Car Insurance & DUI
Driving under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are interchangeable terms that generally mean drunk driving or impaired driving. It is considered a criminal offense if the person registers a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) that is over the state limit.
DUI is also a charge possible for persons under the influence of drugs. There are some states that do not depend on the BAC results and can charge a driver with a DUI based on other tests or evidences of intoxication.
At one time in the past, driving past state lines could save you from a DUI but this no longer applies after all states agreed to the same BAC limit which is 0.08%. In the case of drivers under the age of 21, a No Alcohol Tolerance policy is observed.
States differ as to the penalties and fines for DUI/DWI offenders over 21 and categorize DUI penalties based on the severity of the intoxication. For example, in California, if your BAC is over 0.15%, you automatically get classified under enhanced state of intoxication which means higher fines and penalties.
In New Mexico, a BAC of 0.16% will automatically land you in jail while in Michigan and South Dakota your refusal to be tested will mean license suspension plus other penalties and fines. In other states, a mandatory ignition lock will be installed for enhanced BAC DUI/DWI offenders.
Over the years, studies have been made in the hopes of finding ways to discourage DUI yet every 53 minutes, someone in the United States dies from a DUI accident which is equivalent to 27 deaths every day. Also, every 1.5 minutes, someone gets hurt from a DUI accident. Nonetheless, the fatality rate for drunken driving is down by 50% compared to the 1980’s.
Aside from the high risk of injury with a DUI is the inevitable increase in auto insurance. Insurance companies will tag higher premium car insurance for DUI drivers because of the increased chances of another DUI accident.
It will also take some time before the DUI stigma is removed or minimized to the point where you can return to your original insurance rates.
The process that an offender undergoes after being caught driving while intoxicated includes the BAC test and other sobriety tests like the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn, finger-to-nose, counting backwards, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus, among others.
If the police conclude that you are a potential threat to road safety, you will be held and if they have reason to believe in a strong DUI/DWI case, you will be charged accordingly.
Get a quote without all the hassle after a DUI/DWI
How long does a DUI on your driving record affect your car insurance rate?
Before you start driving, you should know a few facts. One, you will need auto insurance and all insurance companies keep track of your driving history, many by using a point system. Briefly, the cost of DUI/DWI car insurance is not dependent on the point system of the DMV but on an insurance company’s point system.
The DMV’s point system helps them decide on license cancellation or suspension while the auto insurance company uses their point system to determine your new car insurance rate.
For every violation, your rate increases by a predetermined fraction of a point. For example, a speeding violation for 10 miles/hour above the limit will incur a specific number of points which would be multiplied by a rate determined by the insurance company. DUI offenses generally get higher points.
DUI offenses can stay on your record for up to 10 years however you do not have to wait this long to return to regular insurance rates. Finding the best rate is possible provided you avoid future DUI violations; take a special safe or defensive driving course, and other remedies that would assure the insurance company of your intention to never DUI again.
Keep in mind though that not all insurance companies or states use the point system – some companies just count the number of offenses in your motor vehicle record and if you exceed their limit, you get penalized. Once this happens, the insurance company starts to compute a new rate for you.
You will have to talk to the insurance company and find out how you can lower your car insurance since each company has its own criteria.
Basically, you have to convince the insurance company that you are no longer a high risk driver and they look at your DMV record as part of their assessment. As you maintain a clean driving record with the DMV, your points will drop slowly.
How does DUI affect the insurance cost, more specifically, the rate, premium, and coverage?
Hopefully, your insurance company will not cancel your policy. This would be the worst scenario because other companies you approach will base their assessment on your newly updated driver’s record and charge you accordingly for non-standard car insurance. However, in some states such as California it is law that an insurance company not drop you as a result of a DUI.
If you can keep your current insurance company, expect a change in your policy. High risk drivers such as those involved in a DUI accident could possibly pay up to $10,000 a year for the first year.
The exact increase would depend on your driving history, other moving violations, lapses in coverage, length of stay with the insurance company, and the details surrounding the DUI accident.
Insurance companies will increase the insurance rate which will increase your premium once they get notified by the state unless you voluntarily notify them which would possibly put you in their good graces. Reports show that average car insurance rate increases over 94% in the first year alone, and by the 2nd and 3rd year premiums on average are still over 63% higher.
The coverage will be changed and many insurance companies will not include certain coverage for damages and liabilities. If you decide to sell your car, you may retain your car insurance policy and still drive a rental or borrow a car for your personal use.
