Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for Drivers With a Bad Driving Record

A bad driving record can put you in the high-risk category, but you still have auto coverage options. Here’s how to find affordable coverage with a bad driving record.

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If you have a recent speeding ticket or accident on your record, you’ve probably had trouble finding affordable car insurance. Not only is insurance more expensive if you’re a bad driver, but insurers can even deny you coverage, which makes getting cheap car insurance even more difficult.

The good news is that several car insurance companies cover bad drivers — some even specialize in this type of “non-standard” coverage. And no matter your driving record, you have multiple ways to save on your premiums.

Key Takeaways:

  • Insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine your risk level, including your driving history, credit, age, gender, and more.
  • A bad driving record can cause your car insurance premiums to increase, especially if you have serious violations, like DUIs.
  • You can save money by shopping around for coverage, using discounts, and driving more safely, even if you have a bad driving record.

How Auto Insurance Companies View Bad Drivers

police officer writing a driver a ticket

Your overall risk heavily affects auto insurance — both your accessibility to it and your rates. Depending on your personal characteristics, insurance companies may classify you as a high-risk driver, meaning you’re likely to pay more for auto insurance or even struggle to get a policy.

Each insurance company uses its own formula to determine your risk level and set premiums, meaning there’s no universal definition of a high-risk driver. Still, they all rely on the same basic factors.

First, there are a handful of insurance risk factors that you have little control over. For example, your age, gender, and location can all affect your risk level. But you can still control plenty of other important factors, such as your driving record and credit history.

Generally speaking, insurers consider people with good credit and a clean driving history to be low-risk drivers, rewarding them with lower rates. Meanwhile, someone with poor credit or several violations on their driving record is more likely to be considered high-risk.

Let’s take a look at exactly how each affects your car insurance rates.

How a Bad Driving Record Impacts Your Rates

Your driving record has a significant effect on your insurance premiums. A clean driving history will help you land the best insurance premiums, while having one or more violations on your record generally means you’ll pay higher rates.

The table below breaks down how average car insurance rates changed based on different infractions.

Driving History Average Monthly Premium % Increase
Clean driving record $129
Speeding ticket $173 34%
At-fault accident $189 47%
DUI $258 100%

Insurers tend to increase premiums after an incident — such as a speeding ticket, at-fault accident, or DUI conviction — because it generally means you’re a riskier driver. In other words, they think you’re more likely to file a claim that will cost them money in the future.

You can expect to see higher premium increases after more serious violations. For example, the average rate for someone with a DUI is considerably higher than the premium for someone with a speeding ticket because it’s a more serious offense.

How long will incidents stay on your record?

The length of time a driving infraction affects your insurance premiums depends on the type of incident, where you live, and your insurance company. In most cases, a speeding ticket will remain on your driving record for three to five years, depending on your state’s laws. Once the state removes the ticket from your driving record, it won’t affect your premiums.

Cheapest Car Insurance for Bad Drivers

police sirens

Insurance premiums can vary significantly from one insurer to the next. Some companies — often called “non-standard” insurers — offer more affordable rates for people with poor driving histories.

As we mentioned earlier, each insurance company uses its own formula to set insurance premiums. As a result, an incident on your driving record won’t have the same effect on your rates with all insurance companies. And it’s not just that certain insurers offer more affordable rates to bad drivers — it also depends on the type of violation, where you live, and other factors.

For example, one insurer may offer the lowest rates for a driver with a speeding ticket but above-average rates for someone with a DUI. Similarly, an insurer could offer the best rates for bad drivers in one state but not in another. For that reason, it’s important to take these averages with a grain of salt and shop around for your own rates.

The table below showcases the seven cheapest car insurance companies for drivers with tickets, accidents, and DUIs on their records.

Insurance Company Average Monthly Premium
USAA $99
State Farm $108
Erie $116
GEICO $117
Auto-Owners $121
American Family $128
Progressive $148

USAA has the cheapest average premiums for drivers with spotty records, but because it’s specifically for military members and their families, not all drivers will qualify for coverage. State Farm is the next-cheapest option, followed closely by Erie and GEICO.

But at the end of the day, lots of personal factors affect your rates. The only way to find out which company has the best rates for you is by comparing quotes from as many companies as possible.

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How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance With a Bad Driving Record

police officer writing a driver a ticket

If you have a bad driving record, it’s more important than ever to find ways to lower your auto insurance premiums. Because bad drivers can pay upwards of $100 more per month than someone with a clean record, any effort to lower your rates can make a big difference.

Here are a few of the best ways to save:

Take advantage of discounts

Just about every car insurance company offers discounts to help customers lower their premiums. For example, you can get a discount by bundling your auto insurance policy with other insurance products, like your homeowners or renters insurance policy. You can also save by driving a safe vehicle, being a good student, paying your premiums up front, and more.

