All together too often the term “High Risk Driver” has a direct affiliation with a driver that is highly aggressive, has been at fault for multiple accidents, or is just plain irresponsible on the roads. While all of these things may be true, being considered a high risk driver is actually a much broader term than this. At the end of the day, being a high risk driver means that you will likely end up paying more for your car insurance, but the good news is that being a high risk driver is not a permanent label. Learn more about the different ways a person can be classified into this category, and what that might mean for you.
No Record of Prior Insurance
The easiest way to be placed into the high risk driver category is simply to have no record of insurance. For this reason all first time drivers are considered high risk. If your insurance has lapsed, or perhaps you lived somewhere that public transportation availability meant that you simply did not need to have a vehicle or insurance for that vehicle, you are also considered a high risk driver. Once you reinstate or create an insurance policy you will pay the higher rate for 6 continuous months of coverage. After that time your rate will decrease, and continue to do so with a good record. Just know that once you start this 6 month period you will want to keep your insurance the same, or you may be at risk of starting your 6 month period over.
The Ticket Multiplier
Getting a single ticket, for many things at least, doesn’t necessarily place you in the high risk driver category. Depending on your driving record and the length of time you have had continuous coverage, being at fault for an accident may not place you in this category either. However, having multiple tickets, multiple at-fault accidents, and especially combinations of the two within a 3 year period will likely define you as a high risk driver. Your auto insurance premium will most likely increase, but not forever. If you have a spout of bad driving luck and end up in this category, after 3 years from the oldest violation, you will see a difference in your rate. That time may be adjusted according to your renewal date on your auto insurance coverage, so check with your broker to see exactly when you can expect to be removed from the high risk category.
Even one major violation may place you in the high risk category, such as a DUI. A major violation may affect your insurance rate for up to 5 years, but this differs from carrier to carrier, and may be as low as 3 years. Not keeping continuous coverage during the affected time, having another violation, or additional tickets could extend this period infinitely. Before making a change to your auto insurance, it is suggested to consult with your auto insurance broker to determine your eligibility of lowering your auto insurance premiums.
How to Reduce Your Driving Risk
There are a variety of ways to reduce your risk, depending on the reason you are considered a high risk driver. The most important way to reduce your risk and to keep it low is to simply abide by all traffic laws. The longer you go without a ticket or infraction the lower your premium will go. It takes time, so be patient and prove that you are a lower risk to the insurance company, you will see rewards in the form of lower costs. The same goes for being accident-free, so practice those defensive driving skills.
Another way to reduce your insurance premiums is to take a defensive driving course. Check with your auto insurance agent to learn about approved courses from your auto insurance provider. Not all courses are created equal, but there is a chance that taking a course may reduce your bills. Last, keep in mind that when you are shopping for a new car that safety records and features really do matter. Before making the decision to buy, or even test drive, it is not a bad idea to contact your broker and ask what the insurance premium for the vehicle may cost. It could save a lot of time and frustration.
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