High-Risk Auto Insurance
High-risk car insurance is a type of insurance you’ll need to get if you’ve been convicted of a serious traffic offense or a series of traffic offenses in a short time period. A high-risk auto insurance policy usually comes with an SR-22 requirement.
To avoid confusion, note that an SR-22 itself is not actually an insurance policy. Instead, the insurance company offering you a high-risk policy will fill out an SR-22 form as proof that you have insurance. This shows the state that you are financially responsible if you get in an accident or cause personal or property damage. It also notifies the state if you change cars or cancel your insurance, which could require you to start from scratch.
Below is an explanation of why you might need high-risk insurance, how much it costs, and how to find the cheapest policy possible in your area.
Why You Might Need High-Risk Auto Insurance
Typically, a court will deem high-risk auto insurance necessary when you have committed any number of serious traffic offenses. Instead of keeping you off the road altogether, a high-risk car insurance policy allows you to begin re-earning your driving privileges. The reasons for this type of policy include:
1. Driving Under the Influence
Getting a DUI (driving under the influence) or a DWI (driving while intoxicated) is a serious charge, and you will almost certainly need DUI insurance to get back behind the wheel after a suspension period. Note that terms like “DUI insurance,” “SR-22 insurance,” and “high-risk insurance” are all different names for the same thing. The experience of being arrested, fined, and having your professional and personal life disrupted can be traumatic. A high-risk policy is an important step you can take to get control of your life back.
2. Reckless or Negligent Driving
Both reckless driving and negligent driving are serious charges, and penalties can be more severe depending on whether they resulted in an accident or property/personal damages. By getting a high-risk auto insurance policy, you can get back on the road and start building the foundation of a good driving record.
3. Driving Without Insurance
While states have their own individual laws regarding driver’s insurance, it is federally illegal to drive without insurance. Typically, first offenses are classified as misdemeanors; however, further offenses can be escalated to graver crimes and penalties, including jail time.
Things get more serious when you are involved in an accident while driving without insurance. The toughest scenario is when said accident results in injury, death, or serious property damage. Lacking insurance means you are responsible for paying for everything out of pocket, and if you cannot do so, it can put your personal finances in peril.
4. Your License Has Been Suspended or Revoked
For drivers with a suspended or revoked license, it will be absolutely essential to take on a high-risk auto insurance policy in order to earn your driving privileges back.
To do so, the state might require you to take a number of different steps. These will likely include taking a mandatory defensive driving course, which will last longer with more serious crimes. If your charges were alcohol-related, you would need to take substance abuse classes as part of your penalty. At the end of such classes, you’ll need to pass a test. There will be fees associated with your paperwork as well, which will also be higher for alcohol-related offenses.
Doing these classes not only helps you move past a revoked or suspended license but also helps you find lower insurance rates. When an insurance company sees that you have taken proactive steps toward being a better driver, you pose less of a risk to them!
5. You Need a Hardship License
When your regular license has been suspended or revoked, you still need a way to get to and from school, work, or your children’s activities. You may be able to apply for a hardship license, also known as a restricted license, in order to do this. This type of license lets you use your car to make trips to and from a certain set of locations during a license suspension period.
Typically, the court will issue a “hard suspension” period after your offense, which generally lasts one month for first-time offenders. During this hard suspension period, you will not be allowed to drive at all or apply for a hardship license.
At the end of your mandatory suspension period, you’ll probably need to have an SR-22 on record with your hardship license.
High-Risk Insurance Is Your Friend, Not Your Foe
Although SR-22 insurance costs more than regular insurance, you should think of it more as an olive branch. It is the state giving you an opportunity to get back in good standing and demonstrate better driving behavior. Hold onto high-risk insurance for a few years, and you’ll find it easier to transition back to normal life.
It is important to stay proactive during this process, no matter how overwhelming it all feels. Ignoring things like fees and mandatory classes will only make the problem worse and put it off until later. Start looking for high-risk insurance soon to begin putting this period behind you.
Find Cheap SR-22 Auto Insurance Quotes
How Long Will I Need High-Risk Insurance?
The answer to this question depends largely on your state. Different state governments require varying SR-22 periods, but the general length of time is around three years. You can see the required length of high-risk insurance periods for Florida, California, Illinois, and Texas in the below table.
|State||Length of High-Risk Insurance Period|
|Florida||3 years of continuous coverage|
|California||3 years of continuous coverage|
|Illinois||3 years of continuous coverage|
|Texas||2 years of continuous coverage|
However, repeat offenses and more serious crimes will result in longer mandatory high-risk insurance periods.
Is High-Risk Insurance Expensive?
Yes, high-risk insurance is expensive. The general rule of thumb is that you can expect to pay about 100% more for high-risk insurance than for safe driver insurance. This figure is lower in many states and higher in others. For instance, you may only pay several hundred additional dollars per year in certain states, while in others, it can be several thousand dollars more.
Take Michigan and Oregon as an example. The cost of SR-22 insurance in Michigan is over 3.5 times higher than it is in Oregon, demonstrating how greatly such costs can differ between states. This also highlights the importance of shopping around for different policies to find the best deal, as well as the coverage that best suits your needs. This is true no matter where you live.
Looking for this type of policy — which can be referred to as DUI insurance, high-risk insurance, and SR-22 insurance — is an invaluable step toward getting you back on the road. Different insurers should provide comparable prices based on your driving record.
How Do I Find the Cheapest High-Risk Auto Insurance?
Whether you live in California, Texas, or any other state, you’ll need help to track down the cheapest SR-22 insurance available. Make sure you get all the information you need from an experienced agent on the matter.
If you no longer own your own vehicle, you can also look into non-owner SR-22 insurance as an alternative to standard high-risk insurance. This type of policy is exactly what its name implies — it is designed for drivers who want to get back on the road after a serious traffic offense but do not own their own vehicle.
There are some stipulations to eligibility when it comes to non-owners SR-22 insurance. The first is that you cannot own a vehicle of your own — the reason for this is that insurers are banking on you not being able to get on the road very frequently. Research shows that drivers who are on the road less have less likelihood of getting in an accident. If access to a car is too easy, you might be on the road more than the policy allows for.
For this reason, you also cannot live in the same household as a car owner. Ideally, you would have a friend or family member who is willing to lend you their car every once in a while. This could be for trips to the grocery store or other essential tasks.
Finally, you cannot have non-owner insurance if the state has mandated that you use an ignition interlock breathalyzer device. Obviously, using someone else’s car without such a device installed would violate this order.
What is the Best High-Risk Insurance for Me?
In today’s marketplace, the best way to find affordable high-risk insurance is by comparing rates, but that can get difficult with a major traffic violation in your record. Our experienced insurance partner specializes in high-risk insurance and can help you find the coverage you need. Start getting back on track online or over the phone at 877-822-2049.