Bad Driving Record Auto Insurance (Cheap Rates & Tips)

Average bad driving record auto insurance rates are $137.75/month more than good drivers. If you have a bad driving record and need auto insurance, it is still possible to get good rates and discounts. Bad driving record insurance is available, and the first rule of finding the best insurance for a bad driving record is to shop around.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Bad drivers usually pay more for car insurance, and they are labeled “high-risk”
  • Speeding tickets, accidents, and bad credit all affect your “driver” status
  • Defensive driving courses and repairing your credit can lower your bad driving record auto insurance rates
  • Most states require liability insurance, and if caught driving uninsured, you may have to pay fines and reinstatement fees to restore driving privileges
  • Bad drivers are classified as a different driver type for auto insurance and insurance for different driver types can get complicated

If you’ve received too many tickets, been arrested for DUI, or are young, you may be considered a bad driver and have trouble finding auto insurance.

While there are a lot of auto insurance companies that will give you car insurance, finding the best price in these economic times can be hard. Read on to learn how to find cheap bad driving record auto insurance.

It does not matter if you are an older driver, a younger driver or that you just you want to save some money, knowing how to reduce your rates is beneficial. Think of your driving record like how a lot of people view credit scores—except instead of reckless spending, it’s reckless driving you need to avoid.

Don’t let this stress you out too much. Just as you can improve poor credit, you can manage your driving habits to become a safe driver. That alone can lead to you saving hundreds of dollars on your auto policy, or at least finding better average rates.

Start comparing online rates for cheap car insurance for bad driving records by entering your ZIP code into the box above.

What defines a bad driver?

Your auto insurance company will label you a high-risk driver if they think you have dangerous driving habits that are likely to result in claims. As mentioned earlier, multiple tickets or a DUI conviction are red flags for your insurance. (Learn more about finding cheap DUI insurance.)

Bad drivers often become distracted. Distractions include texting while driving, using a cell phone, talking to passengers, and playing around with the radio, CD player, or navigation system.

Distract drivers may watch videos, look at maps, read anything, groom themselves, or eat and drink while driving. A good driver has their eyes on the road. Distractions can be deadly for inexperienced drivers; they are at a disadvantage to being with.

There are ways you can cut down on distractions while driving. Unfortunately, some things you have no control over — such as your age or where you live — matter too. Use the information below to set yourself on the road to cheap auto insurance and smooth riding.

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Where can you find auto insurance for bad drivers?

As a high-risk driver, your auto insurance rates are bound to be higher than if you were a driver with a stellar record. In fact, those drivers get good driver discounts. Not to rub it in, but you should aim to be a good driver for that reason alone.

In the meantime, shop around. Some companies are far more willing to insure high-risk drivers than others. Depending on the reasons that you are flagged as a bad driver, some companies will be better suited to meet your needs. The only way to know is to compare.

Bad Driving Record Auto Insurance Requirements

In most states, auto insurance is compulsory even if you have a bad driving record. Although laws differ from state to state, failure to maintain auto insurance typically results in a license suspension.

You may also have to pay fines and reinstatement fees so you can have your driving privileges restored.

High-risk drivers pay $137.75/month more on average for auto insurance. Keep your record clean by avoiding speeding tickets and DUIs.

You may also have to pay fines and reinstatement fees so you can have your driving privileges restored.

The good news is that there are companies that specialize in providing car insurance for bad drivers. These drivers might need high-risk auto insurance.

In the insurance industry, these companies are referred to as “non-standard” auto insurance carriers.

Finding a Bad Driver Auto Insurance Company

It does not have to be hard for you to find non-standard auto insurance companies. One way is to contact an independent insurance agent in your area.

Independent agents work with multiple insurance companies, and some write business for companies that specialize in providing coverage for drivers who are difficult to insure.

Be honest about your driving history. The agent can tell you right away whether he or she represents a company that can help you.

If the agent does not work with a non-standard auto insurance carrier, he or she will advise you to contact another agent.

Providing your agent with correct information is critical to finding and securing bad driving record auto insurance. With the correct information, your agent can tell you upfront whether he or she can help you obtain insurance coverage.

With the correct information, your agent can tell you upfront whether he or she can help you obtain insurance coverage.

You likely won’t be able to find auto insurance that doesn’t check driving records. Omitting violations or accidents on your record will not help you because any insurance company the agent represents will pull your driving report before making a decision.

Non-standard car insurance companies also typically advertise online and through radio and television commercials.

You may be able to obtain a quote and start a policy directly through the company, instead of working with an agent. This allows you to obtain the coverage you need without having to leave your office or home.

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Getting SR-22 Bad Driver Insurance Coverage

If you have a bad driving history, you may need an SR-22 certification. This certification allows you to reinstate your driving privileges if your license has been suspended.

