What do non-standard auto insurance companies offer?

Non-standard auto insurance companies offer special policies to high-risk drivers. Non-standard auto insurance rates can be up to 30% more than standard auto insurance rates. Shop around to find cheap non-standard car insurance rates.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: May 7, 2020

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Things to Remember...

  • Non-standard auto insurance companies are simply there to cover drivers with special insurance needs
  • Most non-standard auto insurance companies do not care about your  credit history
  • Non-standard auto insurance companies also often write policies for drivers who are older than 70 or younger than 20

Many people are turned off by the term “non-standard” when shopping for auto insurance coverage.

One must realize that because a company is considered to be a non-standard auto insurance company, it does not mean it is one of the companies that offer substandard auto insurance (covered below).

This term does not reflect the company’s financial standing or its A.M. Best rating. To get affordable rates from a variety of companies, enter your ZIP code into our FREE standard and non-standard auto insurance comparison tool!

Non-standard auto insurance companies are simply there to cover drivers with special insurance needs.

They write policies for drivers who are difficult or impossible to place with a standard auto insurance company. To see quotes and policies and find the best non standard auto insurance rates for you, enter your ZIP code into our FREE auto insurance comparison tool.

Non-standard auto insurance companies write policies that most standard auto insurance companies would deny. They may have benefits for you based on your situation.

Credit History and Driving Record

One benefit offered by non-standard auto insurance companies is the fact that most of these auto insurance companies do not check your credit rating.

Most non-standard auto insurance companies do not care about your  credit history whatsoever. If a person has bad credit or no credit, this could be a major factor in their automobile insurance being placed with a non-standard company.

Another reason people choose a non-standard insurance company for their automobile insurance is that these companies are a lot more lenient with an imperfect driving history.

Non-standard insurance companies will write automobile insurance policies for drivers with multiple accidents or violations, including DUI or DWI convictions.

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Who Buys Non-Standard Auto Insurance Coverage

Standard auto insurance companies will not write a policy for a customer who has no current or full auto insurance coverage. Go here for our full list of the best auto insurance companies.

In this case, an automobile owner would need to purchase coverage from a non-standard auto insurance company for a period of six months to two years, and then re-apply with a standard auto insurance company if they are accident and ticket free within that time period.

Non-standard auto insurance companies also often write policies for drivers who are older than 70 or younger than 20.

These age groups are considered to be high-risk and will most often be denied coverage with a standard auto insurance company.

Non-standard auto insurance companies may also write an auto insurance policy for a person with a medical condition that could possibly affect their driving capabilities.

Comparing Standard and Non-Standard Insurance

Many times a non-standard auto insurance company will offer a less expensive premium for a high-risk driver than that of a standard company.

The standard auto insurance company targets the low-risk driver, while the non-standard auto insurance company caters to the high-risk driver. Therefore, their rates will most likely be more competitive for the high-risk driver.

A driver who purchases certain vehicles, such as very expensive sports cars, may also be placed with a non-standard auto insurance company. High performance or antique cars are also considered high-risk vehicles.

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Requirements for Drivers

Drivers who lose their driving privileges by having their license revoked or suspended are sometimes required to purchase insurance prior to having their license reinstated. This type of policy must be underwritten by a non-standard auto insurance company.

The non-standard auto insurance company will submit a Form SR-22 to the Department of Motor Vehicles on behalf of the insured in order for their license to be reinstated.

If at any time this policy lapses, the company will immediately notify the Department of Motor Vehicles and the driver’s license will once again be revoked.

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Top 10 Non Standard Auto Insurance Companies

Here is a list of non standard auto insurance companies, but the best non standard insurance company for you is the one that offers you the best coverage for the best rate so be sure to shop around.

