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 that offers you the right level of cover. 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 that offers you the right level of cover. We aim to make it simple…

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
7 min read
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Who is high risk car insurance for?

High risk car insurance – sometimes called non-standard car insurance or specialist car insurance – is for drivers that insurance companies think are more likely to make a claim or make an expensive claim. This might be because of factors to do with the driver or to do with the car. 

For example, insurance providers tend to 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 my policy is considered high risk?

There’s no way to tell exactly why you might be asked to pay expensive premiums or even refused a policy, but if you have any of the following, it could be the reason you’re considered high risk: 

  • A history of motoring offences – if you have points on your licence it could set alarm bells ringing for insurance providers. Having many points and/or getting them quickly could make you 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 or not. 
  • 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 (for example, 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. The reasons for this generally fall into three categories: Your insurance provider may believe your car:  

  • Puts you at high risk of an accident 
  • Is difficult to repair 
  • Is more tempting to thieves than the average car. 

This could be because your car is: 

  • Modified – if you’ve added alloy 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 be viewed as riskier to drive. You must tell your insurance provider if you make any modifications to your car. 
  • Powerful – 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 and 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 might be considered high risk. 
  • Valuable – insurance providers may view cars that are particularly expensive as high risk. 
  • Classic – you might 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 could be difficult for insurance providers to assess the risk an imported car presents. They might 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.

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

Risk factors can decrease over time – and you could help this along. For example, making sure that you’re a safe, responsible driver could eventually 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.   

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 probably won’t see any benefit from the first ones disappearing. 

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

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

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

  • Take an dvanced 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 these courses might lower your premiums. 
  • Consider telematics (black box) insurance. Your insurance provider will place a device – 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 need to make a claim. 
  • Switch to a car in a lower insurance group – if your personal circumstances make you high risk, you could try to cut down on insurance costs by driving a car that’s less expensive 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 Meerkat Movies and Meerkat Meals 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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