While insurance for bad drivers is going to cost more than insurance for standard drivers, it’s possible to get affordable car insurance even with a bad driving record. If you’re looking for insurance with a bad driving record, do a little quote comparison shopping and take advantage of every possible way to cut costs. Run the numbers, and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Once you’ve found affordable car insurance, work hard to make that bad driving record a thing of the past. Take care to obey the rules of the road and keep your car in good working order. Once your violations are no longer part of your record, which usually takes three years, you’ll likely qualify for lower rates.
How a Bad Driving Record Affects Your Insurance Rates
The difference between your insurance rates and a standard driver’s rates depends on the types of violations on your driving record. Traffic tickets usually stay on a record for three years, but it could be longer depending on your insurer and your state. Any accident for which you were at fault will raise premiums: even minor accidents will result in higher payments. A speeding conviction can mean paying thousands more in premiums, depending on where you live. Reckless driving violations could potentially double your premium in some areas.
Arguably the most serious charge, and the one that raises insurance premiums the most, is a conviction for driving under the influence. Your state may require that a DUI remain on your record for a decade or more.
How Insurers Look at Driving Violations
Any of these violations can place you in the high-risk driver category. The good news is that insurance carriers vary in how much weight they give to any violation (based partially on state laws). If you have a history of traffic tickets (or for not showing up in traffic court), you may find that some insurers charge much less in premiums for these offenses than other insurers. This makes selecting the right car insurance carrier especially important. Search for affordable car insurance with your individual driving violations or prior accidents as a priority.
Always know the status of your driving violations. Once the violation drops off your driving record, reach out to your insurance company right away and make sure that they’re no longer considering that violation when setting your rate.
How to Keep Car Insurance Affordable
While drivers with bad records can expect to pay more for insurance, there are many ways to lower your premiums while you wait for the violations to be dropped.
If you own your car outright, meaning you aren’t leasing it or paying it off, and if it makes sense for your car insurance needs, consider reducing costs by cutting your comprehensive and collision coverage. However, this isn’t usually an option for leaseholders or those with car loans, as lenders typically require full coverage insurance. Cutting comprehensive and collision coverage can be a way to lower car insurance expenses if your vehicle is older with high mileage.
Trade in your vehicle
If you have a newer vehicle with low miles, you might save money by trading that vehicle in for a smaller, less expensive vehicle that’s cheaper to insure and maintain.
Raise your deductible
Raising your deductible can also help keep your insurance premium low, even if you have a bad driving record. You will have to pay more out-of-pocket with a higher deductible if there is an accident, but if you remain collision-free, you’ll save money on your insurance.
However, a high deductible is not the best option for everyone. If you can’t afford to pay more out of pocket if your car does need repairs, stick with the lower deductible. You don’t want to get yourself into a situation where the car is not usable because repairs are too expensive. Use the General’s® award-winning mobile app to decide the right deductible for your needs.
Boost your credit score
A good credit score assists you in so many ways. You can qualify for lower interest rates on all kinds of loans and pay less in credit card fees. Improving your credit score will also lower your auto insurance premiums! Insurers consider drivers with poor credit to be far riskier than those with higher scores, and those with lower scores end up paying more money for insurance coverage.
How do you raise your credit score? It’s important to pay all your bills on time, always. Pay down balances on credit card debt and avoid opening new credit card accounts. Credit reporting bureaus rely heavily on credit utilization ratios (CRUs) when it comes to scoring. A CRU is an amount of credit you have versus the amount you use. For example, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit and you owe $2,500, your CRU is 50 percent. Insurers like to see a CRU of around 30 percent.
Check your credit score online and find out which factors are keeping you from getting a better score. When you know exactly which issues are responsible for keeping your score low, you can start fixing them.
Compare car insurance quotes
The best way to find insurance for bad drivers is by comparison shopping. If you know what cost-cutting measures to pursue, you could find that your high-risk auto insurance doesn’t cost a lot more than a standard policy.
Get a minimum of three car insurance quotes for comparison’s sake. Always give correct information when applying for online quotes, since the insurance company will check your driving history and learn if you’re not honest. When you leave out information, any quotes you receive won’t be valid.
Usually, the three quotes are in the same ballpark. Differences exist, but if one company is a lot cheaper than the other two, find out why before buying the coverage. It’s important to compare apples to apples. Understand the kind of coverage you need as an individual and what the policy offers.
How to Keep Car Insurance Affordable
As we know, life happens. That’s why there are so many drivers out there looking to balance cheap car insurance with a bad driving record. One way to keep rates affordable is by paying out-of-pocket for certain minor collisions. Most insurance companies require drivers to report all accidents involving other vehicles and failure to do so can result in a loss of coverage.
However, there are circumstances in which it may make more sense to pay for the damage yourself without reporting the accident, and avoid worrying about increasing your premiums. If you hit an object on your own property, such as a mailbox or tree, take your car to the repair shop and receive an estimate. Look online to see how much such a collision would raise insurance premiums in your state, on average. Calculate the repair costs minus your deductible and figure out how much your premiums will increase, if at all. You will be able to determine quickly if paying for the repairs yourself is the cheaper option.
Note that this alternative is only possible when you damage your car on your own property and whatever you hit also belongs to you. In other words, there is no other party involved. If you have a similar collision but hit your neighbor’s mailbox, you must report the accident to your insurer if required by your policy, since another party, your neighbor, is now involved. Check your policy to know what is required by your insurer should you get into an accident.
Insurance for Bad Drivers
Not every company offers insurance for bad drivers. That’s why you should go with a company specializing in covering high-risk drivers. Since 1965, The General® has provided cheap car insurance for bad driving records. Our reputation for helping those with bad driving records obtain coverage is second to none.
At The General®, in most states, we can file your SR22 certificate while helping you buy an affordable car insurance policy. Since this filing fee is included in your insurance quote, there are no hidden charges. Just make sure to let us know you need an SR-22 filing when you go online for your free quote.
We offer our high-risk customers the same flexible payment options as standard drivers. You can pay via debit or credit card or in cash, and when it comes to car insurance, we want to make the entire process as quick, easy, and affordable as possible, and we succeed. Get a car insurance quote in under two minutes and ride with The General today.