Non-standard auto insurance is specialty insurance for high-risk drivers. It’s always more expensive than a standard auto insurance policy.
Put another way, non-standard auto insurance provides the exact same coverage as a standard auto policy, but since it covers a high-risk driver, it will cost more.
Today we’ll cover some reasons one would need this type of insurance, how to shop for it, and list insurance companies that provide it. We’ll also use a story to touch on limits of liability, risk groups and risk ratings, to help consumers understand how auto insurance works.
Who Needs a Non-Standard Auto Insurance Policy?
You will likely need non-standard auto insurance if:
- You were involved in several at-fault accidents
- You have DUI / DWI / DWAI charges on your record within the last few years
- Your driver’s license was suspended or revoked within the last few years
But inexperienced drivers and seniors may also need this sort of insurance.
Like many insurance concepts, the notion of non-standard auto insurance is best illustrated with a story.
How Lucas Found Himself Shopping for a Non-Standard Auto Insurance Policy
A young man named Lucas is 20 years old. As a male under age 25, insurers already consider him a risky driver. He is unmarried and doesn’t have much credit history, so his auto insurance provider places him in a high-risk group to determine his premium. Like other young males in his position, Lucas is paying a high price for his car insurance.
Winter rolls around and brings ferocious storms. Lucas doesn’t have much experience driving in winter weather. One day while driving to work, he loses control of his vehicle on a patch of ice. The car spins out of control and crashes into a nearby storefront causing $40,000 damage and “totals” his car. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Lucas has a premium car insurance policy with a high limit of liability. The insurer covers the damage to the storefront and pays off his remaining auto loan.
But then, his insurer mails him a non-renewal notice stating they will no longer insure him once his contract ends. Lucas finds himself shopping for a replacement vehicle and non-standard auto insurance.
How to Shop for Non-Standard Auto Insurance
If you receive a non-renewal notice from your insurance company after an accident, call them. Your insurer may offer non-standard auto policies, work with an affiliate company, or own a subsidiary that deals with higher risk customers.
This is essential if you “bundled” your various insurance products with one company! You might lose the multi-line discount on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance if you take your auto insurance to another provider. Ultimately, you’ll end up paying more for all your insurance products.
“But what if I’m totally fed up with my insurance company? I want to leave!”
This is common! Consumers get very frustrated when they receive a notice of non-renewal. You may feel disappointed that you’ve been paying auto insurance premiums on time for many years, totaling tens of thousands of dollars, only to be dumped after a few innocent blunders behind the wheel. That’s what insurance is for, right?
But try not to take it personally. Remember that auto insurance is a numbers game. Insurers have a century worth of data that describes all kinds of drivers and vehicles, in all the various stages of life and locations. Once you are defined as a high-risk driver, it will take a few years of safe driving to get out of this risk group.
If you are ready to work with a new company for your non-standard auto policy, here are some insurers to try.
Non-Standard Auto Insurance Providers List
Note that we don’t speak for these insurance companies. Yet, according to our research in 2021, these companies claim to offer non-standard auto insurance policies.
- Bristol West
- The General
- Direct Auto Insurance
- Kemper Auto Insurance
- Safe Auto
- National General
- Founders Insurance
Remember that honesty is key when shopping for any kind of insurance. Know that insurers share data about drivers and vehicles with one another all the time. If you’re caught lying about your driving history or safe driver status on an insurance application, you will be considered a “moral hazard” and your rates will increase even more.
Once you’ve chosen an insurer you’d like to work with, know there are some ways to help keep your non-standard auto insurance costs lower.
Ways to Keep Non-Standard Auto Insurance Affordable
You already know non-standard auto insurance will be more expensive than the same coverage for a safe driver. But there are ways you can keep costs down:
- Drive a low-cost vehicle. Sell or “non-op” your $80,000 Ford Raptor and park it in the garage for a few years. Drive a $3,000 Ford Escort until your driving record improves.
- If you have full coverage, increase your deductibles. Just remember that you’ll need to have enough cash on hand to cover that deductible after an accident. And know that some lienholders (banks) will not allow this if you’re making a car payment.
- Consider bundling your policies with the new insurer. A 5% discount on your homeowner’s policy and recreational vehicle policy can help offset your increased auto insurance premiums.
- Pay for the entire policy at once and select a paperless policy. You might save a few dollars by reducing administrative costs associated with ongoing billing.
- Take some driver’s education courses. Between courses for young drivers, senior drivers and defensive driving you might be able to lower your rates a few percentage points.
- Keep in mind that insurers will not apply a complete discount right away. If a class promises to decrease your rates by 10%, the insurer might allow a 3% discount this year, 6% next year and so on.
The best advice we can give is to use as many of these concepts as possible, and shop around for your non-standard auto insurance. Compare several quotes and talk to insurers about all the ways to keep your premiums low.