Being denied car insurance can be confusing, upsetting and inconvenient. Car insurance companies can deny you coverage for various reasons, ranging from your driving record and credit score to your age and location. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), drivers’ consumer reports can contribute to car insurance coverage denials. Insurance companies must also inform you of their reasoning so you know what impacted their decision.
You have options if you’ve been denied coverage. Driving without insurance can incur penalties, including fees and losing your license based on your state. Find out why a car insurance company can deny you coverage, how you can find coverage and tips for improving your consumer profile.
- Car insurance companies typically deny drivers they view as high-risk — those with multiple moving violations, poor credit ratings and limited driving experience.
- Shopping around and getting multiple quotes from various companies can help drivers find an insurance policy for their needs.
- High-risk drivers may need to be flexible about how they get coverage in the short term. Family members and non-standard policies are good options until you can improve your driving and credit reports.
Can a car insurance company refuse to insure you?
Car insurance coverage is required across the United States. At a minimum, drivers must carry liability car insurance, which covers bodily injury and property damages to other drivers. Unfortunately, a car insurance company can refuse to insure you based on your risk factors. For example, you may be considered high risk if you have multiple driving infractions or own a high-performance car.
Reasons you may be denied car insurance:
- High crime neighborhood. When you live in a community with many car thefts, vandalism and property damage incidents, an insurance company may deem the risk too high.
- High-performance car ownership. Owning a classic, custom, antique or sports car requires special insurance. A company may refuse car insurance coverage based on the high-dollar coverage needed.
- Lack of driving experience. Teen drivers are harder to insure because of their inexperience and risk of unsafe behaviors.
- Lapse in coverage. Periods of being uninsured, especially for longer than 30 days, create a lapse in coverage, increase your insurance rate and make you appear at high risk for non-payment.
- Moving violations. This could include a history of collisions, traffic incidents, parking tickets or a DUI/DWI. These actions can make you look like a high-risk driver.
- Poor or no credit. Your credit rating informs insurance companies of the likelihood of your responsibility with payments and the increased risk of making claims.
- Suspended or revoked license. If your license has been revoked or suspended, you are likely looking at high-risk insurance and an SR-22 filing. Most insurance companies may initially refuse you coverage based on the type of coverage you will require.
While insurance companies can deny you coverage as a high-risk driver, it’s not the end of the road for getting coverage. It may require you to be flexible and focused on improving your driving record.
What do you do if you can’t get car insurance?
If a car insurance company has refused to insure you, it’s a good idea to keep shopping online for a policy. Calling providers to discuss your situation can also help to learn what options may be available. Based on the quotes you receive, you may want to follow up with companies directly to explain any discrepancies on your driving or credit reports.
You may need to seek other options if you continue to be denied, such as seeking non-standard insurance or consulting your family for coverage on their policy.
Look for high-risk insurance from a non-standard insurer
Drivers with multiple speeding tickets or traffic infractions, a high-cost injury accident or a DUI within the past five years will likely need to seek a high-risk insurance policy. This type of insurance includes liability coverage and offers a collision and comprehensive coverage option. Since it covers higher-risk drivers, premiums are typically higher than standard policies and coverage is limited.
You can start looking for high-risk insurance by shopping around. Some large insurance companies offer these policies, but you’ll likely need to contact non-standard insurers for coverage. You may see discounts or rewards on your policy if you attend traffic safety or defensive driving courses and maintain a safe driving record.
Find several popular providers below and learn more about non-standard insurance costs and companies in Carinsurance.com’s guide.
- Direct Auto Insurance, a subsidiary of Direct General Insurance Group
- Geico Casualty, the high-risk branch of Geico
- Titan Insurance, a subsidiary of Nationwide Insurance
- The General, a subsidiary of American Family Insurance
Sometimes, you may need help securing a high-risk insurance policy. A Joint Underwriting Association can help. With an assigned risk pool policy, drivers unable to secure insurance on their own have a coverage option, ensuring that no driver is uninsured.
Get added to a family member’s car insurance policy
High-risk insurance costs can add up. If you’re seeking a more affordable coverage option, a family member can add you to their car insurance policy. Most insurance companies allow the addition of another driver to their policy as long as that person regularly drives the same vehicle or resides in the same permanent residence.
