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State Farm is the top insurer for high-risk drivers looking for the best, cheap car insurance policy, according to an Insure.com study, followed by Nationwide and Progressive.

Getting insurance as a high-risk driver can feel a bit daunting, especially with the reluctance of some companies to insure drivers in this category. A high-risk driver is someone an insurance company deems more likely to file a claim. Some of the events that might assign a driver to a high-risk pool: multiple speeding tickets, a DUI conviction and an at-fault accident.

“You might find it difficult to get a policy through traditional private insurance companies if you are a high risk,” according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group.

But there are options.

Insure.com analyzed data on the top auto insurance companies to see which was best for high-risk drivers and ranked each with an Insure Score of 1 to 5, with 5 being the top score. We examined rates offered to high-risk drivers, a survey of insurance consumers and data from respected third parties A.M. Best, which measures financial strength, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which tracks customer complaints.

Overall, Insure.com gave State Farm a score of 4.43 out of a possible 5 for drivers designated as high-risk. 

While State Farm is rated the top company in this category, that doesn’t mean it’s the right company for everyone. Drivers often have different wants and needs when it comes to insurance. Some might be willing to pay for extra protection while others may only be interested in the lowest price.

The top auto insurance companies for high-risk drivers

To select the best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers, Insure.com analyzed insurance rates, an Insure.com survey of insurance consumers, and data from highly respected third parties that track insurance companies: NAIC’s Complaint Ratio (1.00 is the norm) and A.M. Best ratings (A++ is superior). 

State Farm has a relatively low complaint score of 0.52 from the NAIC and A.M. Best rating of A++, indicating a high level of financial stability. 

On top of that, State Farm had relatively low car insurance rates for high-risk drivers – $3,113 a year for full coverage.

For the rates, we reviewed data from more than 100 insurance companies and analyzed more than 5 million quotes. We looked at rates for a 2022 Honda Accord LX driver aged 40 with various infractions on their driving records, from a speeding ticket to a DUI. We considered coverage of 100/300/100 – meaning $100,000 for bodily injury per person, $300,000 for bodily injury per incident and $100,000 for property damage per incident – with a $500 collision/comprehensive deductible. We assume a 12-mile commute and 10,000 miles driven annually.

We also tapped the results from a survey Insure.com conducted in the fall of 2023 that asked 1,500 insurance customers to grade their company’s customer experience, claims expertise, policy offerings and other products and services. 

It should be noted that USAA had a higher score than many of the insurers and is listed on the table below. However, it’s excluded from the overall ranking because it only provides services to military community members.

CompanyNAIC Complaint RatioAM BestAnnual premium for high-risk driversOverall rating
State Farm0.52A++$3,1134.43
Nationwide0.66A+$2,5894.32
Progressive0.73A+$2,8504.23
Geico0.77A++$3,1974.13
Travelers1.03A++$2,5314.01
Farmers0.77A$4,1463.70
Allstate0.95A+$3,8173.64
USAA*0.99A++$2,0994.31

*USAA scored well, but is excluded from the overall rankings since it’s only available to military families.

But just because an insurance company tops a list doesn’t mean that particular carrier is right for everyone. Other insurers might offer coverages, rates and options that better match your particular needs.

In addition, some drivers might have just a speeding ticket on their record, while another might have an at-fault accident.

When Insure.com crunched all its numbers, the following companies offered the cheapest, average rates for drivers in these categories.

Risk factorCompanyRate
Speeding ticketState Farm$2,322
DUIProgressive$2,706
At-fault accidentState Farm$2,438

Note: USAA may have cheaper rates, but it’s only available to military families.

The top 5 car insurance companies for high-risk drivers

Our top five best high-risk insurance companies are State Farm, Nationwide, Progressive, Geico and Travelers. 

