What is Non-Standard Auto Insurance?

WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich


Insurance companies use algorithms to estimate risk and determine how much they will charge their drivers. The drivers assign three risk levels: preferred, standard, and non-standard auto insurance.

Preferred and standard drivers are low- to medium-risk and generally have no trouble getting an insurance policy. These drivers might have a few traffic violations, but their driving record is pretty clean overall.

A non-standard auto insurance policy is available for the riskiest drivers. Because of their risk, auto insurance providers jack up their rates if they offer them a policy. If you have several traffic violations, especially within a short period of significant violations, you might need to find a non-standard policy.

Who needs non-standard auto insurance?

There is no fine line between a preferable or standard-risk driver and a high-risk driver. Each insurance company has its process for determining risk levels. But, generally speaking, you should expect to be labeled as a non-standard driver if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • DUI or DWI: This primary traffic offense immediately puts you in the high-risk category. Multiple of these offenses guarantees as much.
  • New drivers: Young drivers and others who might be hitting the road for the first time might be labeled high-risk. Keeping a clean record for a year or two will push you down into the other two categories.
  • Older drivers: Once drivers reach a certain age, typically around 65, insurance companies might consider them high-risk. The older you get, the more likely you will be labeled risky.
  • Foreign drivers: Foreign drivers looking for temporary or permanent insurance might be considered high risk until they have a chance to prove their record
  • Poor credit rating: Those with a low credit score might be labeled high-risk, though while credit affects your car insurance rates, low-credit score alone usually doesn’t spell disaster.
  • Lapsed coverage: If you have gone weeks, months, or even years driving without auto insurance, providers might label you as high-risk. It is essential to avoid lapses in auto coverage. 
  • Multiple violations: Multiple traffic violations or accidents, especially multiple within a short period, usually place drivers into high-risk categories. Some insurance providers might be more relaxed if the violations are spread over extended periods. 
  • Rare cars: If you drive an expensive or rare car, insurance providers might consider your insurance high-risk.

How to Get Non-Standard Insurance

Not all auto insurance providers offer non-standard insurance. When comparing auto insurance quotes, you must know which insurance companies to look at. Some of the best non-standard insurance providers include Progressive, Infinity, SafeAuto, Direct Auto, The General, Aspire General, and Foremost. 

Getting non-standard insurance is no different than getting other insurance policies. When comparing quotes, make sure to be honest about your driving record. Check rates from multiple providers, but expect the monthly premium to be expensive.

How Much Will the Policy Cost?

How much your non-standard auto insurance will cost depends on the reasons associated with your high-risk level. Compared to your previous rate, your non-standard rate might double or even triple in cost. 

How to Lower Your Non-Standard Insurance Policy Cost

If you are considered high-risk and need a new auto insurance policy, you might be stuck paying high premiums for a while. But you can do a few things to reduce the costs sooner than later. Here is what you can do:

  • Keep a clean record: If you are considered high-risk because of your messy driving record, the best thing you can do is to keep a clean record. This might not lower the costs for a few years, but it will help you eventually get back into preferred or standard rates. 
  • Take a driving course: For new, returning, or foreign drivers, taking a driving course can help prove you are a safe driver for insurance providers. Being educated goes a long way in reducing your rates. 
  • Improve your credit: If you think your credit has anything to do with being considered high-risk, then the best thing is to improve your score. Pay off your outstanding debt and only take on additional debt you can afford. 
  • Get an anti-theft device: Part of your insurance policy provides coverage for car theft. By installing anti-theft devices in your car, your insurance providers won’t take on as much risk insuring you and your car. 

No matter your driving record, there is an insurance policy for you. The riskier you are, the fewer options you have, and the higher costs will go. Make sure you get an insurance policy to stay protected and work on reducing costs in any way you can.