Non-standard auto insurance companies typically provide SR-22 filings for policyholders for a nominal fee. It is important to remember that you must maintain continuous insurance coverage in order to keep your SR-22 active.

If you miss a payment or the company cancels your policy, your driver’s license will be suspended in most states unless you have obtained replacement coverage.

Let your agent or company know that you need an SR-22 when you obtain a quote. Insurance companies do not search motor vehicle department records to determine if you require an SR-22 filing.

Insurance companies do not search motor vehicle department records to determine if you require an SR-22 filing.

Obtain Bad Driver Insurance Quotes Online

Because many non-standard auto insurance companies have websites that offer quoting engines, obtaining rates for car insurance coverage is a simple task. Different information will be required.

You may need to enter the serial number, also called a vehicle identification number, for each vehicle you want to insure. Also, you will need to enter the personal information and driving history for each driver covered under your policy.

You will the personal information and driving history for each driver covered under your policy.

After you have entered this information, you will receive a quote that reflects the rates you will pay for auto insurance coverage.

You can obtain quotes from websites that contain non-standard insurance companies to ensure that you are getting the best deal for your money.

In some cases, you can purchase your policy online after you have obtained a quote that meets your budget and reflects the coverages you need.

Some non-standard auto insurance companies give you the option to make your initial payment and installment payments with a debit card, credit card, or electronic check.

Bad Driver Auto Insurance Costs

Insurance companies base their rates on the probability of having to pay a claim. The cheapest bad driving record auto insurance depends upon insurance company rate classes. If you want to find the cheapest bad driving record auto insurance, compare rates from many companies.

Drivers with past accidents or violations are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents, which costs insurance companies money.

For this reason, non-standard car insurance companies typically charge higher rates than standard insurance carriers.

Fortunately, there are strategies that can help you minimize your auto insurance costs. Shopping around for coverage can help you obtain coverage at the lowest possible rates.

  • Now, you might be tempted to purchase a policy from the first company willing to accept you, but you should compare quotes online or through an agent to help reduce your costs.
  • You can also take advantage of policy discounts that non-standard car insurance carriers offer.
  • Most companies offer discounts for vehicle equipment such as anti-lock braking systems, anti-theft devices, and side curtain airbags.
  • If you are a college or high school student, you might also earn a discount if you maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Although finding bad driving record auto insurance can seem like a challenge, non-standard driving insurance companies can help you obtain insurance coverage, even if you have made past driving mistakes.

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How to Buy Auto Insurance with a Bad Driving Record

If you are a high-risk driver with accidents on your record, get online quotes from at least three different insurance companies. You can save up to $859 a year.

Comparing at least three different companies is a good way to start your search for cheap auto insurance for high-risk drivers.

Companies typically offer a free estimate or even an instant quote so you can easily compare and contrast what they’re offering. You can also focus on ways to reduce your rates.

Ways to Find the Best Insurance for a Bad Driving Record

You have several ways to find and tweak the best car insurance for a bad driving record to reduce your overall rates.

While these reduction methods may apply to any driver with any type of record, they can be especially helpful for those who are already paying more due to a bad driving record.

You should try increasing your deductible for your collision and comprehensive coverage. By doing this, you have more say over the type and level of the repairs made to your own vehicle.

Otherwise, you may have to pay more for repairing the vehicles of others under your liability coverage.

Washington’s Insurance Department also notes you can pay for smaller claims out of your own pocket, instead of running them through the insurance company.

By not filing claims unless absolutely necessary, your claims history will remain low.

Your payment method may also be a way to reduce your rates.

Your payment method may also be a way to reduce your rates. Paying for an entire year’s worth of coverage in one lump sum may come out cheaper than paying in monthly installments.

Car insurance companies may offer a discount for paying yearly rates all at once. This may also be a way to avoid monthly fees and services charges tacked onto your bill every time you make a payment.

Make sure that you are not duplicating insurance coverage. This can also help you trim some fat off your car insurance bill. For instance, if your health insurance already covers medical bills if you are in an accident, you can scale back on medical coverage under your car insurance plan.

Types of Bad Driver Auto Insurance Coverage

You may be able to scale back on other types of coverage in a bid to save money on your bad driving record auto insurance.

If your car would cost more to insure than it would be to replace, you may be able to forget about comprehensive or collision coverage altogether.

Of course, you do want to comply with state law and obtain the minimum amount of car insurance required for the state, but additional coverage is your choice.

Review state minimums and then decide how much extra coverage you would feasibly need. Also, make sure any insurance agent you talk to is not automatically including coverage you neither want nor need when they are offering a quote or drawing up a policy.

Also, make sure any insurance agent you talk to is not automatically including coverage you neither want nor need when they are offering a quote or drawing up a policy.