State Farm

  • Overall rating: 4.43
  • A.M. Best rating: A++
  • NAIC complaint ratio: 0.52
  • Average annual premium for high-risk drivers: $3,113
ProsCons
Much lower than average complaint ratioMust purchase policies directly from an agent
Stable company with strong A.M. Best rating
Among the best rates for those with speeding tickets among the companies we ranked

Nationwide: 

  • Overall rating: 4.32
  • A.M. Best rating: A+
  • NAIC complaint ratio: 0.66
  • Average annual premium for high-risk drivers: $2,589
ProsCons
Among the lowest rates for high-risk drivers of the companies we rankedAmong the highest average increases in insurance rates after a violation of the companies we ranked
Among the best rates for those with speeding tickets among the companies we ranked

Progressive 

  • Overall rating: 4.23
  • A.M. Best rating: A+
  • NAIC complaint ratio: 0.73
  • Average annual premium for high-risk drivers: $2,850
ProsCons
Had the lowest average rate for those with DUIs of the companies we rankedIt has a high financial stability score, but some competitors we ranked have higher scores
Agents available across the country

Geico

  • Overall rating: 4.13
  • A.M. Best rating: A++
  • NAIC complaint ratio: 0.77
  • Average annual premium for high-risk drivers: $3,197
ProsCons
Stable company with strong A.M. Best ratingAmong the highest average increases in insurance rates after a violation of the companies we ranked
Relatively low complaint ratio

Travelers

  • Overall rating: 4.01
  • A.M. Best rating: A++
  • NAIC Complaint Ratio: 1.03
  • Average annual premium for high-risk drivers: $2,531
ProsCons
Had the lowest average rates for high-risk drivers of the companies we rankedSlightly above average NAIC Complaint Ratio
Had the second lowest average rates for those with an at-fault accident of the companies we ranked.

How can high-risk drivers save on car insurance?

There are a number of ways high-risk drivers can lower their premiums, including:

  • Comparing rates: Shop around, getting at least three to five quotes to compare rates on insurance for high-risk drivers. Some comparison sites can help you identify the companies that offer the best high-risk car insurance. We also have a table (below) that shows, of the companies we ranked, which has the cheapest annual rates for high-risk drivers
  • Choosing a higher deductible: This isn’t always advisable, but, if you can afford a higher deductible, you can get a lower rate by agreeing to pay more out of pocket when you file a claim.
  • Adjusting your driving behaviors: Consider taking a defensive or safe driving course. Make an effort to avoid violations so that you don’t receive any more violations. Over time, as your driving record improves, you’ll be able to qualify for lower rates. 

Randy Humphreys, personal lines director at insurance agency Reliable Risk Management, says his list for how high-risk can save also includes employing usage-based insurance/telematics, exploring different payment options, improving your credit score and double-checking with your agent or insurance company for discounts you may qualify for.

Cheap car insurance companies for high-risk drivers

Travelers, of the companies we ranked, has the cheapest average annual car insurance for high-risk drivers.

CompanyAnnual rates for high-risk drivers
Travelers$2,531
Nationwide$2,589
Progressive$2,850
State Farm$3,113
Geico$3,197
Allstate$3,817
Farmers$4,146
USAA*$2,099

*USAA has the lowest rate, but is only available to military families

Best car insurance companies for drivers with a speeding ticket

Once you get a speeding ticket, you might see your car insurance rates increase. The average cost for drivers with a speeding ticket is $2,578. State Farm and others offer lower rates.

CompanyAverage full coverage rate for drivers with a speeding ticket
State Farm$2,322
Nationwide$2,347
Travelers$2,417
Progressive$2,648
Geico$2,829
Allstate$2,967
Farmers$3,381
USAA*$1,680

*USAA offers the cheapest rate, but it is only available to military families

Best car insurance companies for drivers with a DUI 

After a DUI conviction, your car insurance rates will almost certainly go up. Annual coverage after a DUI is around $4,000. Some companies, however, charge less. 