The following is a list of examples of non-standard auto insurance companies, as well as standard auto insurance companies that also have a non-standard program:

  • Allstate Indemnity Company
  • Atlanta Casualty Company
  • Dairyland Insurance Company
  • Geico Casualty Company
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • The Travelers Insurance Companies, Inc
  • The General
  • State Farm Mutual Insurance Companies
  • Safeco

All of the above companies offer insurance coverage to drivers that are considered high-risk drivers, as well as drivers with high-risk vehicles. This is not a complete list. To find a non-standard auto insurance company, you can call a local insurance agent or use an online search engine.

Is Geico a non standard auto insurance company? Geico offers both non standard and standard auto insurance coverage so yes, they offer Geico non standard auto insurance coverage, but that is not all they offer, so Geico is not to be considered exclusively a non standard auto insurer.

A comprehensive list of non standard insurance companies is as follows (in alphabetical order):

  • Acceptance Auto Insurance
  • Access
  • Affirmative
  • Alliance United
  • Bristol West
  • Dairyland
  • Direct General
  • Gainsco
  • Geico
  • Infinity
  • Progressive
  • The General
  • Titan
  • United Automobile
  • Victoria
  • Safe Auto

Customers currently insured with a standard auto insurance company must be careful to keep their driving record perfect.

Multiple claims against their auto insurance policy, multiple accidents (especially at-fault), speeding tickets and DUI or DWI convictions could cause their auto insurance policy to be canceled or non-renewed.

This is when that driver would need to obtain auto insurance through a non-standard auto insurance company.

Non standard auto insurance companies are very helpful to high risk drivers and drivers who own high risk vehicles.

The more strikes a driver has against them, the higher their insurance premium is likely to be. However, non-standard auto insurance companies provide coverage for high-risk drivers.

It is very unlikely that a driver will be denied coverage through a non-standard auto insurance company. Compare auto insurance rates using our FREE comparison tool by entering your ZIP code.

These companies can be a real lifesaver to drivers that have been turned down time after time by standard auto insurance companies.

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Which companies offer non-standard auto insurance?

Your state’s SR22 program provides auto insurance for high-risk drivers. Drivers with spotty records pay $92.17/mo more on average than those with clean records.

  • A non-standard driver is simply another term for a high-risk driver
  • Each state and auto insurance company define these types of drivers a bit differently
  • If your license is revoked or suspended for any reason, obtaining auto insurance may also become more costly and challenging
  • Each state insurance department works with a group of auto insurance companies that agree to sell auto insurance to high-risk drivers in the state
  • Just because you are a high-risk driver, doesn’t mean you should take whatever rate you are given. Although your options may be limited, you should still be diligent and find the best quote that you can receive for your situation

If you’ve been told you’re a high-risk driver, knowing what companies will work with you is important. The list of companies that provide “sub-standard” or “non-standard” auto insurance in your state may differ from those in another state.

Progressive and The General are just two of many auto insurance companies that provide non-standard policies for high-risk drivers but be sure to shop around to find cheap auto insurance.

Your best bet to learning which auto insurance companies write substandard or nonstandard auto insurance in your state is to ask your local department of motor vehicles.

Each state maintains a record of insurance companies allowed to practice in the state, along with the kinds of insurance they sell to consumers.

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What is a “sub-standard” or “non-standard” driver?

A non-standard driver is simply another term for a high-risk driver that needs high risk auto insurance.

Each state and auto insurance company define these types of drivers a bit differently. Most states consider two or more no contests, convictions, or guilty pleas to moving violations as the baseline for high-risk driver classification.

Here are some standard offenses that put you into the high risk or substandard category:

  • Violations If you run a stop light or stop sign, speed, or engage in reckless behavior behind the wheel, you may be considered a high-risk driver.
  • DUI/DWI If you’ve been found guilty, been convicted, or entered a no contest plea against a DUI or DWI, you may also be considered a high-risk driver. Some companies can deny you after a single conviction or guilty plea.
  • Low FICO credit scores Many people ask about why your credit score should affect the price of auto insurance premiums. According to the insurance industry, there’s an established association between financial responsibility and safe driving.

Before shopping for a new auto insurance carrier, obtain a copy of your credit report from the three major credit reporting organizations (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and review it for errors.

