High-Risk Drivers
and Car Insurance

What car insurance options do you have when you're a high-risk driver?

Insurance companies you trust


What does it mean to be a high-risk driver?

If you're considered a high-risk driver, insurance companies consider you to have a high probability of being involved in a claim and therefore must be compensated for taking the risk of insuring you. The best way to get rid of your high-risk driver status is to drive safely and keep a clean driving record. Traffic violations and at-fault accidents disappear off your record after a certain number of years (3 years for tickets and 6 years for accidents). If you continue to drive safely eventually your status as a 'good driver' will be restored and you'll be able to obtain insurance from standard insurance companies at much better rates.

A couple of at-fault collisions, a few traffic violations, or an impaired driving conviction is all it takes to get a high-risk driver designation from your auto insurance company. High-risk also means high auto insurance premiums, often for a period of several years or perhaps worse, an outright cancellation or non-renewal of your existing auto insurance policy.

How to get a lower premium

Auto insurance costs more for drivers who companies consider ‘high-risk.’ That’s the bad news. The good news is there are ways to become a safer driver, and proving you’ve taken the right steps will help reduce your premiums.

If you’re a relatively new driver and haven’t taken a defensive driving course or a safe driving program, enrolling and completing an approved course may present a welcome opportunity for a discount.

Similarly, many Ontario auto insurance companies have discounts available to customers who install safety features, upgrades or alarms in their vehicles. To save money, high-risk drivers may drive vehicles equipped with advanced safety equipment, ones with low theft rates, or ones known to hold up well in collisions.

Another thing to consider is increasing your deductible. For example, if your deductible is $2,000 and you make a claim for $8,000, your insurance provider is only responsible for paying $6,000. By increasing your deductible you’ll reduce the amount your insurer is on the hook for, and they’ll reward you by reducing your premiums. The downside is that, should you need to make a claim, you’ll be responsible for paying a larger portion of the expense

FAQ - Frequently asked questions from high risk drivers

Should the high-risk driver simply give up and give in to high auto insurance costs in Ontario?

There are alternatives for those who are motivated. The first step is to start shopping for competitive auto insurance rates in Ontario. Using a comparison site such as RATESDOTCA will help any driver find an auto insurance provider in Ontario at a better price than expected. Auto insurance companies in Ontario do not necessarily operate the same and will arrive at their own assessment, which often means drivers will be presented with a range of insurance options with different cost structures.

Even though drivers still fall in the high-risk category, comparing quotes represents an opportunity to start improving your driving record. It’s best to discuss your accidents, infractions and convictions openly with your provider and to find out how long a time period they will count against you, as this varies from province to province.

What is Usage-Based Insurance?

Usage-based insurance (UBI) is another option that has been adopted by several insurance companies in Ontario. This takes the form of a device–run by telematics technology–planted in the cars of customers to track and record how they drive, including monitoring quick turns, hard acceleration, braking and overall speed.

Several Ontario auto insurance firms now present customers with a five to 10 percent discount to do a trial run. In the course of trying to establish a better driving record, having such objective data in the hands of auto insurance providers may help the high-risk driver who conforms to safe driving habits. The data cannot be used to increase your premium.

As a high-risk driver, it’s even more important to shop around and compare high-risk car insurance rates. Keep track of your claims and convictions, and know when they’re set to come off your record: three years for convictions and six to nine years for claims. Once something comes off your record, your rate can go down, and you might even fall back into the low-risk category.

What can I do if my insurance gets cancelled and I can't find new coverage?

For those in this unfortunate situation, there is an insurance pool called the Facility Association, which serves as a last resort for those unable to convince an auto insurance service provider to insure their vehicle with an appropriate policy. However, a checkered driving history and the high risk associated with unsafe driving practices will still work against candidates as far as auto insurance costs go.

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