Car accidents and other serious traffic incidents will stay on your record for years, possibly requiring you to get nonstandard auto insurance. This type of coverage is usually the same as regular liability coverage. The term simply refers to a car insurance policy required of a higher-risk driver. Here’s everything you need to know about nonstandard auto insurance.
What Is Nonstandard Auto Insurance?
You are usually required to have three types of car insurance coverage: bodily injury per person per accident, bodily injury per accident, and property damage per accident. Nonstandard auto insurance simply means that something about your standard car insurance policy requirements, with one provider or in general, are changed to reflect risky behavior.
Even if you had a standard-risk liability policy, one more accident or mistake might tip the scales from average to high-risk in the eyes of your provider. They may refuse to renew your insurance plan if you don’t accept certain changes, like higher deductibles, higher premiums, car-tracking systems, or additional coverage types.
If you have a clean driving record, you’ll probably never be required to get nonstandard insurance. As long as you own a car, you’ll need your state’s minimum liability coverage. Some states might require additional types, such as uninsured motorist coverage. A third category for the lowest-risk drivers is preferred auto insurance. This type has the lowest premiums and the best options to get more coverage than the bare minimum.
Why You Might Need Nonstandard Coverage
Although usually associated with multiple car accidents, you may be required to get nonstandard auto insurance after only one infraction. Any time your driving record and other factors suggest a higher-than-average risk, you might be denied regular coverage or pricing. For instance, teenagers with just one traffic violation might have to get nonstandard auto insurance because teens are considered a high-risk age group.
While every situation is different, your provider might deny coverage renewal entirely rather than change your requirements or raise your price. It’s also possible to be required to get nonstandard auto coverage after too many repeat offenses that weren’t that serious, like too many speeding tickets in a short time. Every state has its own rules, so feel free to review our insurance guides and their requirements.
Does Nonstandard Coverage Require a Credit Check?
Depending on the state, your insurance provider might factor your credit score into calculating insurance eligibility and premiums. When you are a nonstandard-risk driver and need car insurance, some might require a credit check, but others won’t. It should be possible to find options even if you have no credit or a below-average score.
What Is the Deductible for Nonstandard Car Insurance?
When insurance is about to cover an expense, deductibles are the money you must pay out of pocket first. Usually, lower-quality insurance policies try to lure you with below-average premiums, only to stick you with a huge deductible. To avoid situations like that, be certain your policy has a manageable deductible and that you will be financially protected in an emergency.
Ways to Save Money on Nonstandard Car Insurance
Finding affordable nonstandard auto insurance can be tricky, but there are a few things to keep in mind. If you can afford to pay a higher deductible, that might give you a chance to save on your monthly premium. If you are careful and limit your driving, you may never need to file an insurance claim. Check with your insurance company to see if you qualify for discounts, which can help reduce your rates.
Apart from having good credit and fewer incidents on your driving record, you might want to stick to a smaller, lower-priced vehicle with high safety ratings. Luxury vehicles and anything more expensive will have more value to lose if it gets damaged or totaled. Luxury or sporty models are also associated with riskier driving. A model with a higher-than-average history of recalls and safety issues could boost your cost of insurance, too.
How to Avoid Having to Get Nonstandard Auto Insurance
An insurance provider couldn’t financially survive if they took on too many drivers who needed accident coverage or they’d run out of money. So most providers will still take you on as a customer while charging you more to mitigate the risk financially. There’s nothing more effective than driving responsibly and cleaning up your record over time to avoid higher insurance expenses.
Another possibility might be getting non-owner car insurance, especially if your car was totaled or lost. As long as you can handle borrowing, renting, sharing rides, or using public transportation, non-owner car insurance costs less than regular liability coverage, between $200 and $500 annually. Unfortunately, not all companies offer non-owner coverage, although GEICO’s non-owner coverage has overall good rates, and you don’t have to be a customer already.
Can an SR-22 Cause You to Need Nonstandard Auto Insurance?
An SR-22 is a form you might be required to file after a serious traffic violation, usually a DUI, proving you swear to maintain proper car insurance coverage. It stays on your record for a set number of years depending on your state and usually leads to higher insurance premiums. Although getting an SR-22 on your driving record can be associated with needing nonstandard auto insurance, one doesn’t necessarily cause or lead to the other. Some providers will offer better rates for SR-22 drivers in your state, while others cost much more.
Overall, the most important takeaway is to drive responsibly and research insurance companies near you for the best rates. Saving money on car insurance comes down to two essentials: driving safely and choosing a company that rewards you for it. If you end up needing nonstandard insurance, ensure you have the coverage you need at a price you can handle. From there, try to avoid any further accidents or problems that might affect your record.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.