• What Constitutes Being a High Risk Driver

    It may be a surprise to some people, but there are quite a few different reasons that someone might be classified as a high risk driver. Many people assume that the only way you can be placed in the high risk driver category, which requires non-traditional insurance, is by having numerous or serious traffic violations on your driving record. The truth is there are 4 common factors that contribute to an insurance company’s decision to place a driver in a non-traditional or high risk driver category. Here are some common reasons that a driver may not be approved for a conventional auto insurance policy.

    Traffic Violations

    Traffic violations are a very common reason for a driver to be placed in the non-traditional category. Usually it takes repeated violations in a short period of time to be dropped from conventional coverage. Of course if a driver has more serious violations such as DUI or reckless driving tickets, they are put in the high risk category right away. That’s because someone who has been convicted of these types of offenses is many times more likely to be involved in an accident, and claims from DUI and reckless driving accidents are typically much more severe. Insurance companies remove these types of drivers from traditional policies to limit their liability.

    Age

    Younger drivers are automatically put in a high-risk category. Of course drivers aged 16 to 18 must be added to an adult’s policy and cannot obtain insurance coverage otherwise. Drivers in the 18 to 21 age range are usually placed in the high risk category when obtaining coverage separate from a parent or other adult with an established policy, especially when the driver is male. Young drivers in general have a much higher probability of being involved in a collision, and young male drivers typically drive more aggressively.

    Experience

    People who are obtaining their driver’s license for the first time are put in a high risk bracket automatically, especially when obtaining a policy apart from a more experienced driver. Some insurance companies estimate that a new driver is over 5-times more likely to be involved in a collision during their first 3 years on the road. One way to mitigate this is to complete defensive driver education courses. Many times insurance companies will offer you a discount for participating in these types of courses, especially for less-experienced drivers. By showing your insurance provider that you’re willing to make an effort to become a more educated and conscientious driver, you reduce their perceived risk.

    Previous Coverage

    This comes as a surprise for many people when trying to obtain insurance after they haven’t had coverage for a period of time. If your insurance coverage has lapsed even for a period less than a year, you can be placed in a high-risk driver category. This is especially important to remember for active-duty military personnel and people travelling overseas for an extended period of time, even people that simply choose not to drive for other reasons. Before you let your policy end, talk to your insurance agent or company representative. They might be able to help you avoid this pitfall.