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What do insurance companies look for?

Your driving record and number of accidents may play a big part in your insurance rates, but they are not the only factors at play.

You can try to offset the high cost of insurance due to your accident record by making sure other factors on the list get you the lowest rates possible.

While some of the factors are beyond your control, others may be adjusted to keep your rates down.

Which factors are beyond my control?

Your age and gender are two factors that go into calculating your rates. The highest rates go to the highest risk group of drivers, which are those under age 25.

Males under age 25 boost insurance rates even further. That’s because they statistically have more accidents than female drivers under age 25 do.

Married couples typically have lower rates than singles, although you may not want to propose just to get an insurance break.

All members of your household are factors that go into calculating your insurance rates.

If you have a job that requires you to use your own vehicle, your rates may be higher than if you have a job that only requires you to drive to and from work.

Living in an area that is known for high crime and car thefts can increase your rates over lower-crime zones.

Congested urban areas typically merit higher rates than sparsely populated rural locations.

How can drivers lower their bad driving record insurance rates?

Even if your driving record is currently trashed, you can keep it as squeaky clean as possible going forward. In other words, focus on driving safely, obeying all traffic laws, and paying acute attention to the road.

Think about the following factors that you can adjust:

Lower rates generally come from lower mileage. Consider taking public transportation, carpooling, or even walking to reduce the mileage on your vehicle.

The make and age of your vehicle are other factors within your control. Cars that are frequently stolen are on the high end of the insurance cost scale, as are vehicles that cost a lot to repair.

You can ask insurance companies for estimates for insuring a specific type of vehicle before you actually buy that vehicle. They may be able to help guide you toward vehicles that are low-cost on their insurance list.

Your credit record may play a part in your insurance rates.

Like your driving record, you may not be able to fix your credit record in an instant. However, but you can employ measures to improve your credit going forward. Measures include paying your bills on time, paying off as much debt as possible, and not applying for many new accounts at once.

You may also want to review your credit record to ensure there are no mistakes on the record that could be bringing you down.

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How do I find discounts for my bad driver car insurance?

A few discounts that insurance companies offer may help shave money off your overall insurance rates.

For starters, companies may give you a reduced rate for insuring more than one vehicle with the company.

You may also have more than one policy type with a single company. For example, you can use one company for your house and auto insurance. When you bundle coverage like that, you could merit a break.

Your vehicle’s safety and security features can net you a discount, with the more the merrier. Security measures include car alarms, tracking devices, wheel locks, and brake locks.

Special Programs for Bad Drivers

If your driving record is particularly awful, some insurance companies may refuse to offer you insurance at all. Others may be willing to help you.

The Texas Department of Insurance points out that each company sets its own rules and what works for one may not be the same for another.

The Texas DOI also notes that the highest costs of insurance may come from some of the more serious traffic violations. These include:

  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Criminally negligent driving
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Driving under the influence

Some companies that refuse to insure high-risk drivers may be associated with other member companies that do. It never hurts to ask or do extra research.

One area to research while finding high-risk insurance would be programs that may be available in your state.

For instance, Texas has a state-run insurance program that may insure drivers that cannot obtain it elsewhere.

California also has a plan, known as the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP). Each insurance company in the state is required to take on CAARP applications, according to the California Department of Insurance.

While the rates may be different than you’d find through a traditional program, all CAARP rates are the same regardless of which company offers the insurance.

If you successfully maintain a good driving record for three years under the CAARP plan, you will be eligible to move from CAARP to a standard insurance policy.

Your state’s department of insurance may be able to guide you in the right direction and let you know if such a program exists for you.

State-run car insurance programs usually have very strict requirements and are one of the last places to look for insurance.

Exclusive Auto Insurance Deals for Good Drivers

You do not have to be a bad driver forever. Remember, just because you have a bad driving record and finding cheap auto insurance is more difficult than if you had a good driving record, that does not have to last forever.

Read on about some of the discounts you can utilize if you take the time to improve your driving record. The average cost of auto insurance in the US is $79.58/month, but you can save upwards of 45% on your bill with discounts for safe and defensive driving.

If you are a good driver, you are privy to a slew of discounts. Good drivers are generally rewarded by many auto insurance companies with exclusive deals.

  • Some of these exclusive deals may include good driver discounts and generous renewal provisions
  • Some companies will enroll good drivers into government programs for low-income motorists
  • There are even discounts for teen and young adult drivers.

While exact provisions and rewards vary from state to state, the overall message most state governments send is clear. If you are a good driver, you are going to get some breaks on your car insurance.

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Traits of a Good Driver

Before you can aim for good driver status, it’s helpful to know the term is defined. Although each state and each insurance company may have slight variations in the definition, a few general specifications usually apply.

