report when you apply for car insurance. If your credit score is low, it could mean higher rates.
- Multiple claims: Newer drivers are often given higher rates due to inexperience. It can also affect experienced drivers if they make too many claims. Car insurance companies may view many claims as a pattern and increase your rates.
Why High-Risk Drivers Pay More
When you apply for car insurance, insurers may use your DMV record to generate an “insurance score.” This score is an indicator of how likely you are to file claims. Typically, insurers look at the past three to five years of your driving history. A high insurance score will increase your premiums. For instance, someone with an accident on their record can pay 30% more for auto insurance.
How to Save Money on Car Insurance If You’re a High-Risk Driver
First, you need to ask your insurance company about its policy. Some insurers use credit scores to determine car insurance premiums rather than driving records. Another insurer may offer discounts for drivers who take a safe-driving course.
If you need to shop around for car insurance, remember that some insurers will charge a high rate from the start. Other companies may offer insurance rates to high-risk drivers. However, they may add conditions. For example, you may need to stay accident- and violation-free for a period, usually 12 months.
After that time has passed, you can contact the company and tell them that your record is clean. You may then be able to get a better car insurance rate with that company.
When shopping around for quotes, call at least three companies to better compare car insurance quotes. Give yourself ample time to compare car insurance rates, as well as to find the minimum liability limits you need for your state.
Reading customer reviews iis also an important part of the car insurance shopping process.
In most cases, getting cheaper car insurance as a high-risk driver is possible. But you have to be patient. Shop around for the best rates, take any safety courses or training you can, and give yourself enough time to stay accident-free.
Additional Tips for Lowering Your Car Insurance
Here are some additional steps high-risk drivers can take to find discounts and save money on car insurance:
- Ask about discounts and promotions: Before you sign up, find out if the insurer offers any discounts based on your driving record or other factors. Make sure that the insurer you’re comparing rates with is offering discounts. If you’re not sure, contact the insurer and ask about any available discounts that would apply to your policy.
- Raise your deductible: Raising your deductible can lower your premium payments. Although it’s not for everyone, increasing the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in is a good way to lower your premiums.
Find a Better Car Insurance Company
If you have a high-risk driving record, you can lower your rates by following these tips and tricks. It might seem like the odds are stacked against you but don’t give up just yet. The right auto insurance is out there.