If you have had problems with your driving record, it can create a vicious cycle. Car insurance becomes more expensive, so you may be tempted to buy less of it. Some people even skip it entirely. Then they get pulled over.
That leads to serious legal consequences. Instead of having to pay for pricey bad driving record insurance, you may end up with a suspended license. In some cases, your driving privileges may even be revoked permanently.
Why You Might End Up with Car Insurance for Bad Drivers
Bad driving record insurance is usually needed for one of these reasons:
1. A History of Driving Without Insurance
Even one instance of driving without insurance can raise your monthly premiums by 8% – 10%. Insurance for bad drivers may be necessary if you have two or more convictions for driving without insurance. Most insurers do not consider “failure to provide proof of insurance” quite as serious.
2. A History of Auto Accidents
A single auto accident can raise your car insurance premiums 20% or more. In several states, insurers take the facts of the case into account – you may pay less if you were not found responsible for the wreck. In others, particularly “no fault” car insurance states, the details have less influence.
3. A History of Driving While Intoxicated
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) may be the fastest way to lose regular car insurance in most states. In addition to alcohol, you can be penalized for driving after using marijuana in several areas, including some where cannabis is legal for adult recreational use.
If you have one or two incidents, you don’t simply lose your ability to buy car insurance. Instead, insurers will offer you higher and higher rates. This makes it more difficult to afford car insurance beyond basic protection.
If you continue having problems on the road, most states allow car insurers to refuse to cover you. In states where this is more common, there are often government programs to help you maintain insurance.
Three Types of Car Insurance for Bad Drivers You Might Require
There are three kinds of special “car insurance for bad drivers” that can be required in some cases:
1. SR-22 High Risk Driver Insurance
SR-22 is a special vehicle liability endorsement for high risk drivers. It can be enforced for any reason listed above as well as for having multiple traffic offenses in a short time or failing to pay court-ordered child support.
A court will let you know if you are expected to hold SR-22 insurance as a condition of driving.
The SR-22 endorsement lets authorities know you are carrying at least the minimum car insurance required by law. In some cases, the endorsement can be added to an existing insurance policy.
Not all car insurers offer SR-22 insurance. Likewise, even though SR-22 does not represent a higher level of coverage, insurers in many states are permitted to charge more for it than for an equivalent policy.
You are generally required to hold SR-22 for about three years after the qualifying event.
2. Comprehensive Car Insurance
Comprehensive Coverage is not usually enforced by a court. Instead, it may be required by your lender if you are paying off a car. This coverage helps them recover their losses in the event the car is damaged or destroyed.
Comprehensive Coverage defrays the cost of a variety of incidents not normally covered by car insurance. For example, it can pay for repair or replacement in the event a car is stolen or defaced in an act of vandalism.
If you are required to hold Comprehensive Coverage, it will be in addition to your regular car insurance. You will be expected to hold it for as long as it takes you to pay off the covered vehicle. If you let the coverage lapse, the lender may be empowered to repossess the vehicle.
3. Non-Standard High Risk Auto Insurance
Some car insurers offer a specialized type of high risk auto insurance. This is intended exclusively as insurance for bad drivers. It may offer special rates and eligibility conditions as well as more protection than the minimum required by law. Not all insurers provide non-standard insurance for bad drivers.
Getting a Better Deal on Auto Insurance for Bad Drivers
It can be difficult to find bad driving record insurance that’s truly affordable. Over time, you can improve your driving record and ultimately reduce the car insurance rates you pay. When you are brand new to high risk insurance, however, you’ll need to put in extra time researching the best car insurance deals.
Some options to pay less for car insurance include:
1. Get Insurance Through a Public Agency
In some states, high risk drivers can apply for subsidized car insurance through a public agency. This is a way of ensuring drivers can continue to commute to and from work while following the rules. Costs can be very low.
However, not all states offer this option. Plus, you could find yourself facing additional restrictions on where and when you can drive. Still, this is a sound temporary solution while you look for better deals on car insurance.
2. Take Defensive Driving Courses
Some insurance companies are willing to reduce rates if you show you are committed to safe driving.
One step that can get you car insurance discounts is taking a defensive driving course. This will help you recognize unsafe driving conditions and avoid road hazards.
These courses can cost as little as a few dollars but may save you hundreds over time.
3. Ask for a Reassessment
You can ask your car insurance company to reassess their rates for you at any time.
Some things that may reduce your rates include:
- No additional traffic citations in a year or more
- Maintaining your vehicle
- Moving to a lower risk area
- Raising your credit score
Plus, this gives you an opportunity to explain your situation and demonstrate you have turned over a new leaf. You may be given a probationary lower rate contingent on continued road safety.
4. Make Your Car Safer
Insurers don’t actually take a car’s color into account when setting a policy. But they do like some vehicles more than others. These days, SUVs are generally cheaper to insure than sedans because they are seen as safer.
Even a used car could be cheaper to insure than your current vehicle if it has superior safety features. When you talk to an insurance agency representative, you can often learn exactly what safety criteria are in use.
Installing something like a vehicle backup camera on your current car or truck may also help. Ask your prospective insurer for details.
5. Compare Car Insurance Online
No matter what your situation is, the way to find the best deals on car insurance is to compare car insurance policies online. By going online, you can find the lowest rates faster. Accurate, up-to-date car insurance quotes will help you save more money even if your driving record isn’t great.
You can compare car insurance with Cheap Insurance right now. Contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.