Recent studies show that vehicle insurance rates are still reasonable across the USA and actually going down in California. There are even studies suggesting that auto insurers should increase their rates because they are not making enough money. It is fair to say that you would enjoy these great low rates if you are a good driver. On the other hand, motorists with less than perfect driving history may struggle to find affordable premiums.
What Makes You a Bad Driver?
Automobile insurers can offer great deals but they can be very picky to whom they offer these special deals. Some companies may be lenient towards established drivers after one traffic violation ticket or small claim. For example, you may only see a slight increase on your premium if you had one speeding ticket or fender bender for the last ten years.
However, you would probably see significant premium hike if you have had more than one tickets or incidents in the last three years. They may be for minor violations or couple of fender benders. But the number and frequency of the incidents will be enough to put you in high risk driver category. Those incidents are evidences that your driving has been slipping down lately and the chance of you causing a big accident is now high.
In addition, you can go straight into the highest risk drivers group if you get caught driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Being charged with reckless driving can have the similar effects as well.
How Can You Still Find Reasonable Rates with Bad Driving History?
Depending on driving records it may still be possible to get affordable auto insurance for bad drivers with some companies. However, you have to be prepared to pay the price if your driving has been terrible lately with DUI and other issues. Here are some of the tips to help you reduce the premium when you are facing increased costs due to driving records.
- You Can Still Qualify for Other Discounts
Luckily companies look at a few other factors when they are pricing the premium. Each discount works independently from each other that failing to qualify for one doesn’t prevent you from claiming the other. You can still claim discounts for having a great credit score, being a member of AAA (or other recovery service providers), being a member of an association that qualifies for discounts with some companies, having a private parking facilities, being married and living in a safe zip code. Those discounts will reduce the burden a bit. Actually, a great credit score can qualify you for 20% discounts with some companies.
- Going for a Safer Car
If you are considering changing your automobile this may be a good time to pick a safer and insurance friendly car. Vehicles insured are one of the most influential factors on premiums. Most insurers don’t like sports cars with large engines or the ones with bad safety records. You will have to pay a lot of money for car insurance when you have a high risk car and bad driving record.
- Telematics Auto Insurance
Pay As You Go policies can be a great way of lowering your premium when you are young or considered high risk. A little device is fitted on your auto that transmits information about your driving to the insurer. If you make a few improvements on your driving you could get large savings from the next renewal. And most companies offering these policies give immediate discounts for choosing to agree to be monitored.
- Shopping Around
Getting a high quote from one insurer should not discourage you. You should get a few quotes since each company will price the risks differently. A large company may have the luxury of demanding three times the normal premiums when they come across a bad driver. But not all companies have the luxury of turning away applicants. They may be keener to offer better rates.
Quite a few drivers get one or two expensive quotes and think that they are condemned to high premiums. However, there are ways of reducing your rates as discussed above. You may have been unlucky with claims and traffic tickets. You cannot do much about them for the time being. You can only look forward and try to be a better driver from now. In the meantime, you can improve your chances of getting affordable vehicle insurance rates.