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Auto Insurance Tips for High-Risk Drivers

April 26, 2012

If you are a high-risk driver you probably know it already, but many people don’t understand what earns them this title. Simply put, insurance companies rate drivers based on the probability that they will be involved in an accident for which the insurance company will have to pay out. The higher this likelihood, the higher risk that driver presents to the insurance company. Drivers are rated on a variety of factors, and it can vary, but there are a few common reasons for being labeled high-risk. Fortunately, there are some ways high-risk drivers can avoid high-cost car insurance.

What is a High-Risk Driver?

A high-risk driver is someone who, due to a combination of factors, presents a high likelihood of having an at-fault accident that the insurance company will have to pay for. High-risk drivers usually have more than one factor that has led to this label. Some of these include being a new driver, having multiple tickets or accidents, or having a combination of tickets and accidents. Violations such as impaired driving and other serious infractions can quickly lead to a high-risk label.

High-risk drivers have usually been paying very high insurance rates, and may be non-renewed by the insurance company as a result of the addition of another risk factor. When the insurance company reviews your file for renewal, they may decide that the risk of insuring you is too high for them to take on, and you will receive a notice that you are not being offered a policy on renewal. At that point, as a high-risk driver, you do have some options.

Insurance for High Risk Drivers

It is not uncommon for standard insurance companies to refuse to provide a high risk car insurance ontario policy to a high-risk driver. Even if you have been with the same company for many years, the level of risk may lead to a non-renewal of the policy. When faced with the inability to qualify for a standard policy, high-risk drivers can turn to specialty auto insurance companies for coverage.

Today there are many more choices than there once were for high-risk drivers to obtain coverage. A number of insurance companies have stepped up to fill the gap and help these drivers get back on the road. The goal of a high-risk insurance company is to help you regain your status as a low-risk driver and qualify for standard coverage once again. This means that they will offer you coverage while you improve your driving record.

It’s important that high-risk drivers take this seriously and focus on becoming safer drivers in order to get back to a low-risk status. Careful driving to avoid any type of infraction or accident is a must while on a high-risk policy. Remember that the next step is likely to lose your license, at which point insurance will no longer be needed.

Saving on High-Risk Insurance

By its nature, high-risk insurance costs more than a standard policy. Because the risk of a claim is much higher, the insurance company must spread some of the risk and increase the cost of premiums. This protects them in the event of a large claim. This does not mean there is no way to save on insurance if you are a high-risk driver; it’s just a little more difficult.

The number one way for a high-risk driver to save money is to shop around. Get as many car insurance quotes as you can; with so many options in the high-risk market today, you do have the option to compare rates and look for the most competitive option. High-risk insurers exist to assist drivers who don’t qualify for standard rates, but they must still compete with each other for your business.

Stay on top of your rates, and make sure that all tickets and accidents that are no longer chargeable fall off at the appropriate time. Whenever there is a change to your status, get some quotes to compare rates and see if you can save. Eventually, rates from a standard insurance company will start to be on par with a high-risk, and then lower. Get back to a standard company as soon as you can. Because they insure more people, they can spread risk and generally offer better rates.

To see your rates drop, it’s important that you are careful not to get any more tickets or be involved in accidents. Drive carefully, and soon you will find you are seeing lower rates again.

  • Phoulis

    Hi, I am not a high risk driver but I have a comment to make having lived in Europe for many years and here even more. My comment is one, you talking about “Shopping around” for car insurance to get better premium. My experience tells me that insurance industry in canada like cell phone and gas is just a cartel a kind of a Monopoly endorsed by the many many levels of governments and bureaucracy.
    So Shopping around is just a waste of time unless you want to save say 50 dollars on the thousands you have to pay for a basic car insurance because this is maybe the difference you will notice if you shop around we are all filed in a main police computer and a main insurance computer no matter which insurance company is on the document the Big Control is One Big Insurance company that rules all.
    thanks and Best Regards,


  • wayne white

    Another thing to remember is don’t report minor accidents to your insurance company when there is little or no payment made and there is no damage toyour vehicle. I learned the hard way when I reported 2 minor accidents to Motors Insurance where there was no payout on the first and only $50 on the second. I had not had a claim in the 22 years we were with them but they deemed me a high risk driver. They tought they were being very nice by offering to insure me with a susiduary at more than triple what I had been paying. So watch out if it is minor pay it yourself.

