Insurance for Bad Drivers
Have you had a few tickets lately? Perhaps you've had a fender bender or two? Perhaps you're worried about your insurance going up. Maybe you're even worried about being denied coverage.
What can you do?
First of all, not all people with a few tickets and a fender bender are actually considered a high-risk insurance prospect. More factors decide this than you may expect. Here are the big ones:
- Driving record. Your driving record is an obvious impact on your insurability. Everybody knows that at-fault accidents will increase your rates, but even tickets and not-at-fault accidents can too. Why? For every speeding ticket you get, your chances of being involved in a traffic accident rise by 100%, and being involved in multiple car accidents, (even if you're "not at fault") may suggest a pattern of reckless driving. Remember that insurance companies live and die by statistics and that means they aren't looking at you as an individual. They are looking at the data on you and making a decision about whether you are a good risk or a bad one.
- Personal profile. Your personal profile takes into account your gender, your age and other personal characteristics. Unfortunately, this is an area you can't do much about, and it's also ruled by statistics. Insurance companies will always consider men a greater risk than women, teens greater than adults and urban dwellers greater than rural folk. It's all in the stats.
- Continuous coverage. Whether you've carried auto insurance coverage continuously over the past few years will affect your ability to get a policy now. Continuous coverage establishes a record of your insurability and also proves that you've been driving with proper coverage. While it may not seem like a big deal to you, it's a big deal to the insurance company.
- Your credit history. Now this may not seem fair, but your credit is a factor that increasingly influences other areas of your life, including insurance. Statistics show that drivers with poor credit file more auto insurance claims, and so companies use this info to classify high-risk drivers. Again, insurance companies really like statistics, because this is the way they evaluate risk.
Well, if you are considered a high-risk driver, what can you do?
There are things you can do to get yourself out of this category. It may take some time, but it will be worth it. First on the list would be changing some basic behaviors (like cleaning up a bad driving record by driving the speed limit and paying your bills on time).
But, there are a few things you can do to cut high-risk auto insurance costs now. Consider driving an older car and dropping collision and comprehensive coverages. Or, if you can accept the risk, carry lower amounts of other standard coverages.
There are insurance companies who specialize in high-risk drivers. One of the best ways to find one is to shop online. You can get quotes right away with many online services. You may even be able to comparison shop between several offers! With the internet, you don't have to hunt around in person wasting valuable time and effort. More often than not, you'll get several quotes from one application. However, expect to pay substantially higher premiums to match your high-risk status. You might also have less-attractive coverage options to choose from, but at least you'll be covered!
Are you in a real bind? Even if the high risk Agents won't touch you, there's still hope! Every state has some kind of program that helps the uninsurable get insured by entering the state's "shared" market. Your risk is "shared" among all the auto insurance companies in this pooled market. The insurance rates are quite steep (sometimes triple the average premium) and it covers only general liability, but you'll meet the lawful requirements and have some protection in case of an accident. Contact an agent or your state insurance commissioner for more information.