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Compare car insurance for drivers with poor credit

Consider nonstandard providers for affordable car insurance without a perfect credit score.

A poor credit score can affect more than your ability to borrow money in the future. It also might increase your auto insurance premiums or exclude you from certain insurers altogether. Find out what you can do to get cheap insurance regardless of your credit.

What’s the best car insurance for drivers with poor credit?

It might be difficult to get car insurance with poor credit, but not impossible. These types of coverage could be your best bet.

Usage-based car insurance

With usage-based insurance, the cost of your insurance is based on how much you drive and how you drive. If you only do a little bit of driving, your premiums are reduced to reflect this.

You’ll use a telematics device to track your driving with a device that plugs into your car, a mobile app or built-in service like OnStar or SYNC. The device tracks the miles you drive and your driving behavior — like hard braking and rapid acceleration. This allows your insurer to determine risk with a high level of accuracy, rewarding safe driving habits regardless of credit.

Is usage-based insurance for me?

If you’re working on repairing your credit and don’t drive often, usage-based insurance policy could benefit you. Insurance companies use personal driving habits — not a general credit score — to determine rates. But if you have risky driving habits, this type of insurance may not save you money.

No-credit policy

Some companies don’t use credit to determine your premium. These insurers may apply more weight to other factors, such as driving record. However, an insurer that doesn’t check your credit will likely charge higher rates than its competitors.

State laws in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts prohibit insurance companies from using credit as a factor.

Is no-credit-check coverage best for me?

A no-credit policy works well if you’re denied coverage by other insurers or if you have a safe driving record, which could lower your rates.

Extraordinary life circumstances

Even with poor credit you could get insurance from a traditional insurance company and lower your rates by getting an exception for certain life situations. However, typically you should have a strong driving history and regular on-time payments.

Many insurers reconsider your premium if your credit score was affected by:

  • Death of a spouse, child or parent
  • Divorce
  • Government-declared catastrophes
  • Involuntary unemployment
  • Military deployment
  • Serious illness or injury
  • Total loss of your home
  • Identity theft

Should I consider applying for extraordinary circumstances?

If your credit has been impacted by a life situation, some insurance companies may consider that before raising your rates. However, typically you should have a strong driving history and regular on-time payments.

Best for bad credit: Geico

Stack discounts up to 40% off already low premiums, with convenient mobile services like proof of insurance and claims.

  • Save over $500 on average by switching
  • Earn or buy accident forgiveness to keep premiums low
  • Reach customer service 24/7 by phone, online or app
  • Access convenient app services like proof of insurance and bill pay

Get cheap insurance with any credit score

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Progressive
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Discover coverage that’s broader than competitors, valuable discounts up to 30% off and perks like shrinking deductibles that reward no claims.
The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Enjoy low rates for mature drivers, plus perks like new car replacement and lifetime repair guarantees. Only for drivers over age 50.
USAA
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service. Only available to military members and veterans and their family.
Savvy
Savvy
Optional
Optional
Yes
All states & DC
Enter your current policy and get quotes in 30-seconds from 100+ companies, then get help to switch insurers for free. Requires online login to your existing insurance.
Root
52%
Available in 30 states
Track your driving to receive a low rate that reflects your driving skills, and enjoy a fully app-based policy experience.
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How much is car insurance for drivers with poor credit?

You can find cheap car insurance without the need for excellent credit, but your options may be limited. To get the best rates, it helps to be a low-risk driver in other ways, like driving a cheap, safe car and not making car insurance claims.

Compare the cheapest quotes for California drivers with poor credit.

Insurance companyCheapest rate
Metromile$534
State Farm$594
USAA$619
Capital$727
Grange$737
AAA$865
Progressive$998
21st Century$1,145
Allstate$1,531

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Top 5 ways to save on car insurance with poor credit

To increase your chances getting a good rate, follow these cost-saving suggestions:

  1. Look for smaller or nonstandard insurers. A handful of auto insurers brand themselves more willing to accept drivers who might have a hard time getting insurance elsewhere.
  2. Bundle your policies. If you own a policy with a large insurance company that offers many types of insurance, it could make financial sense to pay for your home, auto and life insurance under one company. Bundling can save you money and might make payments and support more convenient as well.
  3. Trim your coverage. The kind of coverage you’re used to might cost more than you’ve ever paid before — maybe even more than you’re willing to pay at all. This is where you can strategize about what to cut from your policy without leaving yourself too exposed.
  4. Increase your deductible. Raising how much you’ll pay before your insurance kicks in could result in more manageable rates. But your deductible shouldn’t be higher than what you can reasonably pay for damage after an accident.
  5. Get a rate check. If you improve your credit, contact your provider about refiguring your rate to account for the increased score. It may also be worth shopping around to see rates from other providers.

How much can I save if I improve my credit?

Improving your credit score can influence your rates significantly, even if it’s just a small improvement. In fact, upping your credit by 100 points could save as much as $1,000 per year.

For example, drivers with fair credit can expect to pay 30% less than drivers with poor credit. Even an increase from fair to good credit often saves around 17% with big name providers.

That means you could be paying $1,820 per year for car insurance with fair credit instead of $2,366 with poor credit — a savings of $546. If you take it to the next level, you could pay $1,510 per year — an additional savings of $310.

Why is car insurance more expensive for drivers with bad credit?

Unless you live in California, Hawaii or Massachusetts, insurance companies can use your credit-based insurance score when evaluating your risk as a policyholder. Despite the controversy over using credit score in insurance, a great credit score can help your rates, and a poor credit score might hurt them.

Using credit score to decide a driver’s car insurance rates is banned in California, Massachusetts and Hawaii. But in most states, your credit score is a major factor for your insurance premium. Studies have shown drivers with lower credit scores tend to file more insurance claims, so drivers with lower insurance-based credit scores will often face higher insurance premiums.

Car insurance for drivers with poor credit can be expensive or difficult to find. Most of the car insurance policies you’ll find without credit checks are sold by high-risk insurers. By opting to go without a credit check, insurers often automatically place you into a high-risk group.

Credit-based insurance score vs. normal credit score

Credit-based insurance scores are very similar to the credit scores that get checked when you apply to borrow money. The information used for both comes from your credit report. But the biggest difference is that a credit-based insurance score doesn’t take your personal information into account — including your income history or job.

How do I know if insurers are looking up my credit?

Your insurer will likely check your credit score during the quote process. Most companies use a soft hit to check insurance-based credit, meaning it won’t influence your credit score.

Per the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s regulations, the insurer must first ask your permission to check your credit. To obtain your credit score, they will ask for information like your Social Security number, address and the car’s VIN.

Bottom line

When your credit negatively affects your ability to get insured, it can be difficult to find a reasonable rate. But you have viable options for getting your wheels turning again.

Start by looking into insurers and big-name subsidiaries marketed for high-risk drivers. Weigh their options against your needs and priorities to find the best rate you’re eligible for.

For more tips on keeping your rates low, read our comprehensive guide to car insurance.

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