Drive safely

If you have recent traffic violations on your driving record, the damage is already done to your insurance premiums. But changing your driving habits moving forward can help you save on future premiums.

Many insurance companies offer claims-free or accident-free discounts, where you save after a certain number of years without a violation. While you may not qualify today, driving safely from now on can help you qualify in the future.

You can save more quickly by signing up for a usage-based insurance program. Many insurers offer discount programs for allowing them to track your driving habits. You can often get a discount just for signing up for the program, as well as additional savings for demonstrating safe driving habits.

Improve your credit

We’ve already established that your credit history is just one factor that insurers use to determine your insurance premiums. In most states, you can save money on your premiums by having a good or excellent credit score. But using your credit history to determine insurance premiums is prohibited in several states, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

Shop around for coverage

Perhaps the most important way to get cheaper car insurance is to shop around for coverage and compare car insurance quotes from as many companies as possible. Because rates can vary so much from one insurer to another, your best chance at finding the best rates is to have plenty to compare.

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What to Do If You Get Denied Car Insurance Coverage

stop sign

Unfortunately, falling into the high-risk category of drivers doesn’t just mean you pay higher insurance premiums. It could also result in companies denying you auto insurance coverage altogether. If this happens to you, there are a few steps you can take to get the coverage you need.

Apply for high-risk auto insurance

Some insurers specifically offer high-risk auto insurance for those drivers who may not be able to get coverage elsewhere. This coverage is ideal for drivers with bad credit or many violations on their records. A quick online search for high-risk car insurance can help you identify which companies may offer this type of policy, but non-standard insurers like The General, SafeAuto, Direct General, and Dairyland are good places to start.

Keep in mind that if you find a high-risk policy, you may still pay higher premiums based on your credit history, age, driving history, and other factors. But maintaining coverage is vital if you want to legally drive and avoid costly rate hikes later.

Get added to another policy

If you don’t qualify for your own insurance policy, someone else in your household may be able to add you to their policy. For example, your parent, significant other, or even roommate could add you to their policy. If you share a vehicle, you may even be able to join the policy of someone you don’t live with.

But keep in mind that if you have a poor driving record, the policy’s insurance premium will most likely increase, especially if the current policyholder is a low-risk driver.

Check for state programs

Some states offer special programs to ensure high-risk drivers have access to auto insurance. For example, Maryland Auto, formerly known as the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, is a statewide program that provides liability coverage to high-risk drivers. You can qualify for this program if you’ve been denied coverage elsewhere.

While not all states offer this type of program, you can contact your state’s insurance agency to find out if you’re eligible for similar coverage.

Reduce your risk

Though taking steps to reduce your risk level may not help you get insurance coverage today, it can be a long-term solution for your auto insurance needs. You can take steps today to improve your credit and driving history and ensure you won’t be denied auto coverage in the future.

FAQs About Car Insurance for Bad Drivers

If you have a bad driving record or spotty credit history, you may have trouble finding adequate or affordable auto insurance. Here’s some additional information that can help you in your search.

Is there an auto insurance company that doesn’t check your driving record?

No, you probably won’t be able to find an insurance company that won’t check your driving record before giving you a policy. Still, several insurers offer insurance to high-risk drivers, even people with poor driving records.

Who is considered a high-risk driver?

There’s no set definition of a high-risk driver — it usually varies by insurer. Insurers generally consider you a high-risk driver if you have poor credit, have multiple violations on your record, are a brand-new driver, or need to have an SR-22 certificate on file.

What do you do if you’re denied coverage as a high-risk driver?

If your insurance company denies you coverage because you’re a high-risk driver, you may be able to get coverage by shopping for a high-risk auto policy, joining someone else’s policy, or looking into statewide insurance programs for high-risk drivers.


Data scientists at analyzed more than 50 million real-time auto insurance rates from more than 75 partner insurance providers in order to compile the quotes and statistics seen in this article.’s auto insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers’ vehicles, driving records, insurance histories, and demographic information.

All the quotes listed in this article have been gathered from a combination of real quotes and external insurance rate data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. uses these observations to provide drivers with insight into how auto insurance companies determine their premiums.


  1. Insurance Information Institute, “What Determines the Price of an Auto Insurance Policy?,” accessed March 1, 2024.
  2. Insurance Information Institute, “Do auto insurance premiums go up after a claim?,” accessed March 1, 2024.
  3. Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, “Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance,” accessed March 1, 2024.
  4. National Conference of State Legislatures, “States Consider Limits on Insurers’ Use of Consumer Credit Info,” accessed March 1, 2024.

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