What is non-standard car insurance?
Non-standard car insurance refers to policies for people who have had some event in their driving history that disqualifies them from “standard” or regular car insurance coverage. In most cases, this means a serious driving infraction such as a DUI or driving under the influence charge. However, some people end up with non-standard car insurance even if they have good driving records due to poor payment and credit histories.
Drivers who have been convicted of a DUI are going to have a hard time finding an insurance company that wants to cover them. This is because DUIs so often result in terrible tragedies such as loss of life and major physical property damage. No insurance company wants the risk exposure of a person who has already shown that he or she is careless enough of personal safety to drive drunk. Of course, it is possible that a young person can make a mistake once and never drive under the influence again, but statistics show that many DUIs are repeat offenders, and the older a driver is when he or she gets a DUI, the more likely he or she is to re-offend.
This adds up to disturbing news for an insurance carrier who is considering a customer for coverage. If a DUI is many years in the past, most companies will forgive and forget; however, if you have had a DUI within the past five to seven years, you are simply going to have a harder time finding auto insurance coverage than the average person who does not have a DUI on his or her record.
That does not mean that you cannot get coverage at all. There are auto insurance companies willing to work with those with DUI convictions, reckless driving tickets, and other types of driving issues. However, people who must take out non-standard car insurance will quickly find that the prices for these policies are not competitive with regular insurance policies and that they have far fewer choices of company than regular insurance customers.
DUI is not the only reason that people may find themselves taking out non-standard insurance
Some people simply have too many claims on their record for their insurance company’s liking, or they have been involved in a serious at-fault accident that caused major damage and cost their company a great deal of money. If this is the case, the customer may find that their present insurance carrier is unwilling to renew their policy and that other companies are equally reluctant to take them on as customers. This may mean taking out non-standard insurance for a period of time until their driving record is re-established. There are also cases where someone has had his or her automobile insurance cancelled due to non-payment of premiums. Once you have lost your insurance for any period of time, you may have trouble finding an insurance company willing to insure you as most companies view a lapse in coverage as a non-standard insurance policy situation no matter what the reason for the lapse. If you have lost your coverage for any period of time, it is very possible that the only companies you will find that are willing to insure you are those offering expensive non-standard policies, although you can usually return to preferred coverage in a much shorter time period if this is the case. Simply pay your premiums on time every renewal period and keep applying to preferred coverage companies until you find one willing to re-insure you.
Some companies will keep a customer if the person needs non-standard insurance, but will offer a “tiered” policies at a higher rate.
Some insurance companies only take preferred customers and will deny a non-standard driver any coverage at all. Others specialize in non-standard insurance and seek out those customers who have been turned away from preferred status at other companies.
No matter what type of auto insurance coverage you find, it is likely that your premiums will increase significantly if you are forced to take out a non-standard policy. In general, DUIs will increase your premium rate by 40 percent or more for your first offense. Second or third offenses will narrow your choices, as many companies simply will not insure a repeat offender. Some states also require those convicted of a DUI to file a special form known as an SR-22. This is a form issued by your car insurance company that guarantees coverage for a period of time. There may be a fee for the issuance of an SR-22 that is added to the price of your policy, further driving up cost.