Car Insurance for Bad Drivers: What You Need to Know

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Car insurance for bad drivers: stressed man driving a car

Let’s face it: We aren’t all great behind the wheel. Maybe you’re a new driver without a lot of driving experience, or you tend to get stressed or nervous in unfamiliar places. Perhaps you just made a couple of poor decisions and have multiple speeding tickets

If any of this sounds familiar, you may wonder whether you can get car insurance with a bad driving record. You may also want to consider taking a defensive driving course to improve bad driving habits. But in the meantime, you’ll still need to maintain valid car insurance, so you’ll be covered if anything unfortunate happens on the road.

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Here’s everything you need to know about car insurance for bad drivers, including how to find an affordable car insurance policy if you fall into a high-risk category.

Key Takeaways:

  • Find the best way to look for affordable car insurance coverage even if you call into a high-risk category
  • Figure out if you’re considered a high-risk driver and why
  • Learn a few of the insurance carriers that offer the most competitive rates for high-risk drivers

What Is Car Insurance for Bad Drivers?

There isn’t a specific type of insurance policy for bad drivers, but depending on how frequent or serious your moving violations are, you might be considered high-risk by your insurance provider.

Essentially, you’ll have to pay a higher premium for the same type of car insurance coverage as other drivers. You might also be required to maintain higher coverage limits or a lower deductible because you’re considered more likely to file an insurance claim.

Other than that, car insurance for bad drivers works the same way as a standard insurance policy: You pay your insurer a monthly premium to obtain collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, liability coverage, or other coverage types.

The exception is if you have a reckless driving charge or DUI conviction on your record. If you’ve been caught driving under the influence, your state may require you to provide an SR-22 form (known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility) to show that you have sufficient car insurance coverage.

Who Is Considered a High-Risk Driver?

Aside from the obvious factors, such as having a DWI in your driving history, what else determines whether you fall into the high-risk category? Every insurance company uses its own methodology for setting auto insurance premiums, but the more traffic violations or car accidents you’re involved in, the more your insurance will rise.

Your insurance company may not send you a letter informing you that you’ve moved into a higher-risk category, but you may notice an increase in car insurance costs.

Auto insurance companies sometimes use other factors to label you a high-risk driver, such as a bad credit score. If that’s the case, you may be able to get better auto insurance rates by paying your premiums on time and building a good credit score.

What Kind of Car Insurance Coverage Should You Get?

Stressed woman sitting beside her damaged car

In most states, you’ll need to maintain a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage to drive legally on the road. There are a handful of states that don’t require you to have car insurance at all, but that’s definitely high-risk behavior that could lead to even bigger problems!

If you consider yourself a high-risk driver, you may want to take out a car insurance policy with more robust coverage or higher payout amounts to protect you if you get into an at-fault accident. Here are a few types of coverage to consider:

  • Liability insurance: This type of coverage kicks in when you’re in an at-fault car accident and coverage amounts vary from state to state. For example, in California, you’ll need a minimum of $15,000 bodily injury liability per person and $5,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • Collision coverage: This covers the cost of damage to your vehicle and is optional in many states. But if you’re a high-risk driver, it may be worth choosing a policy that will cover the total cost of repairs.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage is for situations outside your control, such as theft and natural disasters.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance or if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run.

Some of these coverage types are optional, so you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of getting the cheapest car insurance versus a policy that provides full coverage.

The Best Car Insurance Companies for Bad Drivers

You’ll need to get quotes from multiple insurers to find the best high-risk auto insurance for you. That’s because there isn’t a clear line between having a clean driving record and being a bad driver. The number, type, and severity of driving violations and accidents on your record will determine how much you’ll pay for car insurance.

That said, there are a few car insurance companies that offer car insurance for bad drivers. Here are just a few to consider:

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is a major insurance provider with an A+ rating from the BBB. In addition to the RightTrack mobile app to help improve your driving habits, Liberty Mutual offers coverage for motorcycles, classic cars, rideshare drivers, and more.

Liberty Mutual also offers car insurance discounts, such as a paid-in-full discount and a multi-policy discount, as well as Accident Forgiveness for eligible drivers.


Nationwide has been around since 1926 and offers car insurance coverage in 47 states and Washington, D.C. Its mobile tracking app is called SmartRide, and you’ll get a 10% discount just for signing up and up to 40% off based on your mileage.

Another option is its Vanishing Deductible program, which lowers your deductible by $100 for every year you don’t get into a car accident.


The American Automobile Association (AAA) is best known for its roadside assistance program, but it also offers car insurance. AAA insurance isn’t cheap, but you’ll benefit from knowing that your membership includes roadside assistance.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for AAA insurance based on your driving history:

Age Clean Driving Record Poor Driving Record
21 $310/month $480/month
30 $217/month $334/month
42 $186/month $289/month

How to Improve Bad Driving Habits

Just because you’re paying more for high-risk car insurance now doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever. Many drivers improve over time as they gain more experience behind the wheel. Here are a few more ways to improve your driving habits:

  • Take a defensive driving course: That driving course you took in high school may not have covered everything. And maybe it’s been a while since you’ve had formal lessons. Brush up with a defensive driving course. Many insurance companies will offer you a discount if you take an approved course.
  • Learn the laws of your state: In some states, it’s legal to drive through an intersection on a yellow light or turn right on red — but in other states, it’s not. If you’ve moved to a new state, you can avoid the most obvious infractions by learning which rules of the road apply.
  • Use a mobile app to track your driving habits: Some insurance companies use telematics to monitor your driving habits and give you safe driving tips in real-time. While these programs usually require you to opt-in, they can save you money, especially if your insurer offers a pay-per-mile option.

Find Cheap Car Insurance Today

Woman happily driving a car

Car insurance companies use your driving record to determine your car insurance rates, but they may also look at other factors such as your age and credit history. If you have a poor credit score or have just gotten your driver’s license, you may pay higher rates, even if you don’t have any infractions on your record.

Whether you consider yourself a bad driver or your insurance company does, you may need to shop around more to get the best rates on your auto insurance policy.

Simply enter your ZIP code here to compare car insurance for bad drivers side-by-side:

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