What Is a High-Risk Driver?

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One of the biggest factors in how car insurance companies decide your
car insurance
premium is whether or not you’re considered a
high-risk
driver.
This essentially means whether or not you’re seen to be more likely than the average driver to make a
claim
.
If you’re considered a high-risk driver,
insurance companies
can raise your rates, or even deny you coverage, in order to protect themselves. Here are 10 reasons that a car insurance company might consider you to be high risk, compiled by car insurance comparison shopping app
Jerry
.
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Why a car insurer might label you as high risk

Though every insurer is different and each follows its own set of qualifications for what makes a driver high risk, there are several common reasons across insurers why you might fall into this category.

You’ve been in a serious accident

A serious
car accident
, meaning one that involves significant damages or injuries, could very well push you into the high-risk category.
Comparatively, something more like a fender-bender may also raise your rate, but usually only temporarily.

You’ve had a DUI

Though the particulars vary by state, if you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence, your insurance rates will be high.
DUI
convictions usually stay attached to one’s record for five years, and they can result in you being denied coverage completely.

You have a violation on your record

Violations such as speeding, reckless driving, driving without the appropriate paperwork (license, insurance, registration), or the like can cause higher insurance rates.
If you’ve had multiple violations or a suspended or terminated license, this can take a toll as well.

You live in a certain area

Car insurers also look at the characteristics of your location when determining your premium. If you live in a highly populated area or an area that has a higher likelihood of accidents, you could see an increase in your rates.

You’re of a certain age

If you are a teenaged or even young adult driver, or you are age 70 or older, you will be more likely to pay more for your premium. In general, drivers tend to get riskier and less focused—and thus rates tend to increase—as they enter their senior days.
Though some states do ban using age as a factor in auto rates, in others this is pretty standard.

You’re new to driving

Regardless of age, if you're a new driver, you will be given a high-risk rate. This makes sense, as new drivers do not have any driving history for auto insurers to reference as they choose those drivers’ rates.

You don’t have any prior insurance

Unless you are a brand new driver, having no prior insurance leads car insurance companies to believe that you have probably
driven without insurance
at some point, which is illegal. Understandably, this makes you out to be a riskier choice for them.

You drive a high-risk vehicle

If you have a particularly expensive or unique vehicle, such as a collectible or a sports car, you will likely be considered a high-risk driver. This is because the repairs on vehicles like these are expensive, and even insurers who specialize in this area won’t come cheap.

You have poor credit

Because many car insurers see a correlation between how well a person pays his or her bills and whether that person will pay his or her premium on time, they will likely check your credit score and use this as a factor in deciding your rate.
So, assuming you don’t live in one of the few states that doesn’t allow credit scores to be used in ratemaking, if you have poor credit, you will likely be placed in the high-risk group.

You don’t own a home

Though many insurers do not factor homeownership into their rates explicitly, owning a home is often seen as coinciding with stability, and so they may offer discounts to homeowners.
Therefore, while not owning a home may not quite put you in the high-risk bucket, it can prevent you from getting the best possible rate.
So, are you considered to be a high-risk driver? If you fall into one of the classifications listed above, you very well could be. But you can recover from receiving a high-risk label over time by maintaining a
clean record
and driving safely. You can also be on the lookout for discounts or switch to an insurer that specializes in high-risk drivers.

Get cheap rates with Jerry

Just because you're a high-risk driver doesn't mean you don't deserve to get a decent rate.
By shopping for car insurance across multiple insurers, you can find a company that's willing to give you a more forgiving rate. But what if you don't have the time to collect quotes from several different insurers and compare them?
That's where
Jerry
comes in.
The Jerry app can collect quotes from 50+ top insurance companies, like Travelers, Nationwide, and Progressive, in seconds! They even help cancel your old policy once you’ve made your pick.
Oh, and we should mention—comparison shopping is free.
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