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How does a DUI Affect Car Insurance Rates?

The consequences of a DUI conviction can be serious. Read on to learn how to minimize the damage to your finances, driving record, and insurance.

drunk driver car keys and glass of whiskey

If you're charged or convicted of a DUI or DWI, the legal and financial headaches are both lengthy and severe. To ensure you’re prepared what's going to happen, you should retain a DUI attorney to help with your legal proceedings.

If you plead guilty, you'll still need a DUI lawyer to help you with the court filings. Each state has its own laws for drinking and driving infractions. Most states have cracked down on drunk drivers by enacting stricter penalties and more uniform standards.

Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have worked to standardize the legal threshold for blood alcohol content (BAC). It's now at .08 percent in all 50 states.

When the DUI Trial is Over

Insurance companies don't write specific "DUI Insurance" policies, but they sometimes market as if they do. In essence, a DUI insurance policy is still just a regular auto liability policy. But the monthly premium can be three to five times higher than a driver with a clean driving record pays.

Most states require filing an SR-22 form with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. An SR-22 is a "Proof of Financial Responsibility" form. It certifies that a driver has purchased at least the minimum required amount of liability insurance for their state.

Every driver is required to carry this level of insurance. But drivers with a DUI, a DWI, or citations for driving without insurance must also file an SR-22. Most insurance companies will help file SR-22 forms for their customers. Let us help you find the lowest insurance rates after a DUI..

Drunk Driving is Not Just Reckless—it's Expensive!

A DUI will cost a driver around $10,000 when it's all said and done. And more if you include lost wages . Here's a chart that displays average costs associated with the different aspects of a DUI:

The Total Cost of a DUI

Costs Associated with a Drunk Driving Charge
Expense Average Cost
Bail: $150–$2,000
Towing and Impound: $100–$1,000
Added Insurance Costs: $5,000+
DUI Lawyer: $2,500
Court Fines: $1,000
Alcohol Treatment/Education: $1,000
Licensing Fees: $150
Ignition Lock: $250
Total: $10,000–$15,000

These costs are just estimates. How much you end up paying could be much higher. Compare quote to find out how much a DUI will raise your car insurance rates.

DUI Insurance Rates

Will a DUI really increase your insurance costs by $5,000 per year? That’s a little on the high side, but your rates are going to go up a lot. It's hard to quantify because every insurance company handles DUI cases differently. Rest assured, if you have any sort of preferred or safe driver discount, that'll be gone. If not right away, then at your next renewal date when insurance companies re-run your driving record. Some companies may simply choose to drop you. Others may switch you to their "high-risk" division as soon as they learn of a DUI infraction.

There are companies that specialize in insuring high-risk drivers. But insurance rates for drivers with DUIs are often double, triple, or more than for a driver without a DUI. Luckily, there are agents that specialize in insuring people with DUIs and we can help you find them.

Drunk Driving/DUI Q & A

DUIs are a hot topic these days. Each month on the largest search engine in the world, users search for the term “DUI” over 90,000 times per month. Here are some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding DUIs:

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How Long Will a DUI Affect my Insurance Rates?

The length of time a DUI stays on your driving record varies from state to state. Many times, a DUI will drop off your driving record after 3-7 years. However, the infraction is likely to remain on your criminal record forever. After the citation is off of your driving record, your rates will return to normal. In most cases, a DUI will raise your insurance rates for a minimum of three years.

If a DUI no longer affects your insurance rates, but still showing up on criminal background checks, you have options. It may be possible to expunge the violation from your criminal record. Another option is to have the infraction listed under "sealed records." Only the police can view sealed records. Contact your state's DMV or a DUI lawyer to learn more.

Q: What if the DUI is expunged?

A: Getting a DUI expunged is an option for a person looking to remove a DUI from their driving record. However, each state has strict rules on expungement. Some states only allow expungement if there was a DUI arrest, but not if there was a DUI conviction. An expunged DUI can still be proof of a “prior conviction.” Expunged infractions are not visible to employers, credit issuers or other businesses trying to conduct a background check on you.

Q: Will a DUI affect my parent's insurance if I was driving their car?

A: It depends whether you're a named insured on your parent's car insurance policy. If you're a named insured on their policy, and you get a DUI, your parent’s car insurance rates will rise. Also, if convicted, the judge could force you to install an ignition interlock device on your parent’s car. Your parents will not be happy. The court will not pay for the device.

Q: If I had an accident and got a DUI, will it affect my claim

A: The quick answer is yes. Insurance companies have strict rules laid out in car insurance policies on what they'll cover. And what they will not cover. Insurance companies cover “accidental” car accidents. Some may cover accidents due to your negligence, and some may even cover grossly negligent car accidents. But not many insurance companies are going to cover “intentional” car accidents. And most insurers view drinking and driving accidents as intentional, not accidental.

Q: If someone else drives my car and gets a DUI, will it affect my insurance?

A: No it will not. If your friend gets charged with a DUI while driving your car, their insurance rates will go up, not yours. There’s really no reason to tell your insurance company about this. But if your friend is a named insured on the policy, make sure you report it. If this is the case, then your rates will go up. You could tell your insurer that your friend will never drive your car again and drop them from your policy.

That could work in some cases. But if your friend shares your address, companies will assume your friend will end up driving your car again.

Q: Can I refuse to take a Breathalyzer?

A: Yes, most attorneys would advise never to take them. Nor any of the other field sobriety tests, as they're voluntary, and not required by law. However, not taking them will not stop a police officer from arresting you.

Q: What if a person takes prescription medication? Can that affect the results?

A: Yes. A DUI is driving under the influence of ANYTHING. If it impairs your driving and risks the safety of others while you're behind the wheel, you can be charged . This includes:

  • Alcohol
  • Legal prescription drugs
  • Street drugs
  • A combination of the three

Police can charge you with DUI if you have medication in your blood and have had just one alcoholic drink. The combination of legal prescription drugs mixed with alcohol could affect your driving, putting others at risk including yourself

If your blood alcohol level was below .05, they can convict you. Or they can if a prosecutor can prove that the combination of the two substances impaired your driving.

Compare quotes and find out how much you could save on your car insurance after a DUI or DWI.

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