Non-Standard Auto Insurance
Accidents can happen to anyone anytime on the road, and they usually do not affect your insurance much if you have the right kind of coverage. However, while one accident may not make you considered high-risk, multiple of them certainly will. Having a questionable driving history can change the way insurers view you, so much so that you may end up in what is known as the non-standard tier. Those in such a category need non-standard auto insurance since they are seen as having more of an insurability risk. Other personal factors, like poor credit or lack of driving experience, can land you in this tier as well. It isn’t necessarily bad, but you should be mindful of it. If you find yourself being labeled as a high-risk driver and needing non-standard auto insurance, the information below can assist you in getting the proper coverage.
What is Non-Standard Auto Insurance?
Non-standard auto insurance is a category of car insurance reserved for high-risk drivers. It is pretty much the same as standard car insurance coverage except that it comes with higher insurance premiums. If you have multiple infractions on your driving record, chances are your insurance provider will put you in the non-standard tier. But risky drivers aren’t the only ones that need non-standard insurance. Non-standard car insurance is also reserved for those who do not fit in the regular auto insurance categories. For example, non-standard coverage may be required for someone who needs auto insurance but does not own a car. A number of major providers offer non-standard insurance, but there are also companies that specialize in this type of coverage.
Preferred vs. Standard vs. Non-Standard
Insurance companies break down their offers of coverage into three risk levels: preferred, standard, and non-standard. Preferred car insurance is for drivers who pose the least amount of risk for an insurance company based on their driving record and car. They also have the cheapest rates. Standard coverage is in the middle of the risk tiers and is for drivers who are at average risk. They typically have good credit and a record with few or no accidents. Non-standard insurance is the bottom tier and reserved for those who pose the most risk for insurers. These types of drivers may have poor credit, a history of accidents, and will end up paying the most for coverage.
How Non-Standard Auto Insurance Works
When it comes to getting a non-standard auto insurance policy, you can receive coverage from your current insurance provider or have to search for a company that specializes in it. If you are deemed too risky following a traffic violation, you most likely will need to look for a high-risk auto insurance provider. The process of purchasing non-standard insurance isn’t really different from purchasing standard coverage. You simply get a quote from an insurance company and purchase the policy. The only thing you really have to be on the lookout for is any additional requirements your state may impose on you, depending on why you need non-standard insurance. If you need SR22 insurance along with the non-standard insurance, you will have to notify your provider, and they will file it for you. Once you have your non-standard insurance policy, you pay your premiums like normal and utilize the coverage in the event of an accident.
Why You Are in The Non-Standard Tier
Non-standard auto insurance is a pretty broad term. You can fall into the category for a number of reasons. Typically, any infliction or factor that can raise your auto insurance rates will put you in the non-standard category. Outlined below are some instances of when you may be in the non-standard tier for insurance.
If you rack up multiple traffic violations, your insurance company will consider you to be a high-risk driver. Being a high-risk driver means your rates will go up, bumping you into the non-standard car insurance tier. Even just one DUI conviction can have an effect on your insurance rates for years and years.
Trying to insure a car with a salvage title may cause some issues with your insurance company. A car with a salvage title means that a vehicle’s repairs cost more than the actual value that it is worth. They are typically issued by insurance companies when it is established that your motor vehicle is beyond saving. However, this does not always mean you should get rid of the car. It still could need insurance, and then your insurer will put you in the non-standard tier.
Non-owner car insurance is considered to be part of non-standard coverage. Non-owner insurance is for drivers who do not actually own a car but still need to drive. While non-owner car insurance can be considered non-standard by providers, coverage is generally more affordable. Non-owner insurance does not mean you are high-risk or have any traffic violations, so your rates may not be greatly affected.
If you are convicted of a major traffic violation like reckless driving or a DUI, your state will most likely require you to carry SR22 insurance. SR22 insurance is not a type of insurance but instead proof that you carry the mandatory minimum amount of insurance established by your state’s government. This insurance is typically required to be carried for a certain period of time. As long as you are required to carry SR22 insurance, you will have to pay non-standard insurance rates.
Having a less than favorable credit score can seriously impact your insurance coverage. Those with poor credit usually fall into the-standard coverage tier, increasing their insurance rates. Credit scores are used by insurance companies in order to assess how responsible you are. They believe that the worse your credit score is, the more claims you will make. Due to this, you can be considered a high-risk driver, leading to the non-standard label.
Those with a driver’s license from another country may be put in the non-standard tier if trying to get insurance while in the States. This is especially the case if they do not have a driving record in America that an insurance provider can assess. Without a driving record, companies have a hard time establishing your insurability risk. As a result, your attempt to find coverage may be hindered or expensive.
Gaps in Insurance
Letting your car insurance coverage lapse does not look very good to other insurance providers. If you have had gaps in coverage, an insurance company may refuse to provide you with coverage until you purchase non-standard insurance. Gaps in insurance may be a sign that you are not financially responsible, which can then lead insurers to believe you will report more claims.
The Price of Non-Standard Auto Insurance
It is hard to give a definitive answer for how much you will be paying for non-standard auto insurance. Insurance rates are mostly dependent on personal factors like what state you live in and how you end up in the non-standard tier. For example, a DUI conviction and accident could end up costing you over $7,000 per year for insurance in the state of California. You will need to collect quotes to see what you will be paying but know that non-standard insurance can cost you thousands of dollars per year. It is greatly more expensive than preferred and standard insurance.
How to Buy Non-Standard Car Insurance
Not all insurance companies want to cover drivers who fall into non-standard insurance. Your insurer can even drop you. From there, it will be up to you to find insurance. Some major providers offer non-standard coverage, while there are also smaller companies that specialize in non-standard insurance. It is all really a matter of doing your research and seeing what is available in your area. Do not just limit your search to major providers. Local providers can offer you valuable coverage at a decent rate. And as previously mentioned, purchasing the policy is no different from purchasing standard auto insurance.
Choosing The Right Non-Standard Insurance Provider
Having to shop for a new insurance provider can be annoying and frustrating, but you never want to settle for just any type of coverage. To help your search go smoother, you should consider doing the following:
- Shop around - Extend your search by looking both nationally and locally. Finding non-standard auto insurance is not impossible, but it may take a bit of hunting. This is still worth it as you never want to be caught up in an accident without insurance. That can come with more headaches and penalties.
- Compare quotes and policies - It is always important to pull quotes from every company you look into. Quotes are usually offered for free and give you very valuable insight into your coverage and potential rates. Make sure you do not get caught up in just the prices. While your budget should be at the forefront of your mind, you need to make sure you are not skimping on coverage just for a good rate.
- Be mindful of exclusions - Insurance comes with restrictions, and you want to be educated on them before signing onto a policy. Fully review your coverage and ask your insurance agent any questions you have.
- If all else fails, look at your state’s assigned risk pool - Some states have what is known as an assigned risk pool that is available to drivers who have been turned away by a majority of insurance providers. Insurers will be assigned uninsurable customers to cover. Rates can get pretty high and this approach should be a last resort.
Get a Non-Standard Auto Insurance Quote Today
Looking for non-standard auto insurance? Call us today to get a free auto insurance quote. Make sure you let us know your zip code, your driving history, and information on your car(s). By providing us with all this, we can get a better idea of the coverage you need. You can get a quote either at one of our many locations or online via our website and mobile app. You can also start your quote over the phone. Get coverage today and drive worry-free tomorrow.