We insurance people throw around a lot of terms. If you’re not in the insurance business, some may not make a lot of sense, including the terms “Standard auto insurance” or “Non-standard auto insurance.” So in this article, we’ve described what each means, shared some examples and how these two types of auto insurance could apply to your situation.
So what does Standard Auto Insurance mean?
All insurance companies have what are called underwriting guidelines. These guidelines spell out what is acceptable and under what conditions they will issue a policy with their company.
Standard carriers are more particular with their guidelines. Not only do they spell out the number of moving violations and accidents (and what type) you’re allowed to have, but driving experience can also matter. Here’s some guidelines from one of our carriers for their Preferred program.
- 6 months continuous auto insurance.
- No major violations within the past 5 years. Examples include DUI, Drag racing, Reckless Operation, Vehicular Homicide. You get it- the big things.
- 1 at fault accident over $1000 in payout in the last 3 years. Regardless of the amount, most standard carriers will put a dollar limit on the accident payout.
- 2 or less comprehensive claims in the last 3 years or 3 comprehensive losses in the last 5 years.
- 1 minor moving violation in the last 3 years and 2 in the last 5 years. This includes a speeding ticket, traffic signal citation, stop sign violation, etc.
It’s important to note that what is allowable can also be determined by driver age. As a general rule, youthful operators are held to a higher standard for eligibility.
Please note: the above guidelines are specific to only one company. Standard companies may allow more or less, depending on your situation (such as length of time insured with that company). When in doubt, ask!
If your driving record has more activity than what a standard carrier will allow, then you must seek insurance in the non-standard market.
What does Non-Standard Insurance mean?
As mentioned previously, if you have more driving activity than what a standard insurance company will permit, then non-standard insurance is your next option.
Major violations are permitted. 3 or more minor moving violations are allowed as well. More than 1 at-fault accident is also OK. You may also be allowed to have several comprehensive claims.
There are also a few other situations where non-standard insurance is the only option.
- If you have NO auto insurance currently, then a non-standard company is the place you’ll likely have to start. Once you’ve got insurance in place for a continuous length of time (say 6 months), then standard auto insurance will most likely be available (again based on driving record and other factors). This is when it’s best to have an agent in your corner- we can get you started and check in before the 6 months is up to see if we can move you to a standard company/better program.
- If you require a Financial Responsibility filing (commonly called an SR-22) with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, then only a non-standard insurance company can provide that. The filing is an endorsement to your auto policy and carries a small fee. SR-22’s are common requirements when you can’t show proof of financial responsibility (most commonly via an auto insurance policy) or are picked up for a violation subject to section 4509.31 of the Ohio Revised Code (https://www.bmv.ohio.gov/links/bmv_PFPC-Web-Processing-System.pdf)
It’s important to also note that standard vs. non-standard doesn’t mean the coverage is good on a standard policy or bad on a non-standard policy. Liability is still liability. Medical payments is still medical payments. And comprehensive is still comprehensive. The terms simply refer to eligibility based on driving record and age.
We offer both non-standard and standard auto insurance through 4 different insurance companies. We’ve started many people in a non-standard policy (due to many of the reasons already mentioned) and moved them up to a standard policy when driving record improves. Curious how we can help you? Call today or fill out our auto insurance quote now!