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Thanks for your comment. In Canada each insurance company has different rules and rates for the same driving profile. Insurance companies base their rates on the amount of claims that they pay. You are correct in that your driving history (tickets & claims) are available for insurance companies to use, but that does not mean that you will pay the same with each insurance company. We have had many consumers contact us to let us know that they have in fact, saved hundreds of dollars by using our site to shop around.

  • Orochi

    I don’t think so but does your state have a Defensive Driving Course? It is usually 5 hours and covres stuff that you really should know already. Insurance rates usually go down when taken early. Ask. In NY It is given mostly by driving schools like triple A,etc.

  • David

    I find the cost of motor insurance in Canada very expensive having held a full driving license for 31 years and a clean driving record I emigrated to Ontario 2 years ago and exchanged my UK license for a Canadian. One and I am now classes a new driver are there any company’s that take past experience into account?

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com


    There are no companies that I know of. Check with the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario, the website is http://www.ibao.org – you might find a broker there to help you.

  • car insurance

    Thanks for sharing this post…keep the good works going…..
    car insurance

  • Marcella

    Thanks Wayne. I wish I knew a year ago not to call my insurance company after an accident in a snow storm. I did not claim anything but it went on my driving record and now my insurance company will not renew my insurance policy. Now I know why so many people prefer to work things out on their own, without involving insurance companies.

    We can’t live without them and we can live with out them

    we have to have insurance to drive but heaven help us if we need them.

  • M.Z.

    I had an accident in 2009 and a second one in 2010, but with no claims. This year my insurance didn’t renew my policy, because I am a high risk driver. My question is: prior to my first accident in 2009 I hadn’t have an accident for 14 years, so why my rates weren’t ever reduced, but as soon I have 2 accidents they kick me out?I need help finding a new insurance, I can not afford to pay $600 per month. Anybody have any suggestions?

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello M.Z.,

    You would be best to shop around to see if you can find a lower price. You can also check with a broker specializing in “high risk” drivers. Easyway Insurance may be able to help you. Here is their website: http://www.easywayinsurance.ca/

    Good luck!

  • Lewis Aboud

    Insurance is such a rip-off in this country.

  • Sandy H

    I used to live in Quebec and that province has it together when it comes to car insurance. I pay $2000 a year just for collision on my 12 year old car and that should be illegal.
    Insurance companies in Ontario are just one big scam on the consumer. They should be regulated and capped! I’ve tried to shop around and it makes a tiny difference compared to the grief of switching. Sites like these only exist to make you feel less ripped off. Its a joke on the consumer, almost identical to the price gouging of gas companies.

  • j

    mmmm 600 a month would be nice lol

  • tara

    I had an accident in 2010 which resulted in a unsafe turn ticket. My insurance company sent me a letter that they weren’t going to insure me any more.i refused to pay that month because of it and they put me on record for cancellation for non payment.now I can’t get anything cheaper than $300 a month.iv had to wait cuz I’m a single mom and can’t afford $300 a month I have a car in my driveway I can’t drive until both my accident and my ticket comes off in march. I have had no insurance on a vehicle since January of last year. Where should I start to look in march?

  • brian

    Driver in ontario i have no accidents and no points because i have 3 minor traffic tickets im a high risk driver for the next three years and whats worse is i took them to court waited a year for my court dates and when i was finally convicted that is the date to which i must wait three years

  • Craig

    Wow hat misunderstanding An accident even if nothing is paid is still an accident.The same driving error can result in a small amount of damge or a large claim depending on what you collide with.
    You may never know damage caused. eg I was rearended years ago. I am suer thw person who hit me thought I had no damage at the scene. Repait to vehicle over $1000 Medial costs $10,000.

    Also if you dont report a small claim and the Insurance Company discovers this you may now have a non disclosure on your record which means you are now a high risk driver.

