The Ins and Outs of High Risk Car Insurance
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UPDATED: Nov 4, 2019
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High risk car insurance is a classification that groups a lot of drivers into a slightly inaccurately-titled group. We prefer the term ‘non-standard’ to ‘high risk’, as many of the drivers who fall into this category may have great driving records and not really pose any more risk than any other driver.
Some examples of drivers who may be considered non-standard or high risk are:
- Have multiple MVR violations or at-fault accidents
- Have DUI or DWI convictions
- Have bad credit or allowed their prior coverage to lapse
- Are licensed to drive in a foreign country
- Are elderly or are a newly licensed driver
- Insuring a high performance or expensive vehicle
What Companies Sell High Risk Car Insurance?
Some of the major car insurance companies will insure non-standard drivers, while others will not. And some own subsidiaries that specialize in insuring these types of risks that are will not be able to find coverage in the standard market.
Geico has a separate company called Geico Casualty that specialized in writing non-standard business. Nationwide owns a company called Titan, which also focuses on insuring higher-risk policyholders. Farmers Insurance owns a subsidiary called Bristol West, which is the non-standard arm of their company.
Companies like Dairyland, Direct General, The General, and Safe Auto specialize in writing high risk auto insurance policies and are the larger companies in this niche.
Some companies like State Farm and Allstate may offer coverage for high risk drivers, but the policy rates are high compared to the specialty writers.
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What is a SR-22 or FR-44?
A SR-22 is simply a filing required by either a court or your state that proves you have liability insurance. A FR-44 is the same as a SR-22, but used in the states of Florida and Virginia and it has slightly higher financial requirements than a SR-22.
Instances where a SR-22 may be required:
- Conviction for DUI, reckless driving, or other serious violation
- Having an at-fault accident without car insurance
- Too many violations in a specific time period
- Driving on a revoked or suspended drivers license
- Being convicted of driving without a license or without insurance
A SR-22 is not insurance, but rather just a form that is filed by your insurance company that fulfills the financial responsibility requirement mandated by your state or ordered by a court.
How Much Does a SR-22 Cost?
There is a filing fee that your insurance company will charge, and you may also see your rates increase slightly due to the SR-22 filing. But more than the SR-22 itself, whatever you were convicted of to require the SR-22 will have more impact on your rates.
Driving on a suspended license, DUI, or multiple violations will cause a significant rise in car insurance rates.
Will I Always Need High Risk Insurance?
Probably not. There is a reason you do not qualify for standard coverage, and as long as you do not have additional violations and satisfy any financial responsibility requirements, you shouldn’t be required to buy high-risk insurance for more than three years.
Once you can obtain coverage from the standard or preferred market, your rates will decrease and you will no longer be penalized by having to buy from a non-standard carrier.
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