Finding the right car insurance company can be challenging for anyone, but especially if you’re considered a risky driver by insurers. Car insurance companies put consumers into three categories: preferred, standard or non-standard.
- Preferred drivers are considered the least risky of the three. These drivers are experienced, have a clean driving record, and have strong credit.
- Standard drivers are in the middle. They typically have pretty good credit and a pretty good driving record, but may have some traffic violations and are considered slightly riskier than preferred drivers.
- Non-standard drivers are considered the most high-risk driver type to insure and customers may be placed into this bucket for a number of different reasons.
What makes a driver non-standard?
A person may be considered non-standard and a high-risk driver if they have any of the following characteristics:
- Have had multiple claims within the past year
- Are a teen driver
- Had no previous car insurance or a lapse in insurance coverage
- Live in an area with a high theft/vandalism crime rate
- Have been convicted of a serious driving violation, like driving under the influence
- Have a lot of speeding tickets
- Have poor credit
- Drive a rare, expensive vehicle, like a Lamborghini
How does being non-standard affect your policy?
Non-standard insurance policies vary greatly in coverage and price. A non-standard policy will typically be more expensive than a standard policy, as the premiums are heavily based on the risk the non-standard driver imposes. Non-standard policies may lack coverage compared to standard policies in some areas. For example, a non-standard policy may not cover "permissive drivers," which are people who are not on your insurance policy but may occasionally borrow your car. It may not extend to rental cars, either.
If you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence, driving while uninsured, or found at fault in any serious accident and have had your license suspended, you’ll have to file a SR-22 document with the DMV in order to get your license back. A SR-22 is basically proof of insurance, and having to file it will automatically make you non-standard for at least three years.
Non-standard drivers make up 22 percent of the private passenger auto insurance market, according to a study by the III. It’s possible to convert over from being non-standard to standard, though, like if you’ve had a driving under the influence charge that gets lifted from your record. Additionally, being non-standard doesn’t mean you’re uninsurable, but you may not be able to get coverage from any company. Don't worry, though, many well-known insurance companies like Geico, Progressive, and Safe Auto provide insurance for non-standard drivers. If you need to shop for a new standard or non-standard auto insurance policy, use Clearsurance’s comparison tool to compare car insurance companies or write a review about an experience you’ve had with your insurance company.
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