    In past expereince the Companies that deal with brokers are usually more flexable than the direct writers and internet only providers on this

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hi Sandy,

    Keep shopping around, as each insurance company charges different rates. Our consumers have saved an average of over $600 using our site. Thanks for your comments.

  • Nick – InsuranceHotline.com

    Hi Tara,

    Try shopping around for car insurance on our site; your rate will be compared against over 30 insurance companies to give you the lowest rate.


  • Just

    Not sure if this thread is still active but a question for you…
    Three years ago (coming up this fall) I was in an accident that resulted in a careless driving charge and I was immediately bumped up to a high-risk driver. Since then, because I couldn’t afford it, I have not been insured at all.
    From research I had done at the time, I had planned to shop around for insurance again once the three year mark since the accident/charges passed (I read that that was how long the careless driving charge would affect your insurance rates).
    However, from this article – it seems like the only way to get your “high-risk” status reduced is by keeping a clean record while driving insured. Have I misunderstood the way this works? What can I expect to see when I do shop around for insurance rates this fall?
    Thanks so much!

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Just,

    Major offenses & accidents will remain on your record for 6 years, not 3. It is tickets and minor offenses that fall off after 3 years. Having a lapse in your insurance coverage will also likely increase your rate. You would be best to speak directly to an insurance professional to find out what your options are.

  • Manny

    My Insurance company send me a letter that they are not renuing my insuance anymore coz of my accident 1 in 2008 and 1 in 2012. plus 2 speeding tickets .The problem here is my wife and my son is under my insurance.Both car is in my name.So I decided to transfer my car to my wife so they can get their insurance, Now they are the one who suffering for my problem.Our Insurance said that they cannot insured my wife and my son coz we are lived in one household.Is is the policy of every Insurance?to suffer other people.They are both had 4 star no tickets or any accident.please help us.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com

    Hello Manny,

    This is something that you should be taking up directly with your broker. You can also speak to your insurance ombudsman if you feel you wish to dispute or challenge anything regarding your policy. You broker should be able to present suitable options for you.

  • CaptainAwesomer

    I’ve saved a lot of money from shopping around. After moving from one city to the another one right beside it my insurer wanted to raise my rates from $130 a month to $210 a month. Using this site, their competitors, and a few direct quotes from insurers I found one for $160 a month.

    Cell phones are a bit trickier, you have to live in an area covered by WIND, and you have to give up voicemail. But you can pay as little as $6.66 to $20 a month if you go with them.

    Gas has no alternatives to getting gouged every time you fill up, especially if you use 91 octane.

  • CaptainAwesomer

    Use this site, and bundle your car insurance with property/rental insurance or your home insurance. When I was 24 years old my insurance company wanted over $300 a month, but I also got property insurance with them for $50 a month, so that enabled the multi-line discount which lowered my car insurance to $150.

  • jhebsy

    I have one accident i was at fault I back in to a car that was too small to see in my truck and 2 speeding ticket one 10 over and one 5 over. yes I too have been dropped by my insurance can not renew. now i am a high risk .. it when up 300% I pay more in insurance than I paid for the car in 6 month and I drive a 2005

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    Unfortunately, Underwriting rules with most insurance companies are strict regarding non-payment of premiums. Push your bank for a letter proving that it was their error.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    I am sorry but I think that only the high risk markets will insure you.


  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    You may have to have a letter from your daughter’s insurance company stating that she is being charged for the accident on her policy before your insurance company removes it from yours.

    Thank you

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    Try our site, http://www.insurancehotline.com.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    When you make an agreement with another driver not to go through insurance there is not much that you can do if they make a claim. If they have your information it is likely that their insurance company will contact your insurance company.

  • http://www.insurancehotline.com/ InsuranceHotline.com


    It is likely the 4 yrs driving experience that is generating your premium.
    in 2015 you will have 5 years experience and 0 tickets which should help reduce your rate.

    Don’t forget to shop around too. check out http://www.insurancehotline.com.

