Insurance is mandatory for drivers across the country. How much you pay for liability coverage depends on your age, driving record and a variety of personal factors. It’s the insurance company’s responsibility to assess the level of risk and determine the likelihood of your filing a claim. Insurance rates depend on where you drive, how much you drive and where you park your car. Premiums are also determined by your personal history, driving record and past claims. All drivers have some level of risk. Yours might be higher or lower depending on your history.
What is a High-Risk Driver?
Just like teen drivers pay more for insurance, some adult drivers have increased rates because they fall in a high-risk category. Usually, high-risk drivers have let their insurance lapse or have driven without any insurance for some time. Intoxicated driving and reckless driving will put you in the high-risk category as will multiple tickets, traffic violations and unpaid fines. High risk car insurance allows these drivers to purchase coverage if they pay more based on the increased chances of a claim being filed. It’s also possible that drivers will be denied altogether or won’t be able to receive coverage through their preferred provider. For more information: www.carinsurance.about.com
Am I a High-Risk Driver?
If you have a poor driving record or convictions, companies won’t want to insure you. The same is true if you were caught driving without insurance or without a license. In other cases, you might not understand why your rates are so high. One thing that you can do is request a copy of your driving record by visiting your local DMV website. If you’ve been in an accident or filed a number of claims, order a free copy of your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) auto claims report from LexisNexis Personal Reports. Car and home insurance companies track your claims and use this information to assess your risk. You should also know that many companies check your credit score when calculating premiums.
High Risk Car Insurance Options
As a rule, high-risk drivers pay more for car insurance and have fewer options. Follow the same guidelines that you would when shopping for traditional car insurance. Contact several licensed insurance companies, and compare rates. Premiums can be as much as 60 percent higher compared to low-risk drivers. These surcharges generally apply for three years. In addition to comparing rates online or through brokers like InsuranceHero.ca, there are other steps you can take to lower your risk and insurance costs. Make sure that any fines and tickets have been resolved, and let your insurance company know. You could also drop comprehensive and collision coverage or use a less expensive car. Completing a defensive driving course is another way to reduce your risk and get points taken off your license. In extreme situations, you may receive repeated denials. Some states have special insurance pools to cover drivers who can’t get coverage on their own.
Auto insurance is a necessity that protects you financially if you damage another vehicle or injure another driver. Even if you’re a high-risk driver, you should do your best to adopt safe driving practices. Checking your CLUE report and driving record are the best ways to ensure that insurance companies are using accurate, current information. If you find errors or believe you were denied coverage based on your race or national origin, you might have a right to sue. Being a high-risk driver isn’t the end of the world, but it is a good reason to improve your record and become a better driver.