Best Insurance For High-Risk Drivers In California

WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich


California traffic laws make it easy to become a high-risk driver. The speed law is called a basic speed law which means you must drive according to the road conditions and weather, not the posted speed. The speed law alone can confuse most drivers who receive traffic violations. If you have received traffic violations or accidents in California, there are still several ways to purchase car insurance coverage that’s affordable.

Who’s considered a high-risk driver in California?

California car insurance companies consider drivers with a DWI or DUI conviction or more than one accident or moving violation to be high-risk drivers. Teen drivers, as well as drivers over the age of 70 and people who let their auto insurance policy lapse, can also be considered high-risk drivers. These California drivers will all pay higher premiums for their auto insurance policies.

Car accidents

Motorists that have had more than one at-fault accident within three to five years are considered high-risk because they file claims that the car insurance companies must pay. If you have let your insurance lapse but still own a vehicle, you will also be considered high-risk.

Moving violations

If you have received more than one moving violation, whether DUI, speeding ticket, or running a red light, you’re a high risk to auto insurance providers since you’re no longer considered a safe driver. Moving violations can remain on your driving history for up to ten years and affect your auto insurance rates.

Over 70

California drivers over 70 can be classified as high-risk, even with a clean driving record, due to slowing reflexes, reduced sight, and less bodily mobility.

What happens to your auto insurance rates if you’re labeled a high-risk driver?

Once placed in a high-risk category, you will see increases in your car insurance premiums above the average rates, loss of discounts, and possibly nonrenewal or even cancellation of your car insurance coverage. You can take some actions to help reduce the impact of being considered a high-risk driver to keep the best rate.

Defensive driving course

If you have received a minor moving traffic violation, there are online defensive driving courses that you can take to stop your auto insurance provider from raising your premium.

Review your discounts

Accumulating discounts can keep your cost of car insurance at affordable rates. Bundle your homeowners or renters policy with the same insurance company.

Many discounts can be applied, such as loyalty discounts for staying with the same insurance provider for years. Other discounts include military, teacher, student, multiple cars, low mileage, etc.

Shop around

Each auto insurance provider has a similar but different methodology for rating someone high-risk. It would be wise to get several auto insurance quotes to compare prices.

As long as you give the insurance agent the same coverage limits, deductibles, driving record, claims history, and credit score, they will be able to provide you with an accurate car insurance quote.


While it’s not suitable for the long term, you can minimalize your car insurance coverages until your traffic tickets and accidents expire and your auto insurance rates return to the standard rates. Usually, this will take between three to five years.

Suppose your car does not have a lienholder. In that case, you can lower your car insurance rates to the state’s minimum liability insurance coverage rather than paying for a full coverage insurance policy. You can increase your deductibles if you’re still paying for your car.

Do you have to have particular auto insurance if placed in a high-risk driver category?

Depending on why you’re high-risk, you may have to have special auto coverage called an SR-22. An SR-22 certificate is a proof of financial responsibility to the DMV that you have the minimum auto insurance required by the state or a court order. A California SR-22 is required if your driver’s license is suspended or revoked so that you can reinstate your driving privileges.


If your auto insurance provider has canceled or will not renew your policy, standard auto insurance companies still provide high-risk markets. This auto policy will have higher rates, but it will keep you in the private insurance market. Staying in the private insurance market is vital because you will want an easy transition back to the average auto policies and the lower rates.

Assigned risk

California, like all states, has an assigned risk insurance pool. In California, it’s called CAARP, California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan. All auto insurance providers that sell insurance in California must participate in CAARP, a program that equally assigns high-risk drivers between insurance providers in the state. They must all charge the same auto insurance rates.

The assigned risk insurance should be a last resort. This program is for drivers who can’t purchase auto insurance from standard insurance providers.


What is the best car insurance company in California for high-risk drivers?

There is no exact answer to which insurance company is best for high-risk drivers. However, State Farm, GEICO, and Progressive would be good places to start to get auto insurance quotes.

What is a high-risk driver in California?

High-risk drivers in California can be anyone with multiple traffic tickets, multiple accidents, a DUI/DWI, or teenage or elderly drivers.

What do California insurance companies consider high-risk?

Insurance companies consider anyone who has bad credit, has been uninsured, has a bad driving record, or has filed multiple claims to be a candidate for high-risk auto insurance.

What does high risk mean for car insurance?

High-risk car insurance is for motorists that have too many traffic tickets, accidents, poor credit, and other factors that would cost the car insurance company more money.

What do you need to do to become a high-risk driver?

While no one wants to be classified as a high-risk driver, having more than one traffic violation or accident within five years will place you in a high-risk category.

What is the riskiest car insurance company?

The riskiest car insurance company is the state’s assigned risk pool. This program is when no standard auto insurance company will sell you an insurance policy. States require that every driver have auto insurance, so they created a pool that forces insurance companies to provide auto insurance equally.

How much more do high-risk drivers pay for car insurance?

High-risk drivers can pay up to 85% more in auto insurance premiums than the average insurance costs.

Be safe and bounce back.

Tomorrow is another day, so if you have been classified as a high-risk driver today, you should start the process of reversing that status in order to get affordable car insurance. Take the defensive driving course, work on poor credit, and obey the traffic laws; your auto insurance rates will come down in time. Meanwhile, our online tools can get you started toward cheap car insurance.