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High risk car insurance

If you’ve been convicted of a driving offence, have a history of claims, or are insuring a high-performance car, finding the right level of cover can be tricky.

High-risk car insurance can give you peace of mind on the road. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’ve been convicted of a driving offence, have a history of claims, or are insuring a high-performance car, finding the right level of cover can be tricky.

High-risk car insurance can give you peace of mind on the road. Here’s what you need to know.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
27 JULY 2023
7 min read
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Who is high-risk driving insurance for?

High risk car insurance – sometimes called non-standard car insurance or specialist car insurance – is for risky drivers. In other words, the ones insurance companies think are more likely to claim, or make an expensive claim. This might be down to the driver’s history, or the car they drive.

Insurance providers usually charge higher premiums for new drivers and those considered to have a high-risk occupation. You’re also likely to pay more for your car insurance if you have a powerful, expensive car.

How do I know if I’m considered high risk?

If you’re refused a policy, or asked to pay extremely expensive premiums, it may be because insurance providers think you’re high risk. Here are some of the possible reasons why:

  • A history of motoring offences – having points on your licence can set alarm bells ringing for insurance providers. If you have lots of points and/or got them quickly, you could be considered even higher risk.
  • Been disqualified from driving – if you’ve ever had your licence taken away, this’ll definitely put you in the higher risk category.
  • Non-driving convictions – having criminal convictions, regardless of whether they’re related to your driving, will be seen as a high risk factor.
  • A history of claims – if you’ve been involved in a number of accidents, this’ll be a red flag to insurance providers. It doesn’t matter whether they were your fault.
  • An unsettled insurance claim – the more recent the insurance claim, the more likely you’ll be considered high risk.
  • Been driving for a short time – if you're a new driver (say, you passed your test within the past two years) you’ll probably be considered high risk.
  • Missed payments – failing to pay your car insurance or car finance agreement in the past might also put you in the high-risk insurance category.

How can my car put me in the high-risk car insurance category?

Your car may be considered high risk too. This is probably because your insurance provider believes your car:

  • Puts you at high risk of an accident
  • Is difficult to repair
  • Is particularly tempting to thieves.

This could be because your car is:

  • Modified – modifications, such as alloy wheels or gearbox alterations, can increase the value of your car or make it more expensive to repair. They can also make it more attractive to thieves.

    If you modify your car to make it faster, it could be riskier to drive. So if you make any modifications to your car, you must let your insurance provider know.
  • Powerful – there’s no single definition of a high-performance car. It could be a sports car, hot hatch, supercar, or even a high-end saloon or SUV.

    Your premiums will be based on your car’s make and model and may rise depending on the engine size, acceleration or top speed.
  • Unusual – if your vehicle has only three wheels, it might be considered high risk.
  • Valuable – insurance providers are likely to see expensive cars as high risk.
  • Classic – you might need specialist insurance for a higher value classic car. However, classic cars are sometimes cheaper to insure as they’re usually driven less often.
  • Easier to steal – your car’s anti-theft system can make a big difference to insurance premiums. If your security is outdated or easily compromised, this may put you in the high-risk category.
  • Imported – insurance providers may find it hard to assess the risk of imported cars. They may be more expensive to repair if parts are difficult to find.
  • A kit car – these unique, self-built vehicles often need specialist insurance.

High-risk insurance for convicted drivers

You’re likely to be considered high risk and may need specialist cover if you have driving convictions. These include:

  • Drink driving
  • Drug driving
  • Driving without insurance
  • Speeding
  • Totting up convictions – if you’re disqualified for accruing 12 or more penalty points within three years. For new drivers, your licence will be cancelled if you receive six or more points within 24 months of passing your test.

How do I get car insurance for high-risk drivers?

There are specialist insurance providers who cover a range of cars and personal situations, including convicted drivers. Comparing car insurance prices and policies is a good place to start.

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Can my postcode put me in a high-risk car insurance category?

Your address will certainly affect the cost of your car insurance. And if you live in an area where crime is high or there are a lot of accidents, it’ll be reflected in the price of your premium.

What can I do to lower my high-risk car-insurance premiums?

Risk factors can decrease over time – and you can help this happen. Making sure you’re a safe, responsible driver could lower your premium.

That’s because the longer you go without making a claim, the more chance you’ll have of getting a no-claims discount.

Penalty points on your licence last for four or 11 years from the date of conviction, depending on the offence. You can check on GOV.UK to see how long your points will stay on your licence.

Once your penalty points are spent, you no longer have to report them to your insurance provider. But if you accumulate more points during the four or 11-year window, you could end up with points on your licence for longer – and those earlier ones may not disappear.

Insurance providers won’t typically ask for details of convictions over five years old.

Are there any quick ways to lower my high-risk car insurance premiums?

Here are some ways to potentially lower your insurance premiums if you’re a high-risk driver:

  • Take an advanced driving course
    Pass Plus is a course designed for new drivers, though anyone can take it. IAM RoadSmart offers similar courses including those suited to more experienced drivers. Successfully completing these courses may lower your premiums.
  • Consider telematics (black box) insurance
    A device in your car – or app on your phone – will monitor your speed and driving style and send the data to your insurance provider. If you can show that you’re a responsible driver, your insurance provider may lower your premiums.
  • Reduce your mileage
    The fewer miles you drive, the less likely you are to have an accident. That may mean your premium decreases accordingly. It’s important to be accurate about your mileage though. If you underestimate it and then need to claim, you could invalidate your insurance.
  • Increase your voluntary excess (the amount you pay towards a claim on top of your compulsory excess). Remember, you’ll have to make sure you can afford it if you need to claim.
  • Switch to a car in a lower insurance group – if your personal circumstances make you high risk, you could cut your insurance costs by driving a car that’s cheaper to insure.

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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