Virginia high risk car insurance is often not as expensive as you might think. There is a wide range of non-standard rates that can vary greatly, depending on which company is the most competitive for your specific driver, car and driving record. Progressive may offer the lowest rate in one instance, and perhaps Geico or Nationwide will be the best choice for another individual. We'll help you reduce your prices by finding the companies that will "go easy" on drivers with tickets and accidents. If you need an SR-22 bond, we will help you find the cheapest option and how to easily file the paperwork.
What Is “High Risk” Car Insurance?
This type of coverage is designed for drivers that have had their license suspended and/or revoked, have been convicted of a DUI, DWI, or currently have many violations and accidents on their driving record. Often, an “SR-22” document is required to be filed with the state. This will verify that you maintain current insurance that meets the state liability requirements.
The "SR" signifies safety responsibility and the actual paperwork is prepared by an insurance carrier. You can still file for this document if you don't own a vehicle. Usually, you have to keep the SR-22 for about five years, although sometimes it is less. If you let it lapse, the BMV is notified and you will lose your license. Although the cost of the Bond is not significant, it must be kept in addition to regular liability coverage.
Often called “Non-Standard” auto insurance, in Virginia, there are many more drivers that fit within this category than in the 1980s or 1990s. Sometimes a combination of bad credit, moving violations and age can place someone in this category. Rates can typically increase by 100%, and sometimes, much more. NOTE: Often, there is a delay in your premium increasing, if your existing carrier is not yet notified of the violations.
However, you are not stuck in this situation forever. Not only does "time heal all wounds," but it also can potentially reduce your auto insurance premiums. As your tickets and accidents become older (assuming you maintain a fairly-clean record), you can expect to see prices drop, and eventually back to your original level. Depending on the vehicles you drive, your premiums may reduce to levels that are actually lower than they were when you received all of the violations.
What If My Policy Lapsed?
Of course, the first thing you should do is attempt to reinstate the policy with your existing carrier. If the lapse is fairly short (less than 14 days), you may be able to simply submit a payment for the amount due (plus any other late fees or for back coverage) and get back on the road again. However, it is possible that a reinstatement will not be available and you will have to start all over again by applying for a new policy.
If a new application is required, we shop multiple carriers and show you the options with the best prices, lowest initial payment, and best chance of reducing premium and obtaining a preferred rating.
How Can I Reduce My Rate?
There are a few things you can do. Fortunately, as previously mentioned, not all companies charge the same rate for this type of risk. That is why it is important to request quotes from a few carriers. For example, it is not unusual for Company A to charge $900 per 6-months for a particular person, while a competing company charges only $500. Each company has different sets of underwriting guidelines and occasionally there will be tremendous differences in rate quotes. You can also check out our review of Va auto insurance companies for additional tips.
Also, it's important to avoid getting any additional moving violations. Every additional ticket extends the period of time in the non-standard classification. The absence of accidents and comprehensive claims (fire, theft, and vandalism) will also speed up the transition back to preferred status. Non at-fault accidents should not impact your rate, unless there are multiple incidences where negligence could not be established.
Take a defensive driving course. There are many approved courses offered throughout the state in different locations. If you prefer not to sit in a classroom for 6-12 hours, there is an approved online study course offered by DrivingUniversity.com. The total cost is $49.95, which includes eight hours of online study, followed by a final live exam that is typically taken at a local library.
You do not have to complete the course in one sitting and can freely log in and out of the website. When the course is completed and you have passed the exam, the DMV will be sent a copy of your transcript. It can usually be used if you were ordered by the court to complete a driver-safety course. The final exam takes about 20 minutes and can be re-taken if it is not passed (which is unusual).
Are All Teenagers Considered High Risk Drivers?
No! Everyone starts off with a clean slate. And although a newly-licensed driver is the most expensive type of risk, they are not automatically considered “non-standard” risks. Typically, any existing discount on the policy will be applied to the new driver, so if a teenager is added to their parent's policy, a wide range of discounts will apply. Multi-policy and multi-car are the most common discounts.
Teenagers can also qualify for a substantial good-student reduction. Full-time status is usually required along with a "B" or "80" average. But perhaps the best method to reduce the rate is to maintain a clean driving record. Teenage rates will reduce quickly as more years of driving experience are added to the record. Driving three or five years without an incident will substantially lower costs.
In Virginia, When Will I Get Off Non-Standard Insurance?
Once you are classified as a non-standard” driver, there are steps you can take to minimize the time you have to pay high rates. Whether you are a teenager or an adult, avoid tickets and accidents and monitor your credit scores. As each year passes by, you’ll be in a better position to obtain competitive Virginia auto insurance rates. Within 3-5 years, you should be able to move out of the “non-standard” category. However, if there are moving violations every year, it will take much longer.
You should also periodically check with the Virginia DMV and closely watch when your moving violations fall off your driving record. If you owe any fines, pay them immediately. Also, if any driving courses are offered that will reduce your rate, take them as quickly as possible. Defensive driving courses and seminars may also reduce prices.
May 2015 - Wallet-Hub, a leading social media financial resource, recently rated each state for the size of penalty drivers are charged for moving violations and at-fault accidents. Virginia was ranked 31st in premium surcharges and far below the most expensive high-risk states of Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan, California, and Louisiana.
Our state's average annual price increase for a DUI was $465, which was significantly less than most other states. However, if you have two at-fault accidents within 3-5 years, our state ranking jumped to 19th, with an average premium increase of over $1,000. The states with the most liberal surcharge system in place were Iowa, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, and Utah.
Edward Harris is the owner and founder of this website. Since 1980, he has been helping individuals and families with their car insurance needs. During that time, he has handled more than 10,000 applications and continues to provide service for thousands of clients.
Ed is married with two children and enjoys tennis, golf, and international politics. Reluctantly, he bowls once every 10 years.
Ed Harris' articles are listed on this page. Enjoy !