High risk car insurance

Whether you’ve been convicted of a driving offence, have a history of claims or you’re looking to insure a high-performance car, it can be trickier finding an insurance provider who offers you the right level of coverage. We aim to make it simple…

Whether you’ve been convicted of a driving offence, have a history of claims or you’re looking to insure a high-performance car, it can be trickier finding an insurance provider who offers you the right level of coverage. We aim to make it simple…

Daniel Hutson
Head of Motor Insurance
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Posted 20 SEPTEMBER 2021

Who is high risk car insurance for?

High-risk car insurance – sometimes called non-standard car insurance or specialist car insurance – is for drivers who:

  • Have several points on their licence
  • Have had their licence revoked
  • Have outstanding criminal or motoring convictions
  • Have a history of claims
  • Are settling another car insurance claim
  • Only recently passed their driving test

There’s also a number of other reasons you could be considered high risk, including if you live in a high-risk area (for example an urban area where there have been lots of accidents) or have a high-risk occupation. You might also need a non-standard policy if you want to insure certain types of high-risk vehicles.

How do I know if my policy is considered high risk?

If you find car insurance providers won’t offer you a policy, or the price they offer you is unusually high, it could be because they consider you or your car to be high risk.

There’s no way to tell exactly why, but if any of the following applies to you, there’s a good chance that could be the reason:

  • You have a history of motoring offences – no matter how you got them, if you have points on your licence it could set alarm bells ringing for insurance providers. If you have many points and/or you accrued them quickly, this could make you even higher risk.
  • You previously lost your licence – if you’ve ever had your licence taken away, this will definitely put you in the higher risk category.
  • You have other convictions – if you have any  criminal convictions, no matter whether they were related to your driving, this’ll be seen as a high-risk factor.
  • You have a history of claims – if you’ve been involved in a number of accidents throughout your driving career, this’ll be a red flag to insurance providers. It doesn’t matter whether they were your fault or not.
  • You are currently settling another insurance claim – the more recent the insurance claim, the more likely you’ll be considered high risk.
  • You haven’t been driving for very long – if you're a new driver (for example, you passed your test within the past two years) you’ll probably be considered high risk.

Could my car put me in the high risk car insurance category?

You may be considered high risk if the vehicle you’re insuring is considered by insurance providers to put you at greater risk of an accident; is difficult to repair; or could be seen as more tempting to thieves. This could include a vehicle that’s:

  • Modified – if you’ve added your own wheels or made alterations to the engine or gearbox, for example. Modifications can increase the value of your car or make it more expensive to repair. They could also make it more attractive to thieves. And, if you’ve modified your car to make it faster, it could therefore be viewed as riskier to drive. You must tell your insurance provider if you make any modifications to your car.
  • High performance – there’s no single definition of a high-performance car. It could be a sports car, a hot hatch, a supercar or even a high-end saloon or sports utility vehicle (SUV). Your premiums will be decided based on the make and model of the vehicle. They may be higher depending on the size of your engine, number of cylinders, acceleration, top speed and so on.
  • Unusual – for instance, if your vehicle has only three wheels it may be considered high risk.
  • High value – insurance providers might view cars that are particularly expensive as high risk.
  • Classic – you may need specialist insurance for a higher value classic car, although classic cars can sometimes be cheaper to insure than regular cars because they’re usually driven less often.
  • Easier to steal – the anti-theft system you have in your car 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 – it can be difficult for insurance providers to assess the risk an imported car presents. (They may also be more expensive to repair because parts could be difficult to find.)
  • A kit car – specialist cover is often needed for these unique, self-built vehicles.

High risk insurance for convicted drivers

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

  • Drink driving
  • Drug driving
  • Driving without insurance
  • Speeding
  • Totting up convictions – when you’ve been disqualified after getting 12 or more penalty points within three years. (For new drivers, your licence will be cancelled if you accrue six or more points within 24 months of passing your test.)

Do I need a specialist policy if I’m a high-risk driver?

Depending on your situation and the car you want to insure, you might be able to get cover from a standard insurance provider.

There are also specialist insurance providers that could cover a range of cars and personal situations, including convicted drivers. Comparing car insurance prices and policies with Compare the Market is a good place to start.

Frequently asked questions

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

If you’re in the high-risk category because you haven’t been driving for very long, making sure you’re a safe, responsible driver can lower your high-risk car insurance premiums over time. That’s because the longer you go without making a claim, the more chance you’ll have of getting a no-claims bonus. As your driving experience increases, it will help you out of the high-risk car-insurance category.

If you’ve previously had your licence confiscated, if you have unspent convictions (motoring or non-motoring) or have made claims on your car insurance policy, you may be better off taking out high-risk car insurance. It’s worth comparing to see if one of the providers that are specialists are willing to offer you a competitive quote thanks to their experience of high-risk drivers.

If you have penalty points on your licence, these will 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’ll potentially extend the total period you have points on your licence – and you’re unlikely to see any benefit from the first ones disappearing.

Typically, insurance providers won’t ask for details of convictions over five years old.

What else could make me a high-risk driver?

The area you live in can influence whether you’re seen as a high-risk driver. If the area you register your vehicle in is a hotspot for vehicle thefts or incidents, this may affect your premiums, no matter how safe a driver you are.

And certain occupations can be considered high risk. That means you may find you enter the high-risk car-insurance category because of your line of work.

Having missed payments on your car-insurance or car-finance agreement in the past may also put you in the high-risk category.

How else can I lower my high risk car insurance premiums?

If you’re considered a high-risk driver but still want to lower your insurance premiums, you could:

  • Take an advanced driving course. Pass Plus is a course designed for new drivers, although it can be taken by anyone. IAM RoadSmart offers similar courses including ones suited to drivers with more experience. Successful completion of one or other of these courses might lower your high-risk car-insurance premiums.
  • Consider telematics (black box) insurance. Your insurance provider will place a black box in your vehicle – or you may be able to download an app – to monitor your speed and driving style. 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, so your premium might decrease accordingly. It’s very important to be accurate about your mileage though. If you underestimate it and need to make a claim, you could invalidate your insurance.
  • Increase your voluntary excess (the amount you pay towards a claim on top of your compulsory excess). But remember, you’ll have to make sure you can afford it if you do need to make a claim.
  • Switch to a car in a lower insurance group – if your personal circumstances make you high risk, you won’t want to make the situation worse by driving a car that’s very expensive to insure.

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