Disputing credit report errors on a regular basis helps maintain your credit file and credit score.

If you’ve never been insured before, getting auto insurance now can also provide a challenge. Multiple accidents over a short time period, regardless of whether you were at-fault, can cause some insurance companies to consider you’re a higher risk driver.

If your license is revoked or suspended for any reason, obtaining auto insurance may also become more costly and challenging.

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What programs help substandard drivers?

If you’re considered a high-risk driver in your state, obtaining auto insurance from your state program can help get you back on the road.

Your state’s SR22 program may be the only option available, if the insurance companies with whom you’ve applied reject you or if premiums offered by the insurance companies are too expensive.

Each state insurance department works with a group of auto insurance companies that agree to sell auto insurance to high-risk drivers in the state. The state department of insurance doesn’t sell auto insurance or benefit from the auto insurance companies selling the insurance.

The SR22 program’s goal is to assist high-risk individuals to lower their risk profile and insurance costs over time.

Although SR22 insurance premiums aren’t inexpensive, the auto insurance companies engaged in the state program usually lower costs of premiums when drivers demonstrate responsibility behind the wheel and in making timely payments.

One of the goals of the SR22 program is to help drivers simultaneously understand and value the importance of safe, responsible driving.

Of course, the best way to avoid the high cost of substandard auto insurance premiums is to ensure your safe driving record. If you’re classified as a high-risk driver, the worst possible solution is to forego auto insurance!

The “what ifs” of driving without auto insurance as a high-risk driver are substantial, including criminal charges, fines, loss of personal property or liberty. Don’t drive without the benefit of auto insurance.

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How do I know if I need a non standard auto insurance company?

You may need coverage from a non standard high-risk auto insurance company if you (1) drive a powerful vehicle, (2) have a poor driving record, or (3) have had a long lapse in coverage.

  • Price differences also become a factor in cases where a driver has a poor driving record and/or drives a high-value vehicle
  • Drivers who qualify for non-standard insurance coverage are classified as high-risk drivers based on their past driving records
  • When considering standard versus non-standard versus preferred plans, standard and preferred plans drivers carry a low-risk profile when compared to drivers with non-standard coverage

In most states, the law requires drivers to carry auto insurance coverage. This coverage should meet state requirements in terms of how much is required for property loss, medical costs, and repair costs.

As many insurance carriers are privately owned, prices can vary considerably from one insurer to another.

Price differences also become a factor in cases where a driver has a poor driving record and/or drives a high-value vehicle.

Inevitably, risk factors drive insurance premium rates, so drivers who fall into a high-risk category may have to purchase coverage from non-standard auto insurance companies.

While non-standard coverage tends to be more expensive, some drivers may actually benefit cost-wise when certain conditions are met.

Check your coverage and price options with your zip code in our FREE auto insurance comparison tool above!

Standard vs. Non-Standard Coverage

Much like the rating systems used with other types of auto insurance coverage, auto insurers use classifications to determine a driver’s risk level (or tier) and the type of insurance coverage needed.

The three most commonly used levels include:

  • Standard coverage
  • Non-standard coverage
  • Preferred coverage

Because of the special circumstances that come up with non-standard policies, many companies specialize in offering non-standard auto insurance.

Standard auto insurance companies offer policies that cater to people with other circumstances. Some companies also offer all three types of insurance coverage.

Ultimately, a driver who qualifies for non-standard insurance does not meet the qualification requirements for standard or preferred plans.

Auto insurance companies look at a driver’s past driving record and the type of car involved to determine whether non-standard insurance is needed.

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Auto Insurance Risk Ratings

Auto insurance companies assign drivers to different tier levels based on risk rating factors. Since insurance coverage requirements can vary from state to state, price ranges can differ considerably across state lines.

Price ranges between local companies can also vary considerably with private insurance companies when compared to government-mandated risk insurance plans.

When considering standard versus non-standard versus preferred plans, standard and preferred plans drivers carry a low-risk profile when compared to drivers with non-standard coverage.

