The Cost of Auto Insurance After a DUI

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to avoid getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. Friends and family are just a text away. Apps including Lyft and Uber can have a ride available within minutes. And of course, there is the old standby, the taxi.

Impaired drivers unknowingly turn a relatively safe automobile into a weapon. Over 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired accidents in 2015 according to the Center for Disease Control. This statistic alone should be reason enough not to drink and drive.

Unfortunately, poor decisions will still be made. Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) may result in potential fines, driving restrictions, and potential lawsuits if there was damage or injury. Each can have severe financial consequences.

Once the driver is legally allowed to drive again, a new financial hurdle appears. Drivers arrested for a DUI will see their insurance rise significantly. How much depends on a number of factors.


The Impact on Insurance Premiums


The potential increase in insurance premiums after receiving a DUI can be staggering. On average nationwide, the average premium doubles. For some perspective, if your monthly auto premium is $100, expect to pay a whopping $1,200 in additional premium.

The actual premium increase depends primarily on your state of residence. Western states typically see first-year premium increases of 50%. States along the east coast see premiums approach and exceed twice the normal rate. The most expensive states for those with a DUI are:

  • North Carolina – 409% increase
  • Hawaii – 315% increase
  • Ohio – 243% increase
  • Vermont – 280% increase
  • New Hampshire – 230% increase

Drivers convicted of a DUI are a much higher risk to insurance companies. Even if your insurer wasn’t involved in a claim related to a DUI, the mere fact a driver was convicted is seen as a potential future claim waiting to happen. As time marches forward without any additional points against your driver’s license, your premium will slowly begin to fall. But anticipate paying inflated premiums for three to seven years.


Ways to Reduce the Impact


Waiting three to five years is a long time before your pocketbook feels any relief. However, there are ways you can mitigate some of the additional premium you can expect to pay. One of the easiest ways is to carefully your policy’s coverages.

  • Deductible – Increasing your deductible will provide some credits. Just make sure you’re financially able to cover the increased exposure to your emergency fund.
  • Collision & OTC (other-than-collision) – Determine if the cost to carry these coverages is worth the amount of actual cash value you’d receive for your car. If not, there can be substantial savings in dropping these coverages.
  • Drop Increase or Additional Coverage – Having a good health insurance plan may warrant dropping any increased personal injury protection (PIP) you have. Also, look for additional coverages such as rental reimbursement or road-side assistance that you may want to drop and add back later when your premiums return to more normal levels.

In addition to reviewing policy coverages, checking for any available discounts can uncover additional savings. There are a wide variety of discounts you should ask for from your insurance agent. If they apply to you, seek premium savings for:

  • Being married
  • New home purchase
  • Adding or removing a driver
  • Purchasing or selling a car
  • Moving
  • Multiple policies
  • Retiree status
  • Loyalty discount

Applying just one of these discounts could reduce your premium by 5% or more. When your premium doubles as a result of a DUI, a once seemingly minor discount now becomes much more significant.


Shop Your Insurance


Lastly, consider shopping your insurance. Even in situations where you may have been with the same insurer for years, the market for drivers with a DUI may make switching insurance companies a good option. Just as there are insurers who severely penalize DUI convictions, others have more experience in rating for the exposure and want to compete for your business.

To learn more about DUI insurance solutions for you and your family, or additional insurance options, contact our team at or call (877) 739-9367. Our licensed insurance agents will be happy to answer any questions you have.