It’s important to note the difference between adding a driver and sharing a policy. If added under the main driver’s policy, you’re insured when driving their car and will be covered during an accident. Sharing a policy ensures coverage for the primary policyholder’s vehicle and yours under one policy.
While adding a driver to a family member’s car insurance policy is relatively simple, you still bring your driving history into the equation. This most likely increases the policyholder’s premium.
Improve your chances of getting car insurance
Making mistakes is a part of life. Learning how to recover from them is essential, especially regarding your driving and credit reports. While you work on finding a short-term solution to your car insurance denial, planning for long-term changes is necessary.
Ask yourself what factors have contributed to your moving violations and low credit score and how to improve your behaviors for future success. This might include creating a goal tracker, budget and driving courses. Small actions like these build up over time and increase your chances of securing an affordable car insurance option.
Fix bad credit
When car insurance companies check your credit, considerations include your credit history, payment history and open accounts in good standing. You may be looking at a denial if you have significant past-due payments, collections, a high debt level or a short credit history. Repairing your credit can take time and strategy.
How to improve your credit score
- Be consistent. Credit repairs come with time and commitment. Your snapshot improves month over month. As you show good credit behavior, your score will begin to increase.
- Learn what dropped your rating. An insurance company can tell you the top reason codes (factors) that affected your score and the scoring weights to help you determine what can improve your score.
- Make a plan and go slow. It’s easy to want to fix your credit as quickly as possible, but it can hurt your efforts. Instead, work on making payments on time for several months, pay off one debt at a time, work with creditors on resolving old accounts and avoid opening new accounts.
Making improvements takes time and is a process. Remember to have patience, celebrate your wins and keep at it.
Improve your driving record
Being a safe driver is crucial. In 2020, 35,766 vehicle crashes in the U.S. resulted in 38,824 fatalities, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
It’s essential to consider your driving habits to ensure your and others’ safety and examine where you can begin making changes. Do you drive more than 5 MPH over the speed limit? Do you feel like you’re always rushing to your destination?
These questions can help you assess where you might begin making changes, such as driving in the slowest lane or leaving 10 minutes earlier for your morning commute.
Driving record improvements
In addition to improving your driving behavior, you can work on cleaning up your driving record. Your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can provide your full record. Start by reviewing it for inaccuracies, violation dates and points. High-risk drivers can lower their car insurance rates by fixing their driving records.
- Attend a course. Look into your city’s traffic and driving safety courses. You can learn new driving strategies and use these courses to update your record.
- Dispute errors or contest tickets. If you find inaccuracies on your record, including citations that were wrongly identified or judgments that didn’t come off of your record, you can contest them.
- Remove points. Your violations accrue points based on the violation. You can remove these by attending safety courses or after about a year.
Final thoughts: Can an insurance company deny you coverage?
Yes, an insurance company can deny you coverage. You may be looking at an insurance denial if you have multiple moving violations, limited driving history, poor credit, a DUI/DWI or a high-performance vehicle.
Finding coverage is possible and necessary. A denial may be bothersome but isn’t a reason to drive without insurance — which could lead to more significant issues and penalties.
Seeking insurance coverage might require you to shop around and call various insurance companies, opt for a costly high-risk insurance policy or ask for help from family members.
Regardless of your chosen solution, remember your situation can improve with a plan and continuous effort.
Resources & Methodology
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC). “Consumer reports: What insurers need to know.” Accessed March 2023.
- Insurance Information Institute. “What if I can’t find auto coverage?” Accessed March 2023.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). “Fatality facts 2020: State by state.” Accessed March 2023.
- Progressive. “Can I add a driver to my car insurance?” Accessed March 2023.
- Wisconsin.gov. “Understanding how insurance companies use credit information.” Accessed March 2023.
Why you can trust CarInsurance.com
The CarInsurance.com editorial team bases its reporting on data it commissioned Quadrant Information Services to gather on average auto insurance rates for more than 34K ZIP codes across the United States. Typically, averages are based on rates for a single, 40-year-old male, with no violations who commutes 12 miles to work each day and has a full-coverage policy with limits of 100/300/100 and a $500 deductible for collision and comprehensive coverage.