Not surprisingly, the higher the risk the higher the insurance premium so drivers with non standard cover often pay considerably more than those with standard or preferred coverage.

As premium payments are designed to cover the cost of potential or predicted future claims, insurers may use different risk rating factors when determining the cost to insure standard, non-standard and preferred drivers.

Some of the most commonly used risk factors include:

  • The type of coverage selected (deductible versus no deductible, full coverage versus liability coverage, etc.)
  • The type of car driven
  • Driving history
  • Frequency of car usage

Driver Characteristics

Drivers who qualify for non-standard insurance coverage are classified as high-risk drivers based on their past driving records. Someone who has a DUI on their record would fall into this category.

Drivers who’ve been involved in serious car accidents or have filed several claims over the years may also require non-standard insurance coverage.

Driver characteristics also extend to the type of car a person has.

People who drive specialized cars -such as muscle cars, custom-built cars or high-powered sports cars- also fall under the high-risk category, which usually calls for non-standard insurance coverage.

High-risk rating factors may also include drivers who show long lapses in auto insurance coverage for whatever reasons. People with little to no driving experience, such as teenagers may also require non-standard coverage.

Qualifying Factors

Since non-standard insurance plans cater to high-risk circumstances, some drivers may be able to use this specialty insurance to their advantage when it comes to finding lower premium rates.

It’s not uncommon for large, well-known insurance companies to own smaller specialty companies that offer

It’s not uncommon for large, well-known insurance companies to own smaller specialty companies that offer non-standard insurance plans.

Because of the parent company’s resources, these non-standard insurance companies can offer more competitive rates than smaller non-standard companies.

People who qualify for standard auto insurance coverage can still purchase non-standard coverage. This can come in handy in cases where standard coverage rates are more expensive than non standard.

This occurs when a good driver needs to insure a high-value vehicle. Non-standard insurers may be able to offer better rates than a primarily standard insurance carrier.

Ultimately, a person’s driving record carries a lot of weight when it comes time for insurers to rate a driver’s risk level. This means a driver with a good record is more likely to find a good premium rate for non-standard plans when the car falls within a high-risk category.

To find the lowest rates, enter your zip code into our FREE car insurance comparison tool below!

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Do I meet the requirements for standard auto insurance?

It is illegal in most states to drive without auto insurance. A driver in good standing with a clean driving history can expect to pay around $92.67/mo. for standard auto insurance.

  • A driver must meet certain qualifications to be able to purchase a standard insurance policy
  • A good driving record and a history of few claims are two requirements for a standard insurance policy
  • Sometimes the type of vehicle can affect a driver’s ability to purchase a standard insurance policy as well

Auto insurance coverage provides a form of financial protection in the event of property damage, medical costs, or car repair costs caused by a collision or accident.

In general, the auto insurance industry earns profits by calculating risk factors and probability rates.

Likewise, auto insurance companies measure a driver’s eligibility for standard auto coverage based on his or her risk profile.

To qualify for a policy from standard auto insurance companies, a driver must meet certain eligibility requirements for past driving history, coverage history, and the type of car used.

Enter your ZIP code into our FREE auto insurance comparison tool now to see if you qualify for standard coverage from several car insurance companies.

Coverage Levels

Auto insurance companies insure drivers within coverage levels or tiers based on a driver’s risk rating. Risk ratings assign a rating level based on different categories of risk.

The most commonly used risk categories include:

  • Age
  • Driving history
  • Gender
  • Type of car
  • Credit history

The coverage level assigned to a driver’s insurance policy is based on the calculated risk rating. In most cases, the higher the rating the higher the risk a company takes on when insuring a driver.

Certain drivers will need high-risk auto insurance coverage and some can get better coverage. This risk translates into higher premium costs for the driver.

The most commonly used coverage levels include:

  • Preferred coverage
  • Standard coverage
  • Non-standard coverage

The different levels represent different levels of risk with preferred auto insurance coverage carrying the lowest degree of risk and non-standard auto insurance companies coverage carrying the highest.

