Auto Insurance for the Hard-to-Insure
If you're having a hard time getting auto insurance, it may be the result of your being classified as a high-risk driver. But being classified as high risk doesn't mean that you're entirely out of luck when it comes to auto insurance.
Definition of a high-risk driver
The definition of a high-risk driver varies, depending on the insurance company. However, if you've ever had a serious traffic offense (e.g., drunk driving) or multiple traffic offenses (e.g., speeding tickets), there's a good chance that you'll be classified as high risk. Other factors that could play a role are your age, the type of car that you drive, and your payment history.
Coverage for high-risk drivers
Many insurance companies have developed a more liberal philosophy when it comes to high-risk drivers. So even if your driving record isn't spotless, you may still be able to obtain insurance through a private insurance company. If this isn't the case, however, you may fall into your state's assigned-risk pool. Each state's assigned-risk pool works differently, but its main purpose is to make sure that every driver has access to some level of auto insurance. Although assigned-risk pool insurance does cost a lot more than a standard auto insurance policy, at least it ensures that you'll be covered.
What is an SR-22 form?
When you're classified as a high-risk driver, you may have to obtain an SR-22 form. This form confirms that you have auto insurance, even though you're in a high-risk classification. The laws regarding SR-22 status vary, depending on the state.
Ridding yourself of high-risk classification
There's no doubt about it--if you're classified as a high-risk driver, your insurance premiums are going to be expensive. So you're going to want to take steps to clean up your driving record. Some helpful hints for ridding yourself of high-risk classification:
- Drive safely and try to avoid causing an accident
- Drive within speed limits to avoid getting a speeding ticket
- Send your payments in on time
- If you drive a high-performance car, consider selling it or trading it in for a low-risk car (e.g., station wagon, sedan)
Once your classification is improved, you'll save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in premiums. You may have to be patient for this to happen, however, since some states keep violations on your driving record for as long as six years.