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, but the good news is that not all insurers assess convicted drivers the same way.
While some insurance providers don’t place any significant premium increases on people convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, other insurers will not even offer coverage, 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. Drivers with DUIs can do the same, and shop around for a policy that has the right coverage 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 a drunk driving offense?
Whether an insurance provider will cover you after returning from a suspended license 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 higher premiums on any driver with a previous DUI conviction, while another might raise costs based on how long your license was suspended, or not offer coverage until enough time has elapsed since your license suspension.
If you are unable to get insurance through a traditional provider, you might have better luck with an insurer that specializes in insuring high-risk drivers.
Compare insurances from these providers
How to compare rates after a DUI
The penalties for drunk driving vary between states, which can also interact with car insurance prices in different ways depending on the situation. For example, depending on whether 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 license in some situations. Other factors considered may include:
- Number of points left on your license
- Whether your license was revoked, or the length of suspension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.
How much will my insurance go up after a DUI?
While estimates vary based on your state previous convictions, most drivers can expect their rates to go up by about 50%.
Average insurance rate increase after a DUI
How much does a DUI cost?
Your insurance premiums going up are the least of your worries after a DUI conviction.
Take a look at what happens to a Tennessee driver after a DUI. The Tennessee DMV claims you’ll pay at least $5,000 for a DUI. After calculating the initial fine, which can run $350 to $3,000 depending on the number of DUI convictions, then you add in additional fines, car insurance rate increases, driver training and court costs. You’ll also lose income and possibly your job from jail time, which could be as little as two days up to five months or more depending on the number of convictions.
|License reinstatement fee||$300|
|Insurance premium increase||$2,000|
|Alcohol education program||$300|
|TOTAL||$5,650 – $8,650|
How to find the right policy
There are a number of steps you can take to increase your chances of getting coverage if you have been convicted of drunk 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 coverage.
What is an SR-22 and why do I have to file one?
An SR-22 or FR-44 is a document that your insurance company files with your state as proof that you carry an active policy meeting minimum liability requirements. In other words, it’s your official proof of insurance to legally get back on the road.
Most providers charge a fee of $25 to $50 to file an SR-22 on your behalf. But the real cost of an SR-22 is the impact it has on your car insurance premiums. After a serious driving violation, you’re considered a “high risk” driver, which means you could be looking at thousands of dollars more on your premium for as long as you need an SR-22 or FR-44.
How long will the DUI affect me?
There are many ways in which a DUI will impact you. You could lose your license; you could go to jail. And it will almost certainly cause your insurance rates to rise.
Some providers set their own time limits for how long a DUI will affect your premiums. In general, you can expect increased premiums for 3-7 years. But the length of time an offense stays on your driving record depends on your state’s laws. In California, a DUI stays on your driving record for 10 years, but in Florida it’s 75 years.
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, it’s sure to impact your car insurance. Your insurer might drop you or raise your rates. But no matter the outcome, there are providers out there that will insure you. Compare your options to find the best one for your situation.