Why Is It Harder to Get Auto Insurance with a Bad Driving Record?

Angry male driver
It's usually harder for motorists with poor driving records to find auto insurance because coverage providers generally look at accident risk when rating potential customers to get an idea of the likelihood they will file a claim in the near future. A person who has a history of accidents or moving violations is often considered to be a greater risk, and since most insurers would prefer to insure lower-risk motorists, drivers with bad records are either charged more for protection or denied coverage entirely.

Finding vehicle protection as a nonstandard motorist—another term for a high-risk driver—requires additional research, more extensive quote comparisons, and sometimes the use of special programs provided by state governments. One of the best ways for any motorist to search for affordable protection is to compare sample rates online. Helpful resources on the Internet can let drivers see dozens of estimates at once, allowing people to efficiently evaluate their options. If vehicle owners can’t find a willing insurer on the voluntary market, they will have to investigate alternative sources of coverage.

Many states provide insurance placement programs that assign high-risk motorists to policy providers, as long as they meet specific requirements. For example, drivers in the Buckeye State can take advantage of the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan to meet state financial responsibility requirements. Although these programs provide the necessary coverages to legally drive, being unable to choose an insurer can often lead to higher policy prices. Ohio regulators note that being enrolled in the plan may include rates "which could be higher than even the high-risk companies."

Motorists asking what is the cheapest car insurance for riskier drivers may be pleased to learn that insurers usually acknowledge accidents and moving violations from only the past three years. If vehicle owners are able to maintain a clean record for an extended period of time, their coverage costs will likely decrease. Many companies may not automatically reduce premiums, so it's important for policyholders to ask an insurer to periodically rerate a policy.

If a higher-risk driver manages to maintain a clean driving record for an extended period of time, he or she may also want to try shopping around once again for the lowest rates. People can compare quotes online with minimal effort and at no cost.
Startled male driver
It is important for vehicle owners to note that they could easily enter the nonstandard market if convicted of certain offenses. If motorists are convicted of criminally negligent driving, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving without a license, they could face surcharges as high as 60 percent. In some instances, an insurance company may nonrenew a policy or cancel existing coverage if they find out that the policyholder was convicted of such violations.