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Non-traditional and Usage-based Car Insurance Companies

When you’re shopping for car insurance, comparing quotes can help you find the most affordable policy for your situation. But sometimes, the biggest or most popular car insurance companies are out of your price range, especially if you have a unique driver profile. In this case, choosing a non-traditional car insurance company might be a better option. 


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Our rates are based on public rate filings obtained by analytics company First Interpreter. While we may partner with some of the carriers you see on our site, we maintain editorial independence and it does not affect the rates you see. Read more about our rating methodology or see our rigorous editorial policy. 

Written by Elizabeth Rivelli

Reviewed by Alyssa DiCrasto

Last updated: January 12, 2023

What is a non-traditional car insurance company?

A non-traditional, or nonstandard, car insurance company caters to individuals who don’t fit the “standard” driver profile. While every auto insurance company defines a “standard” driver differently, it may include a driver who is already insured, has a good credit score, has no recent tickets or accidents on their record, and drives a regular vehicle (meaning, not a luxury car or a rare car). 

If you don’t fall into the category of a “standard” driver, you might find that a non-traditional car insurance company can offer you a more affordable rate. It might also be easier to get car insurance through a non-standard company if you have been denied auto insurance in the past. 

Who should consider usage-based car insurance companies?

Any individual who does not fit the criteria for a “standard” driver should consider an alternative car insurance company. If you fit into any of the categories below, you might benefit from a non-traditional or usage-based car insurance policy: 

You drive less than 10,000 miles per year
You have multiple at-fault accidents on your record
Your car insurance has lapsed
You have a serious violation on your record, like a DUI
You have a poor credit score (300-579)
You drive a luxury vehicle or rare vehicle
Your car has a salvage or rebuilt title

What are some usage-based car insurance options?

There are several car insurance alternatives that drivers should consider when shopping for auto insurance. Here are a few suggestions: 

Telematics auto insurance

Telematics auto insurance can be a great option for individuals with a perfect driving record and excellent driving skills. With this type of insurance, you install a device in your vehicle or use a mobile app, which tracks your driving habits during trips. Telematics devices may record the following data: 

  • When you drive (at night or during the day) 
  • How far you drive 
  • Brake force 
  • Speed 
  • Fast cornering 
  • Cell phone use while driving 

If you consistently demonstrate safe driving habits, you get rewarded with a lower car insurance premium. Telematics programs are available from some of the largest car insurance companies, and often have savings of up to 30%.  

Pay-per-mile auto insurance

If you only use your car occasionally, a pay-per-mile auto insurance policy could be a more affordable option. The premium for a pay-per-mile insurance policy is based on the distance you drive, rather than a fixed annual (or monthly) rate.  

Most companies that offer mileage-based policies charge a fixed monthly rate and an additional fee for each mile you drive. At the end of the payment period, you only get charged for the distance you drove.  

While pay-per-mile auto insurance can be cheaper for occasional drivers, it can be more expensive for drivers who use their cars frequently. If you drive more than 10,000 miles per year, a standard car insurance policy is probably more affordable. 

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What company actually has the cheapest auto insurance?

Most drivers are looking for the cheapest auto insurance for their coverage needs and personal profile, which is based on factors like annual mileage, credit score (in most states), and driving record. But which non-traditional car insurance companies actually have the lowest rates? We found some of the cheapest providers for drivers in various categories. 

Cheapest car insurance for good drivers

If you’re a good driver with no recent violations or accidents, a telematics car insurance policy might be a good option. By demonstrating safe habits behind the wheel, you can get rewarded with a cheaper rate. There are several insurance providers that offer telematics programs and have cheap rates: 

  • Root Insurance 
  • Noblr 
  • Progressive Snapshot 
  • State Farm Drive Safe and Save 
  • USAA SafePilot 
  • Geico DriveEasy 
  • Liberty Mutual RightTrack 

Cheapest car insurance for infrequent drivers

If you’re an infrequent driver who only uses their car occasionally, a pay-per-mile car insurance policy may help you get the cheapest rate. Before you purchase a policy, it’s a good idea to check the mileage requirements, which can vary based on the provider. Here are some companies that offer affordable pay-per-mile insurance policies: 

  • Mile Auto 
  • Metromile 
  • Nationwide SmartMiles 
  • Allstate MileWise 

Cheapest car insurance for high-risk drivers

You might be a high-risk driver if you have been convicted of a DUI, have multiple at-fault accidents on your record, have a poor credit score, have been caught driving without car insurance, or have had your insurance lapse more than once. 

These types of violations can make it difficult to get approved for car insurance, so you might need to apply with a non-standard company. These non-standard car insurance providers offer some of the cheapest rates: 

  • Direct Auto 
  • Dairyland 
  • Kemper 
  • The General 
  • Esurance 

Learn more about the best companies for high-risk drivers >


What are the best nonstandard car insurance companies?

Every driver has unique car insurance needs, so there isn’t one non-standard car insurance provider that is the best option across the board. For example, some insurers are good for high-risk drivers, while others are better suited for drivers who use their cars very infrequently. 

To find the best non-standard car insurance companies for you, you can use Rate Retriever to compare car insurance quotes. After answering a few questions, you’ll get matched with top-rated providers in your area. Then, you can complete your personal profile with information like the number of violations on your record to get the most accurate rate quotes possible.  

About Rate Retriever

At Rate Retriever, our mission is to make the way you shop for insurance transparent and fair through user-friendly tools that respect your privacy and deliver reliable, comprehensive results 

So we took everything we hated about comparing insurance quotes online – the spam, the long questionnaires, the limited choices, the inaccuracy of quote prices – and threw it out the window, favoring a short form that more accurately estimates what you’ll pay at each of the top insurance providers near you. 

Rate Retriever is an independent company that is not owned by an insurance provider, nor do we provide insurance ourselves. This independence allows us to be your free and impartial insurance research tool, helping you make the best decisions for your insurance needs.  

We may earn a commission when you click one of the links or call one of the providers listed on our site; however, we do not allow our partnerships to influence which information we provide.