High-risk auto insurance is for drivers who auto insurance companies consider likely to get into car accidents and file claims. Auto insurance companies typically base this on your driving history, inexperience and other factors.

Am I a high-risk driver?

Your recent driving history is going to be an important factor in whether you're judged as "high risk." Policies for risky drivers are typically referred to as "non-standard" auto insurance. Car insurance companies typically look at:

  • Car accidents. If you've caused car accidents, your insurance company may expect you'll cause more. While causing one accident isn't likely to get you pegged as high-risk, more than one in the last three to five years might.
  • Traffic violations. While one speeding ticket might not be enough for you to be considered a high-risk driver, multiple speeding tickets or other moving violations will do the trick. More: Insurance increases after a speeding ticket
  • Driving under the influence (DUI). If you have a DUI or DWI conviction, car insurance companies are going see you as a risky driver. See: Car insurance after a DUI
  • Inexperienced drivers. If you're a teen driver or you're newly licensed, you haven't established a driving history. Insurance companies are likely to consider a driver with a lack of driving experience as more likely to make claims.
  • Foreign driver's license. Car insurers set their rates based upon a driver's record. If there's a lack of information about a U.S. driving history, you might be considered a high-risk driver.
  • Poor credit. In all states except for California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, auto insurers can look at your credit to help determine car insurance rates. Studies have correlated credit to the chances that you'll make an insurance claim. Statistically, people who have lower credit scores are more likely to file a claim, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
  • Drivers who want only minimum auto insurance. If you want to buy only the state minimum car insurance required to legally drive, you might be considered high-risk.
  • A gap in your auto insurance coverage. If you've ever been dropped or you canceled your car insurance without another policy in place, you have a gap in your coverage. Car insurance companies may see you as high-risk.
  • Risky vehicle. Auto insurers not only consider the driver, but also the car. If you have a high-performance car, for example, you're more likely to make a claim.

More: SR-22 insurance

Lower your high-risk car insurance cost

If you're a high-risk driver, here are some steps you can take to improve your situation:

  • Focus on a clean driving record. Most auto insurers review the past three to five years of your driving history. Driving safely leads to fewer accidents and traffic violations and can result in lower car insurance rates.
  • Take a defensive driving class. Your state may offer approved driving courses which could result in points being taken off your driving record.
  • Improve your credit score. Over time, you can improve your credit and lower your rates.
  • Ask about discounts. While you might be considered a high-risk driver, insurance companies offer a lot of discounts, including good student discounts, car safety discounts and occupational discounts such as military and teacher discounts.

More: How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket?

High-risk car insurance companies

No matter what your driving record looks like, it's important to compare car insurance quotes. Below is a list of companies that specialize in non-standard auto insurance.

  • Access Insurance
  • American Access Casualty
  • American Independent Insurance
  • Bristol West
  • Dairyland Insurance
  • Direct Auto
  • First Acceptance
  • Founders Insurance
  • Gainsco Auto Insurance
  • Geico Casualty
  • The General
  • Home State Insurance
  • Infinity Property & Casualty
  • Nevada General Insurance
  • Personable Insurance
  • SafeAuto
  • Safeway Insurance
  • Titan Insurance
  • United Automobile Insurance
  • Windhaven Insurance

The last resort

If you've been denied auto coverage, you can buy insurance from your state's "assigned-risk pool." Auto insurers in the assigned-risk pool must provide auto coverage no matter the driver's history. Contact your state insurance department if you are unable to find coverage.