An important lesson published from

We’ve all seen the “cute”  insurance commercials from companies which sell non standard insurance. It may be less expensive, but good luck if you are ever involved in an accident with another person who purchases this type of coverage.

If you’re shopping for car insurance with a little bit of driving record baggage in tow, you know it can be hard to find a good policy at a good price.  You might be hearing a lot about insurance risk levels, non-standard car insurance, liability, and different types of coverage.  How can you know which auto insurance you qualify for?  It may depend on your record as a driver.

The kind of coverage you are able to get will likely depend on your “risk” level as determined by a car insurance company.  Your risk level is assessed by a number of factors, including your driving record, the type of car you own, and your criminal history.  “Low-risk” drivers and “high-risk” drivers present different risk levels to insurance companies, and low-risk drivers are viewed as less of a problem to insure than are high-risk drivers.

What Is Standard Auto Insurance Coverage?

Drivers who qualify for standard car insurance likely have a clean driving record, no criminal background, and good credit.  Standard car insurance may cost less than non-standard car insurance, and is typically easier to qualify for.

What is Non-Standard Car Insurance?

Non-standard auto insurance is a viable alternative for drivers who fall outside of the “low-risk” category.  Drivers who might benefit from non-standard car insurance could include those who have…

  • A high-value or specialized vehicle
  • A poor credit history
  • An SR22 form
  • Been convicted of a DUI
  • Been convicted of a DWI
  • Filed too many insurance claims
  • Had multiple accidents
  • Let their insurance lapse
  • Multiple traffic violations
  • No prior coverage

Depending on the car insurance provider you choose, non-standard car insurance policies may have a higher rate than standard ones.  It’s best to shop around before choosing an auto insurance provider so you can get the most for your money, even with non-standard car insurance.


Standard coverage is designed for the low risk policy holder. These are typically cookie cutter policies that differ very little from one to the next both in terms of the scope of their coverage and price of the policy. Other common characteristics of standard policies include:

  • Standard policy forms are regulated by the State in which they are issued.
  • Standard policies participate in the Guaranty Fund, a State-operated funding program for payment of claims on behalf of a carrier that’s not able to pay claims on their own.
  • Standard policies typically have more restrictions, in terms of which types of individuals they cover. Only those who fit into the low risk category are qualified to be insured. For example, specific determining factors for coverage such as auto insurance include a driving record that’s doesn’t contain accidents, tickets for traffic violations, and filed insurance claims.


  • Non-Standard policies are sometimes referred to as Excess & Surplus Lines (E&S).
  • Non-Standard policies may involve additional fees depending upon the specific coverage your require and your level of risk. If you are a high risk applicant you will pay premiums that reflect this.
  • Non-standard policies have a lot more flexibility regarding their acceptance of high-risk applicants who may not qualify for other standard insurance carriers.
  • Most companies require individuals to stay with a non-standard policy for a certain amount of time before they can attempt to switch over to a standard provider.


Is the insurer licensed?

Insurers that aren’t licensed by the State are called “nonadmitted” or “surplus line” agents. Having coverage from one of these companies can do more harm than good and result in consequences because those that aren’t licensed aren’t obligated to adhere to financial solvency regulations and the enforcement that applies to licensed insurers.

How can you confirm the facts? 

Be sure to do your research and ask questions to avoid regrets about obtaining coverage from an un-licensed channel. You can also locate your state’s department of insurance through the National Association of Insurance Commissions to ensure the company that you’re interested in meets the necessary guidelines to be considered legitimate.

What about foreign insurers?

Non-US, or alien, insurers should still be licensed by the country in which they operate. You should also perform your own investigation into these companies before you decide to settle with a certain plan.

Standard vs. non-standard insurance coverage is a complex topic that needs your full attention. Don’t let securing insurance become an intimidating task that causes you to make unreasonable decisions. Seek consultation from experts who can effectively address your concerns and help land you the best coverage possible.