Finally, you may be asked to file a state-mandated SR22 which is a certificate to cover financial responsibility as a high risk driver. For DUI offenses, it has a validity of up to 5 years and it is not an insurance policy. It simply certifies that you are paying for liability coverage.
It costs anywhere from $15 to $25 a year and can only be bought from a state-licensed insurance company. This means that if you move to a different state, you will to continue to maintain the minimum liability limits of your old while upgrading to your new state if necessary.
How long do I need to pay for DUI/DWI insurance?
Most DUI insurance will run for a maximum of 5 years although the exact period would depend on the circumstances surrounding your driver’s record, DUI accident, and assessment of your insurance provider. For instance, risk factors all insurance companies will have to consider include:
- Chances of another DUI accident, accident, or violation
- Risk of car theft or burglary
- Chances of getting hit by an uninsured driver
How can I get my license back?
If your driver’s license has been suspended by the DMV, you need to contact your local DMV for a complete list of requirements. However, generally speaking, you will need to fulfill the following within the prescribed suspension period:
- Take the required DUI/DWI course
- Fill up the form requesting for reinstatement
- Provide proof that you can afford to pay car insurance and the SR22
- Apply for lifting of suspension or new license
- Pay the reinstatement fee
On the other hand, if you have just received your suspension notice, you can appeal the suspension by appearing at your hearing date and or hiring a DUI/DWI defense lawyer to represent you.
How long does a DUI stay on record?
In some states like California, a DUI record is never removed or only removed after 10 years. This means that a second, third or fourth drunk driving offense will graduate to heavier penalties and stiffer fines or the permanent cancellation of your driving privileges. Other states leave the DUI/DWI offense for a minimum of 5 years.
It is possible to have a DUI offense expunged from your record but you will need to bring the case to court to accomplish this.
Furthermore, not all states allow records to be expunged like Georgia and if approved, it is granted mostly for first time offenders who have not been convicted of a crime because of drunk driving.
How will I be able to drive and/or get transportation after a DUI/DWI?
If your license has not been suspended or canceled, you can still drive a vehicle. You will need to inform your auto insurance company of your DUI violation, get non-standard insurance, an SR22, and pay for the cost of DUI/DWI car insurance. You may have to find a new insurance company if your current provider refuses to offer you non-standard insurance.
If your license has been suspended, you can appeal for an exception but only if your profession/career is hinged on driving a vehicle.
Do I need special coverage added after a DUI/DWI?
Yes, you will need to comply with the insurance requirements of your DUI offense. These could mean the following:
- Show proof of insurance
- Buy SR22 or FR44 policy for minimum Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability
- Pay a fee with the insurance company if you fail to meet the deadline for filing of SR22 or FR44
- If you do not own a vehicle, buy non-owner liability insurance
My Insurance after DUI/DWI
Car insurance with DUI is not as hard as you think it is. While there is a process that will have to be played out and a higher insurance rate to deal with, there is a clear end to look forward to. Since not all insurance companies offer non-standard insurance for high risk drivers, you will have to find one as soon as possible. You can start by asking your current provider and requesting for a new quote and the processing of your SR22.
The SR22 is also not available with all insurance companies but can only come from insurance companies. This is one way to ensure that all high risk drivers with a DUI or other serious violations do not pose a threat to others on the road or drive without minimum coverage.
Insurance companies are kinder on 1st and second DUI/DWI offenses but once you start doing it more often, they will step away or charge you an extremely high premium with terms that will not include certain provisions in coverage like property damage liability and other liabilities.
What are my options if my current provider increases my rate after DUI/DWI?
If you want to know how to get the best coverage after the DUI, you will need to shop around. There are advantages with sticking to your current provider such as having an existing client account with hopefully a good record prior to the DUI incident.
You will have to accept that one of the consequences of a DUI offense is higher insurance rates because you have now become a high risk driver. The only way to lower the rate is to start driving carefully and within the legal boundaries of the law. That being said, you have one other option aside from staying with your current insurer or shopping around.
This 3rd option is fighting the DUI in court and getting it reversed. It entails legal cost and a fair amount of time from you and you will need to be convinced and convince others, particularly a judge, that you were not driving intoxicated.
What can I expect if I shop around?
First of all, focus only on insurance companies that offer non-standard car insurance. This is the high risk driver’s insurance with SR22 certification.
The second step is to compare costs and terms of the coverage. You will find some insurance companies willing to offer a lower premium but with less coverage or a higher premium with more coverage.
Assess your personal history and try to predict which type of coverage you will need. If you plan on using the Internet to shop for cheap car insurance after DUI, stick to companies located within your state.