The main difference between preferred and standard coverage has to do with a driver’s credit history or credit rating.

A driver with a clean driving record and a stellar credit history may qualify for preferred auto coverage.

Driving Record

A person’s driving record carries considerable weight for auto insurance companies when determining eligibility for standard auto coverage.

A clean driving record, meaning no driving violations like DUIs or multiple traffic tickets, is one qualification.

The number of accidents a driver has on record also affects a driving record profile. Ultimately, someone who has filed multiple claims over the years would have a difficult time qualifying for standard auto insurance coverage.

Claim filings are not limited to accidents, as claims may be filed for acts of vandalism or damage caused by extreme weather conditions.

When examining a person’s driving record, auto insurance companies consider a driver’s coverage history to see if your coverage has been continuous.

Someone with lapses or gaps in coverage may not qualify for standard coverage depending on the length and/or frequency of gaps throughout the driving history.

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Type of Vehicle

The type of vehicle used by a driver contributes to the level of risk an insurance company carries when granting insurance coverage.

In order to qualify for a standard auto policy, the vehicle must fall within the standard car range in terms of market value and replacement costs.

High-end cars, such as custom-built cars, muscle cars or high-powered sports cars carry high market values. A car with a high market value exceeds coverage limits for replacement costs provided by a standard policy.

In most cases, a high-end car would fall within the non-standard coverage range.

And while standard auto coverage typically costs less than non-standard policies, someone who qualifies for standard coverage may, in fact, find a better deal with a non-standard insurance company when trying to ensure a high-end vehicle.

Some auto insurance companies specialize in non-standard coverage, which allows them to offer better rates for non-standard drivers and vehicles.

This means someone with a spotless driving record could actually get a cheaper rate with a non-standard insurer when trying to insure a high-end vehicle.

Qualifying for Standard Coverage

Because auto insurance companies operate according to state law guidelines, the same qualification criterion applies from company to company within each state.

As each state sets its own guidelines, what’s standard in one state in terms of coverage limits and requirements may fall under non-standard or preferred guidelines in another state.

Drivers who have multiple speeding tickets on record can qualify for standard auto coverage by driving with a clean record for the stated number of years required by state insurance laws.

Drivers who’ve filed multiple claims in the past can also qualify for standard coverage by reducing the number of claims they file for however many years are required by state insurance laws.

Ultimately, drivers who qualify for standard auto insurance coverage pay lower premium rates, have more coverage options, and qualify for higher coverage limits.

In most cases, lower out-of-pocket costs for yearly deductible amounts are another added benefit with standard insurance plans.

See what discounts and rates are available to you when you enter your ZIP code into our FREE car insurance comparison tool.

How do I tell what are substandard auto insurance companies?

Sub-standard auto insurance is NOT the same as non-standard auto insurance. Sub-standard auto insurance is inferior coverage from an inferior company while non-standard auto insurance is simply high risk driver coverage that can be very appropriate and adequate, and often from trusted, reputable companies.

Identify untrustworthy auto insurance companies by their (1) aggressive sales tactics, (2) lack of paperwork, or (3) poor customer reviews.

  • As a result, consumers can easily land coverage policy options with a good list of auto insurance companies as well as not-so-stellar ones
  • Each state has an insurance commissioner and regulatory law to make sure such operations don’t exist, using licensing and audits to find questionable operations
  • The way to avoid these kinds of outfits, which typically take on the role of independent insurance brokers or small companies, is to demand proof of their licensing and then check them out with the local state insurance commissioner
  • Be sure to check their customer ratings and reviews as well as compare their rates with other insurance providers

There are many auto insurance companies that operate in every state and town. Some are national companies that operate in every 50 states or most of them.

Some are small, one-office outfits barely covering a couple of counties. For drivers on public roads car insurance is a basic legal requirement, but whom they do business with for coverage is up for grabs in a free market.

As a result, consumers can easily land coverage policy options with a good list of auto insurance companies as well as not-so-stellar ones.

