What Is Non-Standard Auto Insurance?

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Nonstandard auto insurance refers to car insurance for risky drivers or drivers who need special coverage, such as a nonowners policy. In most cases, it is the same as standard coverage, but the premiums are higher. You can get nonstandard car insurance from some major insurance companies, the nonstandard insurance companies they control or companies that specialize in nonstandard or high-risk auto insurance.

How does non-standard auto insurance work?

Non-standard auto insurance is for drivers who are too risky for insurance companies to cover at standard rates.

Companies usually break down their coverage into three risk tiers: preferred, standard and non-standard. Preferred customers pay the least for car insurance, because they're the least risky. Drivers in the non-standard tier pay the highest rates.

For example, if you've filed multiple accident claims within the past few years, insurance companies figure you'll have more accidents than other drivers in the future. You'll fall under the non-standard tier of drivers, and your rates will be much higher than average.

If you're deemed too risky, the insurance company might cancel your policy. You'd have to purchase coverage from a company that specializes in non-standard auto insurance. You could be labeled a high-risk driver if you are younger than 25, are older than 75, lack driving experience or have poor credit.

How much does non-standard auto insurance cost?

The cost of non-standard auto insurance depends on the average premiums in your state and the reason you're required to get it. A speeding violation won't raise your rates as much as a DUI.

Surprisingly, age had the largest influence on rates in most states. Teenage drivers tend to pay more than drivers guilty of a DUI-related accident.

Car insurance rates by state and driver profile

Clean driving record
Speeding violation
DUI + accident
Young driver
New Jersey$2,416$4,452$6,576$9,048
New York$1,812$2,544$5,532$6,216

Best non-standard auto insurance for high-risk drivers

State Farm has the best non-standard auto insurance quotes for most drivers. In most states they have the cheapest rates for young drivers and drivers with a speeding ticket or accident.

State Farm is the cheapest on average, but you should compare quotes from multiple companies to make sure you're getting the best deal.

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How do I get non-standard auto insurance?

Many insurance companies offer non-standard auto insurance as a separate tier of coverage. Some large companies control smaller companies that may have better rates for non-standard insurance than the parent company.

You can purchase non-standard or high-risk auto insurance the same way you would any other policy. If your state requires an SR-22 from you, your insurance company will need to file the form to prove to your state that you have adequate auto insurance. You'll have to pay a filing fee, and your premiums will increase by a lot.

Insurance companies that sell non-standard auto insurance

What if I can't get a policy from any company?

If you can't get car insurance from a high-risk auto insurance company, consider your state's assigned-risk pool. They provide insurance to high-risk drivers who can't get coverage otherwise.

This should only be used as a last resort, though Most states' assigned-risk programs tend to be more expensive than coverage offered by non-standard insurance companies.

Reasons you might need non-standard auto insurance

Non-standard insurance is a broad term. You may have to get it for a variety of reasons. For example, you may fall into the non-standard tier if:

  • You have multiple tickets or accidents on your driving record. If you have had multiple traffic violations and accidents that have resulted in insurance claims, you'll likely be labeled high risk.
  • You had a lapse in insurance coverage. Drivers in nearly every state are required to have a car insurance policy. So car insurance companies like to see a consistent record of coverage. Drivers who weren't insured at some point, even for less than 30 days, are considered riskier.
  • You are required to file an SR-22. Your state may require you to carry an SR-22 if you've been convicted of a DUI or other form of reckless driving. As long as the form is required, you'll have to pay non-standard insurance rates to legally drive.
  • You need car insurance but don't have a car. Nonowner car insurance is for people who don't own a car but frequently drive. But unlike high-risk drivers, nonowners can also usually find liability insurance through major insurance companies.
  • Your car has a salvage title. Some major insurance companies offer liability coverage, but not collision or comprehensive coverage, for rebuilt vehicles. If you can't get liability coverage from a major company, you may need to turn to a non-standard insurance company.

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