If you've racked up a bunch of speeding tickets or made a lot of car insurance claims, you might find yourself in the market for non-standard auto insurance. Non-standard doesn't refer to the policy, but rather the type of driver buying it -- someone considered too risky for standard or preferred auto insurance rates. "You probably are not going to know you're buying a non-standard policy, but your insurer will know," says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insure.com. You might fall into the non-standard category if you've had multiple accidents or claims, multiple moving violations, or a conviction for a serious offense like driving under the influence. "That's going to be something that will cause an insurer to tap the brakes before offering you a quote," says Jeff Camara, a partner at Vargas & Vargas Insurance in Dorchester, Massachusetts. You could also be considered non-standard if you're newly licensed or have a poor credit history, although some states such as Massachusetts don't let insurers consider drivers' credit histories to set rates. Some car insurance companies, such as The General and Titan Insurance, specialize in serving the non-standard market. But you're not limited to those companies if you have a spotty driving record. Progressive Insurance got its start catering to higher risk customers, although it now also serves the broader standard market. Other major insurers such as Allstate, which traditionally served only standard and preferred customers, also write policies for non-standard drivers. Here are five tips for buying non-standard auto insurance.
1. Get lots of car insurance quotes.
"You have to do a little legwork," Camara says. "It's not going to be as easy as someone with 10 years of driving experience and a clean record." Insurance companies have varying appetites for risk, so don't give up if a couple of insurers turn you down - it's always wise to compare car insurance companies.