This unpredictable risk gets emphasized with the fact that many people choose car insurance coverage first based on cost rather than other factors.

Unfortunately, the lowest bidder is not always the best to do business with. Enter your ZIP code into our FREE auto insurance comparison tool to see a number of quotes offered to you from reliable companies.

Signs of a Fly-by-Night Insurance Company

The most suspect of substandard auto insurance companies is those that are close to or actually operating as scams.

Each state has an insurance commissioner and regulatory law to make sure such operations don’t exist, using licensing and audits to find questionable operations.

However, criminals tend to be very creative, and they still find a way to operate.

Fly-by-Night operations typically work with fast-talking and high-pressure sales. The goal is to get the payments and cash from the consumer as quickly as possible.

Then the operation will fold and disappear before anybody can make a claim and figure out what’s going on. While there may be paperwork, it’s all fraudulent and make-believe.

The way to avoid these kinds of outfits, which typically take on the role of independent insurance brokers or small companies, is to demand proof of their licensing and then check them out with the local state insurance commissioner.

If they are legitimate, the company will be validated. If not, the outfit will likely disappear to avoid an investigation. In order to be safe with a cheap auto insurance policy, know how to interact with them before you buy quickly.

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Problems with Paperwork

Another more subtle sign of a problem car insurance company can be seen with the paperwork involved.

Insurance is a highly documented business. Substandard outfits give away their presence when it comes to meeting all the necessary paper requirements.

Companies that are not following the rules as required or are looking to cut corners tend to get sloppy with their forms and details. This becomes apparent when mistakes are made.

When confronted with the issue, such a company’s personnel then typically try to brush off the issue as a non-problem. When these signs and behavior appear, it’s time to walk away and find another insurer.

Good insurance companies won’t allow sloppiness in records to occur. There’s too much at stake and a regulatory agency could shut them down until the matters get straightened out.

Insurance companies are audited regularly so eventually mistake patterns will be found, triggering regulatory responses.

As a result, such businesses depending upon good reputation and open selling don’t want to let these problems occur in the first place, even if it happens to catch more customers.

Very Small Market

There are a number of good auto insurance companies that exist, but they operate in small markets because they have yet to build up enough assets to work a bigger market.

Unfortunately, even good management can operate in a company that runs into financial problems and goes into insolvency.

Many small insurance outfits never last long enough to realize larger markets because their finances don’t work out.

Consumers can have a hard time discerning between a good or bad insurance company when outfits are small.

Be sure to check their customer ratings and reviews as well as compare their rates with other insurance providers.

Many are not public so their financial records are not available through stock market information. They operate as private outfits, only reporting to state insurance commissioners.

While their status is available, it is hard to find in government reports.

Without good references, customers searching for a new insurer may be better off working with a bigger, more established company operating nationally than a small outfit.

Ways of Avoiding Problems

While seeking insurance coverage with larger companies can avoid some shaky operations that operate at a smaller level, it doesn’t mean that the customer service will automatically be stellar.

One of the best ways for customers to avoid substandard service still remains referrals and other customers’ opinions of how they are served.

Customer car forums and Internet chat sites offer some bits of knowledge.

Enter your ZIP code into our FREE car insurance comparison tool to get valuable information about the companies available to you.

More descriptive sources come from others who already have car insurance with different companies.

With a bit of poking around, a consumer can find out quite a bit of information about which companies treat customers well and which ones just want premiums paid and claims delayed.

Finally, local Better Business Bureaus and commerce monitors can help identify problem companies versus good ones maintaining their excellent ratings.

Even though such sources are not guarantees combined with other sources the information can help pick out the substandard players from good companies.

References:

  1. http://info.gdpadvisors.com/blog/standard-vs-non-standard-insurance-coverage
  2. http://www.ambest.com/home/default.aspx
  3. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car-insurance/credit-scores-affect-auto-insurance-rates/index.htm
  4. https://www.goodfinancialcents.com/best-auto-insurance-companies/
  5. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/nonstandard-auto-insurance.asp

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