Many people consider themselves to be good drivers. Those who consider themselves to be good drivers know how to maneuver curvy roads in the mountains and how to navigate icy, snow-covered roads in the middle of a blizzard.
Those who consider themselves good drivers can have just as many problems as those who do not. Good drivers can be in accidents and they can receive speeding tickets. Once good drivers begin to build a record, they become “high-risk drivers.” This makes it difficult to find affordable car insurance and it can actually raise rates three times higher than what a good driver pays.
What is a high-risk driver?
Car insurance agents check driving records and credit scores before they sell car insurance and they place each driver into one of three categories. The Insurance Information Institute defines the categories as:
Nonstandard: Young drivers or drivers with long records of tickets, accidents, reckless driving, or drunk driving issues. They are considered high-risk drivers.
Standard: Drivers with good records who may have had a speeding ticket once or twice, but otherwise, they are safe drivers.
Preferred: Drivers with blemish-free driving records and they get the lowest rates with the best coverage and deductibles.
There is another category for drivers who cannot get insurance at all. In order for an uninsurable driver to find insurance, he or she will need to go through the “assigned risk” insurance pool that each state has for those who cannot get their own insurance. There are several steps to getting this type of insurance and the rates are incredibly higher than what a standard driver would pay.
How to Fall Into a High-Risk Ranking
Cheap car insurance for non-standard drivers might be tricky to find, but it’s out there. A poor driving record is one way to get classified as a high-risk driver, but there are a few other ways to get into the category, too. They include:
Bad credit rating: Your credit score cannot keep you from getting car insurance, but it can affect the rate that your insurance company gives you.
Cancelled insurance policy: Failing to pay your car insurance or having your policy cancelled for some other reason will make it more challenging to get a new policy. If you do get a new policy, you will pay more for it.
Having no record: New teenage drivers are some of the most expensive drivers to insure. Even if they have not had any accidents, drivers under the age of 25 are considered to be “high risk” by insurance companies.
Your career: If you drive for a living, you could be considered a high-risk driver simply because of the number of hours you are on the road.
What you drive: If you have a car that is more expensive to repair or is a high-performance sports car, you could have higher insurance rates, too.
What If You Have a “High Risk” Label
If you have been denied car insurance, do not give up. You can probably find a car insurance company that will sell you a policy so you do not have to buy from the state’s insurance pool.
If you can keep your record clean for three years to five years, you can get rid of the high risk label. You should also learn about the points system that your state assigns to tickets. Some points disappear after three years and some stick around for ten or more years. It does not hurt to have your insurance company occasionally review your record to see if your record has improved.