Do you know the difference between a high risk driver and a good one? Chances are, your opinion is a little different from your car insurance provider’s! The question is, what does your insurer have to say about your driving history?
What Makes a High Risk Driver?
High risk drivers are a major concern for everyone. Most of us think of high risk drivers as people who get on the highways and do 70 in a 35, suffer from extreme road rage, like to have a few drinks before getting behind the wheel or have a tendency to doze off at 65 mph. These drivers definitely pose a greater risk to pedestrians, bikers and other drivers than the person that’s never broken the speed limit in their life, but for a car insurance company it’s not just about the risk they pose to others. It’s also about the risk they pose to their insurer.
Car insurance companies are in the business to pay out claims when their drivers are involved in an accident. Seriously-would any of us be paying our insurance premiums if they didn’t? Insurers aren’t philanthropists, however. They’re in the business to make money, and it’s not good business to pay out more in insurance claims than you draw in through premiums every year. That’s why they have to carefully assess the risk of all of their drivers before issuing a policy and do what they can to tip the scales in their favor.
High risk drivers are those that:
a) Are young and inexperienced. (Newly licensed teens and newly licensed adults are going to be judged using the same tape measure.)
b) Have been convicted of multiple traffic violations.
c) Have already caused an accident at some point in the last five years.
d) Are driving a souped up car that begs them to show off and break the rules a little bit.
e) Have been convicted of a DUI or DWI.
How Do You Know if You’re a High Risk Driver?
Chances are, after reading through the list above you’ve got a pretty good idea of what your insurance company thinks about you. If you’re not sure exactly where you fall on the scale of good, bad and ugly go to your friendly neighborhood DMV and ask them how many points you have on your license.
Car insurance companies depend heavily on DMV points to help them determine how big a risk you are behind the wheel. You earn points for being a good driver for five years or more and for completing a driver education or driver improvement course. You lose points for being convicted of a traffic violation or a DUI/DWI.
Yes, you can have negative points on your license. It happens all the time. Check with the DMV to see where your license is sitting.
How to Change Spots on the Naughty and Nice List
If you’re sick of paying ridiculously high premiums for your car insurance coverage, relax. You’re in good company! It’s easier than you might think to clean up your driving record and get back in the game.
Cleaning up your driving record and putting points back on your license isn’t as simple as just paying a few fines. Most traffic violations come off of your driving record after a maximum period of five years, which is why car insurance companies usually offer a five year good driver discount. All you have to do is keep your nose clean that long!
In the meantime, (voluntarily) sign up to take a driver improvement course. This probably won’t help you much if you’ve been court ordered to complete one after a conviction, but if you haven’t voluntarily doing so can definitely work in your favor. Driver improvement courses are offered in most counties and online, making it easy for you to complete a class wherever you happen to live.
Being a high risk driver is no fun, either for you or for your checkbook, but with a little effort you can clean up your record and be enjoying great car insurance rates and the kind of coverage you deserve. No questions asked.