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Motorcycle insurance with a DUI

Expect steep insurance penalties for DUIs, but a driving course and other tips can help you save.

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With a DUI to your name, you probably can buy motorcycle insurance. However, your options may be limited to high-risk motorcycle insurers, and you may have to prove that you have insurance with your state. Because of your new high-risk status, expect to pay hundreds of dollars more per month for coverage.

How can I get motorcycle insurance with a DUI?

Motorcycle insurance is required in most states and generally a good idea in the rest. But after your DUI, you may need to file an SR-22 to regain your full driver’s license. Also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, the form confirms that you’re meeting the state’s insurance requirements.

You may be required to keep SR-22 insurance for three to five years, depending on your state. The biggest caution is to make sure you maintain SR-22 status. If you have a lapse in coverage, you’ll have to reapply for SR-22 insurance, and the timer starts over.

How do I file an SR-22 with my state?

If you need an SR-22 to get behind the wheel, you’ll be notified by a judge in court or your state’s DMV. Your insurance company usually files the SR-22 on your behalf, so you may have to switch to an insurer that specializes in high-risk riders.

What motorcycle insurance coverage do I need with a DUI?

It depends on the insurer. Some carriers will refuse to cover you, while others will make their full suite of coverage available to you.

As for what coverage you should get, make this decision based on your budget, as well as how much and where you ride your motorcycle. Options to consider:

  • Bodily injury liability. Legally required in most states, this covers the cost of injuries you cause to someone else in an accident or incident, such as healthcare.
  • Property damage liability. Another basic coverage, this takes care of the damage you cause to someone else’s property or vehicle.
  • Collision. This covers the damage to your bike if you’re involved in an accident.
  • Comprehensive. This pays for the damage to your bike caused by anything other than a collision, like falling objects, vandalism and natural disasters.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist. This coverage pays for damage caused by a driver with little to no insurance.
  • Loan or lease gap. This kicks in to cover the remainder of your loan or lease after a total loss.
  • Motorcycle equipment. An optional coverage, this pays to repair or replace customized equipment, such as saddlebags or extra chrome.

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How much is motorcycle insurance with a DUI?

There’s no way to get around it: a DUI will bump up your premium for at least three years. You can expect your rates to increase anywhere from 10% to 100%, though it depends on the provider and where you live.

In some states, you’ll pay the inflated premium for as long as the DUI is on your driving record — which can be up to 10 years. For context, the average insurance increase for a DUI is over $1,200 a year. That puts the average cost of insurance after a DUI at $2,500 per year.

How long will the DUI stay on my record?

It varies by state, but a DUI will typically remain on your driving record for seven to ten years — and your criminal record forever. Once the DUI drops off your driving record, your motorcycle insurance rates should go back to normal.

How to save on motorcycle insurance with a DUI

With a DUI to your name, your insurer has the right to hike up your rates for at least three years. But there are a few things you can do now that may cut down the costs of your motorcycle insurance:

  • Choose a lower level of coverage. For example, forgo collision and comprehensive coverage in favor of simple liability coverage.
  • Ditch the extra coverage. On that note, say no to coverage you don’t need to pay for, such as helmet coverage or glass coverage.
  • Ask around about discounts. Even with a DUI, you may qualify for discounts for things like paying your premium in full or bundling your home and motorcycle coverage.
  • Complete a sober driver program. The NHTSA is one of many providers around the country that offers drunk driver awareness courses. These programs are designed to educate drivers about the dangers of getting behind the wheel with alcohol in your system, and your insurer may have a list of approved courses that could lower your premium.
  • Invest in a breathalyzer. Also known as an alcohol ignition interlock, this device will stop your motorcycle from starting if your blood alcohol content is higher than zero. Your insurer may offer you a lower premium for fitting one onto your bike.
  • Park your bike in a secure garage. This decreases the likelihood of damage or theft, and may result in a lower premium.
  • Switch to a cheaper bike. Consider a model with a less powerful engine if you’re buying a new bike. Motorcycles with mightier engines are more expensive to insure.
    Case study
    Joe was riding his motorcycle along the main road near his home, when he ran a red light and hit a parked car. The police saw him speed through the red light, and pulled him over for a breath test. While the car wasn’t damaged and nobody was hurt, Joe blew a 0.06 and was charged with a DUI.
    When he renewed his motorcycle insurance a few months later, his insurer assessed his driving record and discovered the DUI conviction. Since Joe was now deemed a danger to other drivers on the road, the insurer had no choice but to raise his rate. Joe’s record had been spotless before the incident and he’d never made a claim, so the insurer took that into account.

    Do I have to report a DUI to my insurance company?

    Technically, no — but it’s always better to be forthcoming. When you renew your policy, your insurer will pull up your driving record and see the conviction. Most insurers will then raise your rates, while others will refuse to renew your policy.

    If you tell your insurer about the DUI, they’ll be able to walk you through your policy options — or let you know if it’s time to start looking elsewhere.

    As for your current car insurance policy, your rate is most likely locked in until your renewal date. This means the DUI won’t affect your policy as it stands.

    Bottom line

    A DUI will have a major impact on your motorcycle insurance. It might make it tricky to get coverage, and it will almost always leave you paying a much higher premium.

    But there are carriers that specialize in high-risk drivers, and you may be able to strategically cut down the cost of your insurance.

    To get the best possible rate, compare motorcycle insurance providers.

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