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What is non-standard auto insurance?

Non-standard auto insurance is a term to classify insurance sold to drivers whose risk factors makes it difficult or impossible to obtain insurance at standard or preferred rates. Some companies work only in the non-standard auto insurance business, while others file rates that are tiered into non-standard, standard and preferred tiers.

Here are some common reasons you may be in the non-standard auto insurance tier:

  • Salvage title: If you own a car that has a salvage title, you won't necessarily pay more for auto insurance, but you may be denied comprehensive insurance for various reasons.
  • High-risk driver: You may be labeled a high-risk driver by insurance companies due to multiple accidents, violations, claims, or any combination of the three.
  • SR-22: If you need to carry an SR-22 to claim financial responsibility, it's likely because you had a conviction, such as a DUI or reckless driving. Most insurers will file the form with the state to prove you have coverage. You'll have to pay a one-time filing fee, typically about $35, on top of the premium.
  • Non-owner car insurance: If you want to insure yourself as a driver without owning a car, you need non-owner car insurance. Insurance companies generally charge less for a non-owner policy.

If you are interested in buying non-owner insurance, please call our licensed agents at 1-855-430-7753.

Even car insurance for young drivers can be considered non-standard auto insurance, because policies for young, inexperienced drivers are often very expensive, and many teens join their parents' policies instead of having their own.

Most drivers who do not meet an insurance company's standard or preferred risk underwriting criteria will end up using a non-standard insurer to obtain the auto insurance coverages that they need.

Also, some drivers with little experience or high-value vehicles may find the best rates from an insurance company that specializes in non-standard coverage.

You don't necessarily need to be a non-standard driver to buy insurance from a non-standard insurance company. Sometimes these specialty insurers are able to offer a more competitive price. Some large, well known insurance companies own smaller non-standard insurance companies and offer non-standard policies through their agents.

As with most types of car insurance, there can be large variations in price when shopping for non-standard insurance. If you can keep a good driving record without claims you should be able to stay within the standard (voluntary) car insurance market and likely will obtain better insurance premiums.

5 tips for buying non-standard auto insurance:

1. Gather lots of car insurance quotes

It's always wise to compare car insurance companies, even if you're shopping for non-standard car insurance.

2. Make sure you compare car insurance quotes for the same coverages

Shop for policies that mirror one another, so you compare quotes for the same coverage.

3. Consider your state's assigned risk pool as a last resort

If you can't get anyone to insure you, some states have an assigned risk pool. Insurers are assigned uninsurable customers on a round-robin basis. Maximum rates are set by the state.

4. Watch out for exclusions and limitations

Some insurance companies will place restrictions on your policy. For instance, there may be step-down liability limits for permissive drivers. Normally your liability coverage extends in full to people you give permission to use your car occasionally. With step-down provisions, the liability limits drop to the state minimum requirements for permissive drivers, even if you buy higher limits for yourself.

5. Shop for quotes at renewal time

Perhaps your violations have dropped off your record, or, your credit has improved. If you've maintained a clean driving record, you may be able to jump back into the standard driver rates tier, so it's prudent to check when you are ready to renew your policy.


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      7 Responses to "What is non-standard auto insurance?"
      1. James Hobusch

        I like what this article mentions on comparing quotes and options. I think that this could be a good way to get the best deal for what I need. I will definitely be remembering these tips, thanks for sharing!

      2. Deanna R. Jones

        It's good to know that drivers who would normally have trouble with getting auto insurance can still have the option to sign up for a non-standard auto insurance plan. That's something that I've been concerned about. I've been in a number of accidents, so my driving record affects my ability to get a good insurance plan. This seems important to have so that I can still get the insurance I need in case I'm in another accident. Thanks for the information!

      3. Raylin Sutter

        I am very interested in non-owner insurance. However, I'm not all too sure how it works. Would I get the same benefits as if I was the owner of a vehicle and getting auto insurance?

      4. Steven Harrison

        Thanks for this! My nephew is looking for car insurance on the non-standard tier. We're both in the dark on this topic, but this article helps a great deal. I'll have to send it his way so he can know where to start.

      5. Charlotte Eddington

        The list you shared of some factors that could influence your car insurance, was great. Thanks for sharing your great tips and information.

      6. Chase Wilson

        Great info! One of my friends has a ton of tickets, but thankfully nothing serious. Would he be in the group that does non-standard insurance?

      7. Anonymous

        Because it answered my question in a concise and clear manner.

      Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided are for information purposes. They are not intended to substitute informed professional advice. These responses should not be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any insurance product, or to provide financial or legal advice. Please refer to your insurance policy for specific coverage and exclusion information. Please read our Terms of Service.