Generally, DUI/DWI options differ per state so staying local will prevent you from getting the wrong information.
Finding Cheaper Coverage After A DUI/DWI
Obtaining Cheap car insurance coverage after a DUI is easier today because of the Internet which allows for quick and easy access to information at your convenience. It eliminates the requirement of having to show up publicly in an insurance office discussing your DUI which could be quite embarrassing for many people.
It would be best not to pick the first insurance company to offer you non-standard car insurance. It would also be a good idea to have the official reports on the DUI incident, your personal driving history, and basic financial data to avoid wasting time in getting the best deal possible.
For many first time DUI offenders, the humiliation and phobia from being caught driving under the influence can be traumatic. This is something you will have to deal with over a period of time since the DUI record will remain in your driving history for several years.
Many people experience shame and guilt after being arrested for a DUI and/or injuring others in the process. If a tragedy results from the accident, the intensity of guilt could increase to a level that may require you to seek professional medical treatment from a psychiatrist or trauma specialist.
How can a DUI offense affect my life other than the higher insurance rate?
Being guilty of a DUI is a very serious offense. The effects can be long term especially if you commit a second or third offense. In fact, from the moment you find yourself in a DUI situation, your life will change in several ways.
- If someone dies, you will be charged with a crime and potentially have a permanent criminal record
- Your license will be suspended and you will have to pay fines, face jail time, require treatment, or pay out of pocket for injuries sustained because of the DUI
- You may have to agree to the installation of a Ignition Interlock device for at least 12 months which has become an alternative in 50 states for DUI offenders since 2012
- You will have to take classes on DUI including counseling before your license can be reinstated
- You may lose insurance coverage
- Repeat offenders will get a minimum jail sentence of 1 month and suspension of license for at least 1 year
Even more damaging is the aftereffects in your life because of one DUI. You may have a hard time finding and keeping a job, opening a bank account, limit your travel, face mandatory loss of job because of the criminal record, be required to do community service, and not be accepted as a student in many colleges across the country.
What do I do if my car is still not fully paid and requires full insurance coverage?
If you are found guilty of a DUI offense and your car has not been fully paid for, you will just have to find an insurance company willing to accept you for full insurance coverage or comprehensive. Most likely there will be conditions to the coverage and you will have to agree to pay a higher rate.
The chances of finding cheap car insurance for DUI/DWI and still get comprehensive coverage are low so if you do find a company willing to consider your situation, make sure you abide by their guidelines and stay sober while driving.
I need to find the cheapest car insurance after DUI, how can this be done?
The cheapest car insurance after DUI does not necessarily mean cheap insurance. A DUI will automatically increase your DUI car insurance rates but there are several excellent companies competing in this market so it’s just a matter of time and being resourceful to find car insurance coverage after DUI that you can afford.
All you need to do is find companies that offer non-standard car insurance and SR22. If you can find their website, simply input your zip code to get a fair estimate of DUI car insurance rates.
Should I reveal my DUI conviction when getting quotes?
Yes, you should do this as soon as possible to save time. Once you submit the necessary details, the insurance company will be able to send you their quote. Thus, it’s better to be upfront rather than appear like you’re trying to hide it.
What happens to my car insurance premium after a DUI conviction?
Your insurance company will pay for what has been agreed upon in the policy provided the policy is valid and in effect. After the insurance company meets its obligations, it will decide to either drop you as a client or cancel your policy and offer you their DUI car insurance rates.
The rate may increase by as much as 30 to 100% depending on the circumstances of the DUI accident and your driving record.
What happens if the DUI offender is my spouse?
You have 2 options with this scenario. One, you can get car insurance without including your spouse or you can include your spouse in the policy and negotiate for a rate you are comfortable with.
Unfortunately, some states do not allow exclusions for people living under the same roof or married to each other. Also, there are very serious financial consequences if the DUI offender is caught driving the car.
You may want to consider getting DUI insurance for your spouse with an older car model, if you have more than 1 car. However, you should still expect a higher insurance rate because of the DUI conviction.
The Effects That DUI/DWI Have on Car Insurance Premiums after a Conviction
In 2012, DUI incidents account for 31% of all motor vehicle deaths in the United States or over 10,300 fatalities. Insurance companies have paid and continue to pay a lot of money because of accidents from drunk driving and they will do anything to prevent unnecessary financial loss and tragedies.
