What Is Non-Standard Auto Insurance?

Last Updated on March 17, 2022

When shopping around for insurance for your car, you may hear the term ‘non-standard auto insurance’ thrown around. If you’re new to buying auto insurance or just don’t know much about it, this term might be confusing. Here’s what you need to know about non-standard auto insurance – what it is, how it works, and whether or not you need it.

non-standard auto insurance

Non-Standard Auto Insurance Explained

Non-standard auto insurance is any type of auto insurance sold to people who would typically be unable to get it. It is a very broad classification that contains many different types of auto insurance.

Auto insurers determine their rates and the type of coverage they offer based on the risk that each individual customer presents to them. When a new customer applies for an insurance policy, the insurer will assess their case and categorize them as preferred, standard, and non-standard. Preferred and standard drivers are given low to average premium costs and traditional coverage. Non-standard drivers are given much higher rates, or in the worst cases, denied insurance.

Many insurance companies offer policies specifically targeted towards people who cannot qualify for standard insurance for one reason or another. These policies provide much-needed coverage for those who don’t qualify for a typical policy. Not all companies offer these types of insurance policies, but some companies specialize in them. Non-standard insurance policies are typically more expensive than a standard policy to compensate for the additional financial risk that the insurance company is taking.

Do I Need Non-Standard Auto Insurance?

There are many instances where you may need non-standard insurance. Here are just a few situations where you may need to look for specialized insurance policies.

  • You are a new driver and are looking to purchase your own policy as opposed to joining a family member’s or partner’s. Many insurance companies do not want to take the risk of insuring a driver without any experience on their own.
  • You want to purchase car insurance, but you don’t own a car. Maybe you’re driving a family member or friend’s car occasionally, or you want to be able to rent cars while traveling. It can be challenging for insurers to determine a quote for this type of insurance because so much of the policy cost is based on the type of car you have. Non-standard insurance is going to be the best way to get coverage.
  • You are over the age of 65. Some insurance companies consider older drivers to be riskier to insure, due to their higher risk of developing health problems.
  • You are legally required to carry an SR-22, which certifies to the government that you have a certain amount of car insurance coverage. You are usually required to carry these if you have had a DUI or other driving-related legal issues. This is an indication to insurance companies that you are going to be more of a risk to insure, so you’ll need to find a specialized insurer.
  • Even if you aren’t required to carry an SR-22, typical insurance companies may deny you the car insurance you’re looking for if they consider you to be a high-risk driver. This usually happens if you’ve gotten into several accidents, had a large number of tickets and other driving violations, or have made a large number of insurance claims.
  • You have poor credit. Many insurance companies will look at a driver’s credit score when determining their premiums. If you have poor credit, many companies will consider you a risk, because they may worry that you won’t make your payments. Not all companies use credit scores to determine your premium costs, so if you have low credit, you may just need to look for a company that doesn’t take it into consideration.
  • You’ve let your car insurance lapse over time. As long as you’re driving, you should have car insurance coverage. Many companies will not want to insure someone who has let their coverage lapse or will charge them much higher premiums.

How Can I Get Non-Standard Auto Insurance?

If you think you need non-standard auto insurance, start by determining exactly why you can’t get coverage from a traditional insurance provider. Then, you can look for insurers that specialize in policies catering to your unique situation. Even with non-standard auto insurance, you should always make sure that you are getting quotes from several different insurance providers. Your premium cost can vary widely between providers, so assessing several different options is one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the lowest price possible. If you are really struggling to find insurance coverage, you can also look at your state’s assigned risk pool. This takes high-risk customers and assigns them to local insurance companies to ensure you have some coverage options. Keep in mind that not all states offer this option.

Keep in mind that some non-standard insurance policies come with limitations that you wouldn’t see on a traditional insurance policy. You’ll want to make sure you are aware of these so that you aren’t blindsided when you go to file a claim later on. Read your policy in full and make sure to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Keep in mind that your driving record will change over time – insurance companies will stop factoring in claims and violations once they are a certain number of years old. If you have non-standard insurance, you may be able to switch back to a standard policy in a year or two once your record has recovered.

Final Word on Non-Standard Insurance Policies

If you need non-standard auto insurance, don’t worry. Many local and national companies offer non-standard policies. You will likely have to shop around more to find the policies you need, and you may not have as much flexibility when it comes to your rates. However, even with non-standard insurance, you still deserve reliable coverage. That’s why it’s important to shop around and make sure you ask questions about the coverage you are getting. With some savvy shopping, you’ll be able to find the coverage that makes the most sense for your needs.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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