Q

What is non-standard auto insurance?

A

Non-standard auto insurance covers people that companies consider more risky to insure, such as drivers who have gotten a ticket, been involved in crashes, and those without a driving history.

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Compared to a regular insurance policy, non-standard insurance costs more, and is less commonly offered by companies. Policygenius estimates that you could pay an average of 49% more for car insurance depending on your history.

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While non-standard car insurance is more expensive than average, State Farm often has cheaper rates compared to others for people with bad driving records. If you can't get coverage with a large provider near you, you may get non-standard coverage from an insurer that specializes in covering high-risk drivers.

Key Takeaways

  • If you have gotten a traffic ticket or been involved in an accident and had to make a claim, you will likely be considered a high-risk driver and have to get non-standard auto insurance. 

  • Drivers who have to get non-standard auto insurance are quoted more expensive rates on average and may find it harder to get covered than with a regular policy.

  • While having a bad driving record can raise the cost you pay for car insurance by an average of nearly 50%, it may still be possible to find affordable rates by comparing insurance companies.

What is non-standard car insurance?

A non-standard car insurance policy covers people whose driving records make them more risky to insure. Non-standard car insurance isn't different from a regular policy in most cases. Instead, it just refers to the higher cost of car insurance that policyholders have to pay before insurers will sell them a policy. 

You may need to get non-standard auto insurance if you:

  • Have a DUI or DWI on your record

  • Have been involved in a crash

  • Have a lapse in coverage

A bad record isn't the only reason you might need a non-standard policy. Young and inexperienced drivers, old drivers, and those with bad credit may usually pay more for insurance, as they're viewed as more likely to be involved in expensive accidents.

For most of these high-risk drivers, the process for getting non-standard auto insurance isn't any different from getting a regular policy — aside from costing more. However, drivers with a DUI or DWI could have a more difficult time getting non-standard coverage if their license has been suspended and they have to file an SR-22 or FR-22 form when buying insurance.

Read more about where to find insurance as a high-risk driver

Cheapest non-standard auto insurance companies

Policygenius compared the average cost of car insurance for a driver who may need non-standard auto insurance with that of a driver with no history of accidents or traffic violations. In our analysis, State Farm was the cheapest option among large insurers for non-standard coverage. The rates from State Farm are an average of 48% less than average.

Depending on the violation, people with bad driving records could find coverage that's between 39% and 55% cheaper at State Farm compared to average. Drivers with poor driving records may also be likely to find cheap car insurance from GEICO, depending on their location. The insurer is most frequently the second cheapest option for affordable car insurance.

Insurer        Average costAverage increase 
State Farm     $1,194      25%              
Progressive    $1,836      35%              
Farmers        $1,997      35%              
American Family$1,486      37%              
Allstate       $2,005      41%              
Travelers      $1,564      45%              
Nationwide     $1,520      69%              
GEICO          $1,188      103%             

Footnote: The column "Average increase" displays the average premium hike resulting from an at-fault accident, a speeding ticket, and DUI, compared to the rates of a driver with no incidents on their record.

It's still possible to find affordable car insurance if you're considered a bad driver. It's best to compare rates from multiple insurance companies in your area. An independent broker from Policygenius can help you find your best rate for the coverage you need — for free.

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Best non-standard car insurance companies

While the largest car insurance companies typically sell non-standard coverage to people with poor driving records, it's not always possible to find coverage. Furthermore, depending on whether you need to file an SR-22 form, you could have trouble getting insured even by well-known insurers.

While the best option for non-standard coverage for most people could be a well-known insurance provider, there are also companies that specialize in insuring high-risk drivers. If you're having trouble getting insurance, it may be best to work with companies that have lots of experience dealing with non-standard insurance. 

Some non-standard auto insurance companies include:

  • The General

  • Direct Auto

  • Bristol West

  • Kemper Insurance

  • Gainsco

  • Dairyland

Unfortunately, the companies that have the best reputations for insuring high-risk drivers also tend to have lower customer satisfaction ratings than typical insurers. Many of these companies receive more complaints for service and claims settlements than what's typical for their size.

Read more about where to find insurance as a high-risk driver

What to do if no car insurance will accept you

Depending on your driving history, it's possible that no insurance provider will cover you. Since companies aren't obligated to offer non-standard coverage, drivers who have multiple infractions on their record may have the most difficulty finding insurance.

If no company will agree to insure your vehicle, you can join an assigned risk pool through your state's insurance commissioner's office to meet your state's insurance requirements. Companies participating must offer coverage to enrollees, though it costs much more to get insured through the assigned risk pool.

Frequently asked questions

Do non-standard insurance companies offer discounts?

You may also be able to lower your rates if you have a bad driving record by searching for discount opportunities for auto insurance. For example, some providers will decrease the cost you pay for coverage if you complete a driving safety course, or bundle two forms of insurance on the same policy.

You won't have to pay higher rates for car insurance for the rest of your life if you have a bad driving record, either. As you get farther away from your violation, your rates will drop closer to average — as long as you can maintain a clean driving record.

Do insurance companies offer second chances to drivers?

It's not uncommon for insurance companies to give you a second chance after a claim or violation. Some providers choose not to raise rates after the first accident or speeding ticket, for instance. On the other hand, it's not likely that a company will give you a second chance for a DUI or other serious violations.

Do all insurers look into the past three years of drivers' histories?

All insurance companies examine the driving records of applicants, but it's not necessarily true that every company will look into the last three years. Some may judge your rates by the last two years of your driving record, while others may choose to look even longer back into the past to figure out the best rates for their customers.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by state or insurer. Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers ages 30, 35, and 45. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles/year.

Rates for driving violations and “Poor” credit determined using average rates for a single male 30-year-old driver with a credit score under 578.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of costs. Your actual quotes may differ.

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