High-risk auto insurance

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How much does high-risk auto insurance cost?

The bad news: You’ll pay more for coverage as a high-risk driver.

The good news: You’ll probably save more money by comparing car insurance rates than a standard or preferred driver would, because you’re starting from a much higher rate to begin with.

For example, here’s what rates from five major insurers look like for a 40-year-old driver buying full coverage on a 2014 Honda Accord in Bowling Green, Kentucky, after a DUI conviction:

We have solutions for you DUI insurance needs because every company calculates rates differently and we can show you side-by-side quotes so you get an affordable solution. The differences are usually hundreds — and sometimes thousands — of dollars.

6 things to expect from a nonstandard policy

If you’re going with the nonstandard route in order to pay lower rates, whether good driver or bad, here are some things to keep in mind.

You may have limits on who can drive your car. With a standard policy, you should list anyone on your policy who lives in your house or drives your vehicle regularly. If you have out-of-town visitors staying with you for a week or two, they are allowed to drive your car without having to be added to your policy.

In comparison, some companies that sell nonstandard auto insurance will let you cover only specific drivers who are named in the policy. If someone who isn’t listed, like your mother-in-law, gets in the driver’s seat and gets in a wreck, your insurance company may not honor your claim.

In addition, the insurance company could ask you to exclude certain household members, often those under age 25.

Your coverage may be reduced in some circumstances. You may face what are known as step-down provisions that reduce the amount of liability coverage if someone who isn’t named on your policy is at the wheel. That means if your cousin comes for a visit and borrows your car, the liability coverage will be lower than if you were driving. In many cases, a state’s minimum requirements fall short of what you would need to pay for injuries or property damage to someone else’s vehicle.

Your driving record may be checked more often. Insurers may not check a low-risk driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR) every renewal period. It may go even a year or two between checks, experts say, allowing some infractions to escape notice until then. The worse your record, the more likely that your MVR will be pulled every renewal period and your rates adjusted.

You may see a smaller check after an accident. If you purchase comprehensive and collision coverage with a nonstandard policy, you also could see a difference at the auto repair shop if you’re involved in an accident.

A standard policy will generally cover the full cost of repairs, unless your auto insurer decides your car is a total loss. If your car is totaled, you’ll receive the depreciated value of the car, which is its market value just before the wreck.

Unlike a standard policy, your nonstandard policy may depreciate your repairs. So rather than covering the full cost of repairing the damage if you’re in a fender-bender, the policy would pay only a portion of the cost, which is determined by the depreciation of the vehicle.

You may not be insured for punitive damages. A nonstandard policy also may not cover you if you’re in a wreck and you’re sued for punitive damages and lose.

You may miss the little extras. Even if you’re a safe driver, you can forget being offered benefits such as having a vanishing deductible or accident forgiveness if you opt for a nonstandard policy.

How do I get back to a standard policy?

Time and a clean record will improve your chances of getting standard coverage at much more attractive rates.

Your driving record: Most insurance companies usually look back three years – sometimes as long as five — for infractions. The newer the infraction, the more heavily it’s weighed. You may be able to erase points with a defensive driving class, too.

Previously uninsured: A single term of coverage will erase your previously uninsured status. Consider shopping for car insurance again as  your renewal date nears.

No credit or bad credit: You can ask for an insurer to recalculate your rates at the next renewal if you think your credit has improved. Or consider comparing quotes again, with your newly improved credit bolstering your chances of saving money. Insurance with bad credit can be expensive, but some carriers will treat you more favorably than others.

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