CompanyAverage full coverage rate for drivers with a DUI
Progressive$2,706
Travelers$2,999
State Farm$3,185
Nationwide$3,625
Geico$4,505
Allstate$4,903
Farmers$5,129
USAA*$2,786

*USAA offers one of the cheapest rates, but it is only available to military families

Best car insurance companies for drivers with an at-fault accident

If you’ve been in an at-fault accident, the average cost for full coverage afterward is $2,995. However, some insurance companies have lower rates.

CompanyAverage full coverage rate for drivers with an at-fault accident
State Farm$2,438
Travelers$2,510
Nationwide$2,564
Progressive$3,111
Geico$3,207
Farmers$3,976
Allstate$4,156
USAA*$2,091

*USAA offers the cheapest rate, but it is only available to military families 

How traffic violations affect car insurance rates

Many drivers will see an increase in rates. Depending on the insurer and violation, your annual premium could go up $1,000 or more. 

CompanyAverage rates without violationsAverage rates with violationsPercent increase
Geico$1,763$3,19781%
Farmers$2,387$4,14674%
Nationwide$1,548$2,58967%
Travelers$1,606$2,53158%
State Farm$1,984$3,11357%
Allstate$2,509$3,81752%
Progressive$1,998$2,85043%
USAA*$1,381$2,09952%

*USAA offers the cheapest rate, but it is only available to military families 

How much insurance goes up after accidents, specific traffic violations 

The type of ticket you receive also makes a big difference in the increase you could see in your auto insurance premiums. The biggest increase in rates comes from DUI violations. However, an at-fault accident can also have a big impact. 

Type of violationAverage rates without violationsAverage rates with violationsPercent increaseDollar increase
At-fault accident$1,895$2,99558%$1,100
DUI$1,895$3,853103%$1,958
Speeding$1,895$2,57836%$683

How age plays a role in rate increases after a traffic violation 

Age can also impact the way your insurance rate rises depending on the type of violation. Interestingly, for many violations, a younger driver may see a smaller percent increase than an older driver. Part of that is related to the fact that younger drivers, considered a higher risk due to their inexperience, already pay more.

Type of violation18-year-old driver25-year-old driver40-year-old driver65-year-old driver
At-fault accident40%56%58%63%
DUI69%101%103%108%
Speeding27%35%36%39%

Factors that affect car insurance rates for high-risk drivers

There are common factors that affect all car insurance premiums, including age, gender, location and, in some states, your credit score. For high-risk drivers, some additional factors influence your rates:

  • Type of violation: Some violations are considered riskier than others. For example, DUIs and at-fault accidents might add to your insurance rate more than a speeding ticket.
  • How often you receive a violation: For those who commit multiple violations, especially in a relatively short amount of time, insurance rates can rise quickly.
  • Whether you have to enter a state high-risk pool: In some cases, you might be denied coverage as a high-risk driver. In that case, you might pay a high rate for being covered as part of your state’s high-risk pool.

Why car insurance rates for high-risk driver is so high

High-risk drivers are those who have violations or at-fault accidents on their records. Drivers who regularly get caught speeding, for instance, are seen by insurers as likely to cause an accident in the future. Insurance companies adjust their premiums accordingly.

Frequently asked questions

What if I’m denied coverage as a high-risk driver?

If you are denied coverage by an insurance company, you’ll need to look into alternatives, such as your state’s high-risk pool. You might have a higher rate, but until your driving record improves, it might be your only option.

What coverage type is best for high-risk drivers?

Experts recommend full coverage car insurance.

How long will I be considered a high-risk driver?

The amount of time certain violations remain on your driving record depends on the state you’re in. In many cases, you’ll have a speeding ticket removed after a few years, while an at-fault accident caused by a DUI might remain on your record for decades.

expert

What our expert says

Q: Are there other ways besides shopping around and raising your deductible that high-risk drivers save money on car insurance?

expert-image
Randy HumphreysPersonal lines director, Reliable Risk Management insurance agency
Randy Humphreys’ list for how high-risk can save includes employing usage-based insurance/telematics, exploring different payment options, improving your credit score and double-checking with your agent or insurance company for discounts you may qualify for.