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What Is the Best Car Insurance With a Bad Driving Record?

A bad driving record can raise your car insurance rates. When you have accidents and moving violations, auto insurance companies consider you a higher risk, and they charge more in premiums to compensate for that risk.
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What Is the Best Car Insurance With a Bad Driving Record?

Written by Brian Greenberg

Last updated: July 6th, 2022

Reviewed by Grant Desselle

The impact of a bad driving record on your auto insurance rates can vary depending on the insurance company and the types of black marks on your record. If you shop around, though, you can still find competitive car insurance with a bad driving record.

How Does Your Driving Record Affect Your Insurance Policy?

Your driving record affects your insurance policy because it signals the level of risk you present to the insurance company. The worse your driving record, the more likely you are to have an accident and file a claim, at least in the eyes of the insurance company.

So, the insurance company charges you higher premiums for a bad driving record to insulate themselves against financial losses from paying out claims.

How Do Bad Drivers Get Car Insurance?

Most auto insurance companies will provide coverage to people with poor driving records, just at a higher premium level. Depending on the state and the nature of the infractions, some drivers may need to obtain an SR-22 certificate first.

Because car insurance tends to be more expensive for bad drivers, it is even more essential to shop around and compare rates if your driving record is less than perfect. Otherwise, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars per year more than you have to for car insurance.

Are Insurance Policies for Bad Drivers More Expensive?

Insurance policies for bad drivers tend to be more expensive. However, many other factors can also influence auto insurance rates, including your age, your gender, your ZIP code, and the type of car you drive.

Car insurance rates also vary substantially from company to company. The insurer that offers your friend the most competitive rates might not be the cheapest for you.
Car insurance companies love to brag about how much money the average driver saves by switching to them. But that’s a little misleading because all the drivers who would end up paying more if they switched don’t do it. So, it’s vital to shop around and find the company that offers the best policy for you.

Do All Auto Insurance Companies Check Your Driving Record?

Yes, auto insurers check your driving record. But the good news is they only look back 3 to 5 years. Even if you’re considered a bad driver now, it only takes a few years of careful driving to become a good driver — and to enjoy the lower premiums that come along with it.

What Are the Best Auto Insurance Options for Bad Drivers?

The best car insurance option for a bad driver is the least expensive one that still provides enough protection. You shouldn’t skimp on coverage just to save on premiums, especially if you’re prone to accidents. If you have an accident that causes more damage than your coverage level, you could be personally liable for the amount left over.
The following table shows the average yearly premium costs for drivers with specific types of violations.

ViolationAverage annual car insurance premium
No violations$2,410
Speeding$2,750
Running a stop sig$2,760
Drag racing$2,850
Reckless driving$2,850
Careless driving$2,930
DUI$3,400

What is the Difference Between Commuter Use and Pleasure Use of a Vehicle?

Commuter use means driving a car every day to and from work or school. Pleasure use involves driving only on nonworking days or in your spare time.

The following table shows the average yearly premium costs for drivers with specific types of violations.

ViolationCheapest average premiumCompany
Speeding$2,190GEICO
Running a stop sign$2,190GEICO
Drag racing$2,270GEICO
Reckless driving$2,270GEICO
Careless driving$2,190GEICO
DUI$2,040Progressive
At-fault accident$2,430Progressive

Will Insurance Rates Change Over Time as a Driving Record Improves?

Yes, insurance rates decrease over time as a driving record improves. The further removed you are from your accidents or violations, the less risky the insurance company perceives you to be — and the more comfortable they are lowering your rates. Once you’ve gone 5 full years with no accidents or violations, almost all car insurance companies will consider you to have a clean driving record.

The Bottom Line on Finding Car Insurance With a Bad Driving Record

Finding affordable car insurance can be a challenge if you have a bad driving record. But it’s available if you know where to look, and as your record improves, you can look forward to better options and cheaper rates.

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