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What Makes You A High-Risk Driver?

Close up of a man in his car handing license to police officer to illustrate what makes you a high-risk driver.

A high-risk driver is a motorist who insurance companies consider more likely to file a car insurance claim. Insurance companies play a “betting” game. Underwriters decide which drivers are considered at higher risk for getting into accidents, based on their previous driving record. The highest premiums are reserved for these drivers. To find cheap car insurance, drivers should keep a clean driving record with little to no claims.

If you’re labeled a high-risk driver, your insurance premium is probably more expensive than other drivers, since the insurer uses your profile and your driving history as an indicator of safe and responsible driving. The higher the possibility that they’ll have to pay for damaged property and medical bills, the more you’ll pay for your auto insurance.

Reasons for Being Labeled a High-Risk Driver

There are many reasons you may be labeled a high-risk driver. Most have to do with some type of driving infraction. Driving without insurance and driving while impaired or under the influence are fairly common reasons someone might be labeled as high risk. Some reasons you may be considered a high-risk motorist include:

  • Having a lapse in auto insurance coverage.
  • Having too many tickets, violations, and/or accidents within a year.
  • Having poor credit (although this is changing).
  • Receiving a DUI or DWI.
  • Being a young driver with little experience.
  • Being involved in multiple accidents, regardless of who is at fault.

Obviously, if you have a record of traffic violations or accidents, it will indicate to insurance companies that you may be a high-risk driver. But your driver profile may include things that you cannot change, such as your age.

Other Factors That Impact Your Driver Profile

Even with a perfect driving record, there may be parts of your profile that you aren’t able to change, such as your age, gender, location, and distance from work. Based on statistics, auto insurance companies favor certain groups as safer and lower risk. This includes:

  • Women over men
  • Adults over teenagers
  • Rural residents over urban residents
  • Parents and those who are married over most single drivers

If you are under 25 years of age, are a new driver, are a male, are a student, have a history of filing claims, or have bad credit you may be automatically placed in a high-risk category. However, there are steps you can take to help prove that you’re a responsible driver, thus showing you’re less of a liability to them.

Young drivers belong to a group that is considered risky. Through no fault of your own, if you are young and a new driver, you’ll be placed in this group and your car insurance rates will likely be high. Collectively, this group unfortunately has more accidents – and more serious accidents – than any other group. Car crashes are the second leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S.

Because more accidents and personal injury lawsuits happen in congested areas, those who live in the city will most likely pay a higher car insurance premium than those who live in rural areas. Married parents are seen as less risky than those still living the single life. These motorists are not necessarily considered high-risk drivers, but their premiums will be higher.

Some states still allow car insurance companies to base auto insurance premiums on factors that include credit history, although there is movement to eliminate this. It is illegal to use credit history in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts. Other states limit how much a driver’s credit history may bear on his or her rates. Many people feel that this practice is prejudicial toward those with low incomes.

African American man looks at damage from car wreck while holding cell phone

Moving Out of the High-Risk Driver Category

Nobody wants to be considered a high-risk driver. The cost is undeniable. In most cases, time and patience will help you get better car insurance rates. Here are some steps you can take to help lower your premium.

Young Drivers

Young drivers can often find less expensive insurance if they take a young drivers defensive driving course and maintain a good average at school. These two things will help them qualify for good student and defensive driving car insurance discounts. Other than that, remember that time is on your side, but it is imperative to go into your 20s with a perfect driving history behind you.

Single Adults

Single young adults get a higher premium quote because they haven’t “settled” down to the responsibilities of being married with children. Although this may seem unfair, single adults do have options. Take a defensive driving course and keep a stellar driving record. Never miss an insurance payment and pay upfront or use auto-pay if you can. Again, time is on your side as once you hit your late 20s, your rates will drop.

Credit History

If your poor credit history is impacting your car insurance rates, it is likely impacting your life and the bills you pay in a negative way, as well. Take some time to learn good budgeting tools and work on raising your credit.

DUI, Driving Without Insurance and Other Infractions

In most cases, these types of reasons why you pay higher insurance rates means time is going to be your best friend. There may not be a quick and easy way to improving your profile. Lowering your risk as a driver by establishing or re-establishing a good driving record will slowly work in your favor. The longer you’ve been a driver with a reputable driving history, the more appealing you’ll be to insurance carriers.

It is possible to find DUI car insurance for people who have been convicted. Many insurers won’t take a risk on these drivers, so it will be necessary to find one that offers DUI solution coverage.

Get Affordable Auto Insurance Quotes For All Drivers Online Today

Freeway Insurance can get you insured, regardless of your driving record. Request a free high-risk car insurance quote online and compare rates to find an auto insurance policy that fits your needs and budget. You can also visit us at one of our convenient locations or give us a call at (800) 777-5620.

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