If you are a high risk driver, you might be shocked by the cost of insurance. You might also be shocked to learn that you are faced with a number of other legal requirements. Finally, you might also be shocked to learn that your driving habits are not the only way that you can become a high risk driver.
Who Are the High Risk Drivers?
The following can get people deemed “high risk” by their insurance companies:
- Tickets and moving violations. Parking tickets are usually not included in this category, however, if they are excessive, they may push you into that category.
- Convictions for driving while drinking or under the influence of drugs. There may be other requirements for driving after these convictions
- Younger drivers (typically defined as less than 25 years of age)
- First time drivers, regardless of age
- Poor credit history
- Previous claims
- Lapses in insurance coverage
What Else Might You Need in Addition to Auto Insurance for High Risk Drivers?
In addition to high risk insurance coverage, you may be legally required to provide additional documentation to your state. For instance, drivers who have been convicted of a DUI charge will need to establish that they are complying with insurance coverage laws. That means that they will need to file a special form, called a SR-22. While you can do this on your own, your insurance agency can do it for you when you pay for your coverage. How long you must continue to file the SR-22 may depend on the reason for it in the first place. More things to keep in mind:
- If your insurance is allowed to lapse for any reason, you may face additional charges and may lose your driver’s license immediately. You will then be forced to pay a reinstatement fee to get it back.
- You may have to continue filing the SR-22 during your full reporting time, even if you move out of state. This is typically done to prevent people from saying they are moving when, in fact, they are not.
- In addition, if you move out of state, you may have to continue your current insurance coverage even if the new state’s limits are lower.
Once you have reached the end of your reporting period, a second form, called a SR-26 will be filed. Not all states use this form, however.
Family Members and Their Own High Risk Designation
What if you are the primary driver but not the high risk one? Is there a way to insure yourself without including the high risk driver? There are pros and cons to doing that.
Pros of Excluding a High Risk Driver in Your Household:
- You can get the lower insurance rate.
- You have a wider range of insurance choices. Most companies limit high risk drivers to only a certain type of coverage to protect their assets.
- You will not have to pay the additional costs for SR-22 filings.
- You can get insurance discounts to bring your cost down even further.
Cons of Excluding a High Risk Driver in Your Household
- If that driver decides to use your car, with or without your permission or knowledge, he or she may get into even more legal trouble.
- Any accident that that person causes will not be covered by insurance leading to serious expenses for the family to bear.
- That driver could also open the family to lawsuits and more legal charges.
- Knowing that you excluded a family member can lead to feelings of guilt.
- That family member can also have feelings of resentment and anger because of being excluded or not allowed to drive the car.
Improving Risk to Lower Insurance Costs
Once certain factors have expired or are considered to be no longer true, the insurance rates should come down. If they do not, it is time to start shopping for new insurance quotes. For instance, insurance rates typically come down once you reach a certain age and are no longer considered a young driver. Other ways to improve risk:
- Consider taking a safe driver’s course. In the case of violations, there may be other types of courses to take that can lower insurance risk and cost.
- Young drivers may earn a discount if they take a course specifically designed for their age group.
- Maintaining continuous insurance coverage without lapses or gaps.
- Maintaining an improved driving record for a set period of time. For instance, in some states accidents from three years ago will no longer impact coverage cost.