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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 will be based on the amount you drive and how you drive. If you only do a little bit of driving, your premiums are reduced to reflect this.
It works by installing a device, or using a built-in telematics service such as OnStar or SYNC, that 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.
Some companies don’t use credit to determine your premium. 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.
Extraordinary life circumstances
Even with poor credit you still might be able to get insurance from a traditional insurance company, and lower your rates, by getting an exception for certain life situations. Many insurers reconsider your premium if your credit score was affected by:
- Death of a spouse, child or parent
- Government-declared catastrophes
- Involuntary unemployment
- Military deployment
- Serious illness or injury
- Total loss of your home
- Identity theft
Get cheap insurance with any credit score
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.
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Top 4 ways to save on car insurance with poor credit
To increase your chances getting a good rate, follow these cost-saving suggestions:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 after an accident.
How much can I save if I improve my credit to fair?
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. 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.
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. This means 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.
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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