The problem with too much alcohol is that it dulls the senses, makes a person reckless and easily distracted. The same drunk person will not be able to react quickly or monitor the vehicle’s speed. More frightening is the fact that people react to alcohol on different levels. For some, one drink is enough to dull the senses while for others; it would require them to drink all night before feeling intoxicated or too impaired to drive carefully.
That being said, the average increase in premiums for a one-car, one driver accident is several hundred dollars.
To give you a general overview of the costs you incur with a DUI accident, you will have to pay for the following:
First-time penalties start at $300 but can go as high as $1,500 for repeat offenders
Towing services and cost of impound would be approximately $216
Court fees can cost as much as $800
Attorney’s fees can cost as much as $2,500
If the DUI offender is required to undergo treatment, the average cost is $625
If the state requires a restitution for victims like the state if California, you will have to pay around $500
Reinstatement of license would cost $100
Insurance premium rate increase could go as high as $2,500
Expect your insurance coverage to change. Your current provider might not even be interested in continuing the business relationship. It’s not personal or vindictive. It could simply be because they do not have non-standard car insurance or be authorized to issue the SR22.
The car insurance for a DUI/DWI offender is different in that the rates are higher and the terms are carefully crafted to protect the insurance company against a future DUI/DWI incident. The main premise of insurance companies is that the DUI/DWI offender is a high risk client and should prove him or herself first to be a responsible driver before the rates are lowered. There is usually a prescribed time that must be followed especially if a tragedy was involved.
How long is the probation period?
Every DUI offender must go through a probation period. This period is not standard across the country so it varies per state.
However, expect a few months to several years probation period wherein you may have to surrender your license or be placed under certain driving restrictions, pay a higher insurance premium, use a device to monitor your alcohol level, pay fines, and attend DUI classes, among others.
Will my insurance cover me if I get a DUI/DWI?
Your insurance is obliged to pay for whatever is included in the current policy with some restrictions. For instance, if you are fully covered under collision coverage, you will have to pay a deductible but the insurance company will honor its part of the agreement.
It will definitely increase your rate, cancel your policy, or require you to file for another type of car insurance plan known as non-standard for high risk drivers.
Are there many DUI car insurance companies to choose from?
It is more important to find a reputable DUI car insurance company you can trust and work with. You should also stick to local companies because of the different requirements per state.
However, you will not lack in finding a car insurance company offering DUI/DWI insurance and you will be able to get a reasonably fair quote from most of them.
How much increase can I expect on my insurance rate after a DUI/DWI?
For a first offense DUI/DWI without major injuries or damages to car, personal body, or third party liability, your cost for new DUI/DWI car insurance will start at around $5,000 minimum but can go as high as $12,000 depending on the circumstances.
However, if it is your second or third DUI/DWI offense or a driving violation after a DUI/DWI, the cost cans double or even triple.
What are the insurance penalties after DUI/DWI?
You could lose your current coverage and will likely have to shift to a non-standard car insurance policy with SR22. Other penalties may also include having changing to a company that offers non-standard insurance for high risk drivers, a higher insurance rate, and a comprehensive review of your driving history and history with the insurance company.
If you present a too-high risk to the insurance company, they will cancel your insurance and this will mean having to find a new insurer.
What happens to my insurance after a DUI/DWI conviction?
Aside from the higher rates, you will be under the insurance company and DMV radar for at least 3 years for the first offense.
Within this period, you have to prove to them that you are a responsible driver with no violations whatsoever including speeding, crossing a red light, or parking in a no park zone. If you can do this, your insurance coverage after a DUI will gradually ease in terms of rates.
Who are the best DUI/DWI insurance coverage brokers or companies?
DUI car insurance companies are online and ready to offer you their best quotes. The top insurance coverage brokers or companies are professional, willing to discuss your personal circumstances, and offer you expert advice on how to get a better rate after you have been convicted of a DUI.
If you live in California start with responsive insurance companies like Breathe Easy, which has one of the most responsive and efficient services for people traumatized after their DUI/DWI incident.
Who has the cheapest car insurance?
Cheap car insurance should take into consideration what you are getting back for your dollar. Your car insurance should cover the minimum requirements that will make your life manageable after a road incident. Thus, cheap should mean affordable, practical, and responsive to your personal circumstances. Do not fall for extremely low-priced car insurance insurance quotes without looking at the fine print. You could actually be paying more for what you are getting back in return. It is vital that you place your trust on professionals who can customize an insurance solution for you and only you especially if you are in need of SR22 car insurance.
Best SR22 Insurance Companies
You can go to any of the national insurance companies but most times, the service is typical of large companies – impersonal, difficult, strained, and even judgmental. You might want to try a local insurance company.
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