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What are high risk drivers?

If you are a driver who has quite a few tickets and possibly an accident or two racked up on your record, you may be known as a high risk driver.

Being a high risk driver means that you are going to have some trouble getting auto insurance that is affordable, or it could even be a barrier for an insurance company to be willing to insure you.

What is the definition of a high risk driver?

A high risk driver is defined as a driver who presents a high probability of having an at-fault accident in comparison to other drivers on the road. The designation can usually be determined by a variety of factors:

  • Having a few at-fault accident within a certain amount of time; or
  • Having gotten a few tickets within a certain amount of time; or
  • A combination of the two.

You can also be considered a high risk driver if you are a new driver, or you have serious criminal convictions in relation to driving, such as driving under the influence or dangerous driving.

Every insurance company may have their own criteria as to what constitutes a high risk driver but usually having gotten into a few accidents and having gained a few tickets within a relatively short amount of time can designate someone as high risk in the insurer’s eyes.

What is an at-fault accident?

An at-fault accident is when you are somewhat or fully liable for an accident. Usually, you have to be over a certain percentage at fault before your premium goes up, for example in Ontario it’s 25 per cent, but if you were found partially or fully at fault in a car accident it’s likely your premium will go up.

If you had a few accidents in which you are considered fully or partially at-fault, that could earn you a designation of high risk driver.

What does it mean to be designated as a high risk driver?

Being considered a high risk driver by car insurers can cause a driver a lot of trouble.

Even if a driver is insured with his or her company while coming to be considered a high risk driver then your insurance company could refuse to renew your policy, even if you have been with them for a long time.

If you are out an insurance company it could be tough to find another insurance company that willing to insure you as a high risk driver. Usually, those who are seen as high risk drivers pay a much higher premium than those who don’t have that designation.

On average, a person with a high risk designation could pay up to 25% more on car insurance than her counterpart who is considered a low-risk driver. Keep in mind that car insurance premiums vary across provinces and the amount of increase paid for high risk drivers probably varies.

High risk auto insurance

There are high risk auto insurance companies that will insure you but at a higher premium. You can also get insured for less coverage but that could be problematic should you get into an accident and need benefits.

What can I do to change a high risk driver designation?

Maintain a clean driver’s record. That may be easier said than done but maintaining a clean driver’s record, free of tickets and accidents is virtually the only way a driver can change their status of high risk driver to low-risk driver.

Read more:

Insurance for High Risk Drivers: Who Needs it and Why?

High Risk Auto Insurance in Canada: Everything You Need to Know