Is it possible to get car insurance following a drunk driving conviction?
A DUI isn’t the end of your time on the road, but it does mean it can be more difficult to find affordable car insurance. The bad news is that you can typically expect to pay higher premiums or an additional excess, but the good news is that not all insurers assess convicted drivers the same way.
In fact, a 2016 investigation by NewsCorp has shown that one of Australia’s largest insurance providers does not place any significant premium increases on people convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, while other insurers will not even offer cover, or will only do so at a considerably higher price.
Car insurance premiums will often go up over time, and can even be raised considerably by making a no-fault claim. As such, one of the main ways to find cost-effective car insurance is by shopping around. Returning drivers with DUIs can do the same, and shop around for a policy that has the right cover at an affordable price, and fewer burdens for past offenses.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and getting multiple quotes from different insurers can help you see where you stand.
Which insurers will cover you after drunk driving offenses
Whether an insurance provider will cover you after returning from a suspended licence depends largely on its risk assessment style. In other words, different insurers will look at different factors when determining premiums. For example, some might impose an additional excess, or raised premiums, on any driver with a previous DUI conviction while another might raise costs based on how long your licence was suspended, or not offer cover until enough time has elapsed since your licence suspension.
Compare insurances from these providers
The penalties for drink driving vary between states, which can also interact with car insurance prices in different ways depending on the situation. For example, depending on whether or not it’s the first offense, which state you’re driving in and the situation at the time, driving with a BAC of 0.05 to 0.08 may only lead to a suspended licence in some situations. Other factors considered may include:
- Number of points left on your licence
- Whether your licence was cancelled, or the length of suspension
- If it was your first offense
- Whether there were other charges, such as reckless driving, speeding or criminal charges
- If you also tested positive for other drugs
- Whether you refused or accepted the breathalyzer or drug test
- How long ago it happened
Insurers set premiums based on factors that are statistically known to affect the likelihood of claims, which is generally a reflection of actual risk while driving. The exact factors they consider, and how they work them into the prices, vary between companies.
This risk assessment is largely completed by the underwriter, meaning you may find similar pricing and restrictions among insurers with the same underwriter. For example, IAG is an underwriter with a risk style that doesn’t necessarily rule out drivers with previous convictions, underwriting brands including NRMA, RACV, SGIC and SGIO. By contrast, Allianz has confirmed that their risk assessment doesn’t leave a lot of room for drivers with previous suspensions for drink driving or speeding and may refuse to cover people with recent drink-driving convictions.
Did you know?
Why drunk driving is different from other violationsAll states are conducting their own extensive research into the effect of alcohol on driving, and insurers have an undeniable wealth of evidence showing that drunk drivers are more likely to die on the roads. As such, DUIs may be specifically factored in as reasons for increasing the cost of your policy, on top of demerit points, suspensions or other factors.
How to find the right policy
There are a number of steps you can take to increase your chances of getting cover in place if you have been convicted of drink driving.
- Using discounts to reduce costs. When looking at policies, you might want to factor in discounts you are eligible for when comparing costs.
- Your options may increase. Even if your car insurance options are limited right now, you might be able to get lower premiums, or a wider variety of options, after some time has passed. You are able to switch car insurance at a later date, and might be able to get lower premiums when you have some more “clean driving history” under your belt. This is completely dependent on the insurer so you will need to speak with each when applying.
- Finding a policy. If the cost of comprehensive car insurance policies isn’t right for your situation, you might consider a third-party coverage policy that includes important third party property damage cover.