If you’ve struggled to find car insurance and have given up all hope of finding anything that’s reasonably priced to meet your needs, or even if you believe that you cannot find insurance at all, given your driving history or bad credit, take heart. You do have some options.
Finding Car Insurance with Bad Credit
Suppose you’ve gotten yourself into trouble and have amassed a number of unpaid bills. This reflects poorly on your credit, putting you into a low credit score. You need to know that even those with bad credit or no credit can obtain car insurance, although it will mean that you’ll probably be put into a non-standard coverage, rather than standard or preferred.
Why is that? Consider the fact that auto insurance companies seek always to minimize their risk. And a person with bad credit, like it or not, can tip the scales in the balance, causing you to end up being considered less than stellar in the risk department.
This, again, doesn’t mean you can’t get insurance for your car. It does mean, however, that you’ll pay more for it—at least while you have a bad credit rating.
Here’s what you can do in the meantime. After you find the auto insurance you need, work diligently on cleaning up your credit. Start by paying all your bills on time, no late payments or missed payments. Over a period of six months to one year’s worth of on-time, consistent payments of all bills—mortgage, rent, credit cards, hospital or medical bills, utilities, and so on—you have a basis for which to request or look for a lower-rate auto insurance policy.
Finding Car Insurance with a Checkered Driving Record
Maybe you’ve racked up several speeding tickets in the past year or have two or more at-fault accident or two on your record in the same timeframe. This can make finding auto insurance tough, but it isn’t impossible.
Just as with the bad credit scenario, if an auto insurance company decides to take you on, it will probably mean you are placed in a higher-risk pool or only be able to get non-standard insurance. Some car insurers, to be sure, won’t touch you at this point. What is absolutely true is that you’ll pay a pretty price to obtain that car insurance policy—at least until you clean up your driving record.
In the case of tickets and at-fault accidents, maybe one or more DUIs on top of it, it’s going to take longer than six months or a year to get out of the high-risk category and qualify for a more reasonable standard policy. It will likely take three years, at the minimum (some auto insurance companies look back five years), to repair your driving history and be classified as a safe or good driver.
If no car insurance company is willing to take you on to begin with, look into your state’s high-risk or assigned-risk pool. This is also called the residual or shared market pool. Every state has this pool, and auto insurers are required by law to accept a certain number of high risk drivers and provide them with insurance coverage.
The majority of these residual market systems are assigned risk pools, plans administered by an office created by the state and governed by a board representing the insurance companies licensed to do business in the state. A few states have state-mandated pooling mechanisms, while a few more have reinsurance facilities. One state has a state-funded system in which private insurance companies don’t participate directly but are required to subsidize any losses from the operation.
Don’t Take No for an Answer
It may be tough to find hard-to-find insurance, but you do have to keep looking. You cannot legally drive without having car insurance. Doing so puts not only you and your financial situation at risk, but also endangers the lives of you, your passengers, and drivers and passengers in other vehicles, along with pedestrians. It’s simply not worth the risk.
Do your research. Be diligent. Don’t take the first refusal and give up. While it may take you some time to land a car insurance policy and you may not like the fact that you’re required to pay more for it than you like, if you want to continue driving, this is just something you’ll have to bear with—until you can remedy your situation.