  • Glen

    not working im from new brunswick

  • Lisa

    I am considered a “high risk’, but not due to accidents, but rather my payment history. Had a continuous policy for over 3 years. When we finally got another car and policy, we hit hard times with job losses and weren’t able to keep up with our payments and our policy was cancelled for non-payment. In any case, I have had my policy cancelled for non-payment 3 times in the past 5 years. Now, I’ve had a few quotes and all are in the same area – and requires a large down payment and no monthly payment options (usually a “3-pay plan”).

    Seems to me, based on the below comments, that good drivers who have had a policy with no accidents for years, are being considered a “high risk driver” after just one or two accidents. My conclusion is that the payout doesn’t matter – it there was a payout or not and the amount doesn’t matter. I believe the Insurance Companies are using this a profit-driving revenue. Driving record prior to accident doesn’t matter – they are classifying driver’s as “high risk” to generate more earnings. THIS NEEDS TO BE FEDERALLY REGULATED!

    My guess is that if insurance costs were reasonable, there would less un-insured motorists on the road. Cars are increasingly becoming a necessity – buses don’t run like the TTC in every city and people have jobs they need to get to that buses don’t go to, or they don’t run if you’re working early/late or shift work.

  • Shay

    My insurance policy was cancelled for non payment of one months premium in 2013. I had one at fault in 2012 on which no claims were made by either party. Anyhow, I’m unable to get insurance in the standard market. I’m based in Ottawa. Anyhow, still shopping around..

    Anyhow, the company i was with previously sent me a HUGE form to fill out if I wanted insurance again with them/ I filled everything to the best of my ability. i stated everything truth fully- my atfault etc. The only thing I missed out was on the cancellation bit.. I stated that my policy was not renwed and didnt clearly state that my policy had been CANCELLED. They sent the form back stating I had misrepresented and that I need to fill out the information again. Does stuff like this stay on my record, would potential underwriters know about this. I understand it was a mistake on my part but It was not intentional or anything… Am i just being paranoid.

    I’m based in Ottawa, have a G2. my plan is to write my G test this year in february and wait until april so that its three years since my at fault. would taking a drivers training course help lower my rates. I’m currrently being quoted anywhere between $275 to 300.

  • Karl

    After reading some of the posts I believe that the insurance companies are exercising the letter of law to generate profits. I have been accident/claim free for 24 years. I have had 3 accidents in the past 3 three years & now am considered a high risk, I think it bad luck as 2 of the accidents I had no control over. One my wheel came off my car & I lost control, thankfully no injuries or others involved. The other a 20 car pile up in white conditions, I should have seen that coming, right!? So insurnace company decided not to renew after giving me insurance for 1 year with the accidents in place. Where’s the justification? Who’s protecting the consumer? Thanks to the government which says I am entiltled (obligated) to insurance as long as I can afford it & if I can’t I still have to pay regardless, thank you you’re kind!

  • Britabroad

    Hi, I’m British and moved to the US in 2013. I drove for the first year on my UK license, as the local DMV told me that my UK license was legal for this duration. I then took my NY State license, which I am driving on now. My insurer has suddenly upped the cost of my auto insurance as they now class me as an “Amateur driver”, despite having been driving since 13 years ago. I have a no tickets on either my UK license or NY state driving license. Is there any way for my insurer to take into account my UK driving history, or is the clock now fully reset with no way around this?

  • Crash

    I recently got behind on my insurance due to money problems and it lapsed, I went to pay it and they said I would have to apply for a new policy and when they put it through my rate more than doubled, they wanted $174 more a month just because of the 30 day lapse, I was with them for over 10 years with no claims and perfect driving record, I also had multiple discounts, I would understand a small surcharge for the hassle but that amount is simply outrageous, they consider me a high risk due to non payment. I would think they would be more concerned about my driving history then missing one payment. Needless to say I am in the process of switching insurance companies as they will not lower the rate which to me is a hassle as they are a good company. So make sure you do not lapse on your insurance as they have some ridiculous rules.

  • Lol

    You still think they are a good company even though they’re doubling your rate for one missed payment..?

  • rockdude094

    I got offered 350 per month for my motorcycle and 600 for my car.. Guess I’m a high risk too woohoo I feel special

  • TK

    Are there ANY insurance companies that give motorcycle insurance to High Risk drivers? Please help

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