In the most general sense, a good driver is someone who has a clean driving record with no violations in a certain amount of time. Some states, such as California, have the definition written into their propositions, as noted by the California Department of Insurance.

California’s Proposition 103 offers a legal definition of a good driver. It says good drivers are motorists who have had a driver’s license for at least three consecutive years and have only one or no points on their driving records.

If a motorist has had a severe violation, such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it stays on their record for seven years instead of three.

One more criterion for meeting the good driver definition is not being a driver in an accident in which someone was killed or a car was totaled or had damage of more than $500.

Insurance companies can make slight adjustments to the definition of what a good driver is. Some companies may be more generous than others with the definition and their discounts, but they typically share the same basic parameters.

Good Driver Discounts

Car insurance discounts are one of the major rewards for good drivers. They usually come in the form of reduced rates. The exact amount depends on your specific insurance plan.

Even if you go into a policy with a less-than-perfect driving record, the discount may be applied later if you maintain a good driving record. The opposite could also apply.

If you go into a policy with a good record and receive a good driver discount, you could lose that discount unless you keep your record free of violations and claims as per the company’s specifications. You may also see an increase in your insurance rates, according to the Illinois Department of Insurance.

Accidents and moving violations may put you in a higher risk category. Of course, insurance companies tend to offset risk by increasing rates.

Other Auto Insurance Discounts

The good driver discount is fairly standard but, you may be eligible for even more.

The Illinois DOI lists discounts for mature driver credits, low annual mileage, and money saved if you carpool.

Having safety devices and anti-theft protection on your vehicle often merits a discount.

Good Driver Rate Reduction

Most insurance companies offer lower rates to good drivers than they do to bad drivers. This usually applies even before you get to the good driver discounts.

Insurance companies in California must offer lower rates to good drivers, thanks once again to Proposition 103. In California, each insurance company must offer good drivers a rate that is 20% lower than the rates it would offer to bad drivers. Of course, California car insurance companies are free to reduce the rates even further, but they need to offer at least a 20 percent reduction.

Are there other ways for drivers to reduce their auto insurance rates?

Good drivers can reduce their rates even further by looking at the factors that go into calculating car insurance rates. Part of the equation includes age, gender, and marital status.

There are even more things you can change more easily to receive better rates. These factors include how frequently you drive and how many auto insurance claims you have filed in the past. Your credit record may play a part, as does your location and the type of vehicle you drive.

Good Driver New Policy and Renewal Provisions

Good drivers typically get the edge when searching for insurance. In fact, certain states go as far as to dictate good drivers cannot be turned down for auto insurance. California stands out once again with its Proposition 103.

California’s Proposition 103 says that every car insurance company licensed in the state has no choice but to offer coverage to those who fit the good driver definition. If you fit the definition and are turned down by any company, the state DOI urges you to contact them with the issue.

Not every state may have a similar proposition in place, but insurance companies are typically eager to insure good drivers. Just as bad drivers increase the risk and cost more to insure, good drivers reduce risk and cost less.

Good drivers may get another break when they renew their insurance. Companies typically review your driving record over the past year. If you have a good driving record, your insurer may choose to automatically renew your policy with no rate increases.

Renewal time may also be the point where good drivers receive their discounts.

California’s Proposition 103 once again comes into play as an example, with renewal specifications spelled out. It states that auto insurance companies must renew your policy once they issue it, with only three reasons as exceptions.

Your policy may not be renewed, and may even be canceled if you:

  • Increase the amount of hazard insurance against you with bad driving
  • Don’t pay your insurance bills
  • Are found guilty of fraud or misrepresentation

Good drivers are also generally less prone to policy cancellation unless they do not pay their insurance bills or otherwise violate the contract.

Good Driver Low Auto Insurance Programs

Being a good driver may make it easier for you to obtain insurance, regardless of your finances. Because auto insurance is a requirement in all states, certain states make it easier for those with lower income to obtain it if they have good driving records.

California once again serves as an example with its low-cost auto insurance program. The overall goal of the program is to decrease the number of uninsured drivers in the state. It does that by helping to make auto insurance as affordable as possible.

Other factors that make you qualified for the program include your household income and the value of your vehicle when you bought it. You must also live in a county that participates in the program.

Good drivers usually don’t rely on luck alone to stay safe and keep their driving records clean. Skill, experience, and safe driving practices are part of the mix.

Defensive driving courses and other driver education classes can be helpful for enhancing your driving skills. As an added bonus, they often merit yet another discount from many insurance companies.

You also have ways to improve your driving skills and driving record. As a good driver, you too can enjoy the deals that good drivers often get with their auto insurance.

Compare plenty of great deals on auto insurance by entering your ZIP code in our FREE tool below.

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