What Are Some Characteristics of High-Risk Drivers?

If you’ve received a letter from your auto insurer deeming you “high risk”, you may be wondering what earned you this designation. Insurance providers look for certain characteristics that statistically make drivers more likely to cause accidents or file claims.

Understanding the typical traits of high risk motorists can help you avoid this classification in the future.

So what are some common characteristics of drivers considered high risk? Here are key indicators that may lead your insurance company to place you in the high risk category when setting premiums and eligibility.

Multiple Minor Violations

Frequent speeding tickets, stop sign infractions, seat belt violations, or other minor traffic citations can quickly flag you as potentially high risk. Most standard insurers will allow one or maybe two minor incidents in the past 3 years before increasing premiums.

But three or more minor violations over a 3 year period often leads to rejection or placement with a specialty high risk insurer. Too many tickets signifies an ongoing pattern of non-compliance and unsafe behaviors behind the wheel in insurers’ eyes.

Major Violations

Any serious Criminal Code infraction like impaired driving, dangerous driving, street racing, hit-and-run, or reckless endangerment can instantly make you a high risk to insure. These types of major violations demonstrate negligent, hazardous, or reckless behavior behind the wheel. Most standard insurers will outright decline drivers with a major conviction.

At-Fault Accidents

While a single not-at-fault fender bender or minor collision may not affect insurability too severely, two or more at-fault accidents within 3 years can raise red flags for underwriters. Multiple recent collisions you caused indicate possible poor driving habits, lack of skill, insufficient knowledge of rules, or general inattention.

Too many frequent at-fault claims will lead to dramatically higher premiums or rejection from mainstream insurance companies.

Age and Gender

Younger drivers under 25, especially males, are statistically more prone to accidents and risk-taking behind the wheel. Their lack of experience drives up claims frequency and severity for insurers. Teenagers and young male drivers pay the highest rates for this reason. Seniors over 70 can also face higher premiums in some cases.

High-Performance Vehicles

Sports cars, luxury vehicles, souped-up models, and anything with significant horsepower or aftermarket customizations are more expensive to insure and repair. Their capabilities also lend themselves to riskier driving behavior and tendencies. Many insurers assign higher rates for these vehicle types based on historical loss patterns and repair costs.

Urban Environments

Congested metro areas like Toronto or Ottawa have much higher risk of accidents and claims. Rates tend to be inflated in dense urban zones compared to surrounding suburbs due to factors like heavy traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, parking etc. City driving presents more variables and exposures.

No Formal Driver Training

New drivers who skip formal training, driver’s education, or mentoring are often riskier behind the wheel. Lack of quality instruction leads to poor driving habits and knowledge gaps about rules of the road. Insurers favor new drivers with accredited training programs on their records.

High Annual Mileage

Drivers who pile on the mileage year after year have greater statistical odds of being involved in collisions or vehicle breakdowns. The more time you’re on the road, the more total risk exposure you have. Pricing models account for annual mileage estimates when determining premiums.

In Summary

Understanding the typical characteristics and behaviors that define high risk drivers allows you to manage your record and habits wisely. Consult carefully with your Toronto car insurance broker and focus on improving any issues on your history through safe driving practices. Over time, high risk status should only be temporary.

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