How a DUI Affects Your Insurance, and What You Can Do About It

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A variety of factors determine how a DUI affects your car insurance premiums. Depending on the driver’s age, location, and the number of offenses, premiums can increase by as much as 300%. After a DUI, your driving privileges may be revoked, you may have to file an SR-22, and the insurance company may even cancel your coverage. However, not all hope is lost. Drivers convicted of a DUI can still work towards reducing their insurance premiums and take steps to minimize the inconveniences.

How a DUI Affects Your Auto Insurance

A DUI offense in any state always carries consequences. However, depending on the severity of the charges, your driving record before the conviction, and where you live, the penalty from the insurance company could vary. For drivers with multiple offenses, the consequences could be devastating to your ability to drive. First-time convictions may only result in minor penalties.

Most of the time, drivers with a DUI offense will have to deal with one or more of the following consequences.

  • Higher premiums – After a DUI, an insurance company will usually raise your rates before canceling your policy. As a result, monthly premiums can increase up to three times the price.
  • High-risk driver classification – Having a DUI will almost always classify a driver as high-risk. Depending on the insurance carrier, they may not cover high-risk drivers, and you will be left shopping around with a tarnished record.
  • Policy cancellation – In some instances, an insurance company may decide to cancel your coverage. If you’ve had prior convictions or a bad-driving record, your carrier may no longer wish to insure Depending on your state of residence, the insurance provider may or may not be able to cancel your policy before the end of the term.

It’s important to remember that a DUI is not the only factor that determines your insurance rate. Those with a strong credit score will still have lower rates than drivers with poor credit scores. For those with clean driving records before the DUI conviction, the consequences will be less severe than for those with an abundance of speeding tickets or a history of reckless driving. Rates vary considerably between insurance providers, so it’s highly recommended to compare prices.

What You Can Do About It

Facing these consequences may seem like a devastating blow, but there are plenty of steps drivers can take to reduce their premiums and reverse the negative impacts of the DUI. While such a conviction is permanently on your driving record, it will only affect your insurance rates for 3-7 years. Depending on your state, insurance carrier, and severity of the offense, a DUI can stop affecting your insurance premiums in as little as just three years.

During the first year after a DUI conviction, drivers can pay up to three times as much for coverage. After the first year, premiums start to decrease, assuming you maintain a clean driving record. After five to seven years, a driver’s insurance rates usually return to normal. In the meantime, there are a few steps convicted drivers can take to reduce their premiums and improve their standing with the insurance company.

  • Take a defensive driving course – Participating in one of these courses could knock a few percentage points off your insurance premiums.
  • Compare rates – Premiums for drivers with a DUI conviction can increase anywhere from 12% to 321%. Shopping around for a good price is one of the smart ways to save money.
  • Consider non-owner SR-22 insurance – This type of coverage allows drivers with DUI convictions to maintain continuous coverage, which is vital for keeping future premiums low. Non-owner SR-22 insurance provides standard liability coverage to those with limited access to a vehicle they do not own.
  • Build up your credit score – Anything drivers can do to improve their credit rating will help lower insurance premiums after a DUI. For example, getting a new job, paying off a credit card, or repaying your mortgage can have beneficial effects on your car insurance rates.

Drivers with a DUI should avoid driving without insurance at all costs. Further convictions will only cause your insurance premiums to climb and penalties to become more severe. The smart thing you can do to restore your driving record is to avoid further incidents.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the consequences for a DUI in your state, receiving one can lead you down a long, expensive, and inconvenient journey. However, you don’t have to wait idly by until your premiums return to normal. By taking the initiative and completing steps to lower your car insurance rates, you can save money in the short-term as well as the long run. Remember that the way to improve your situation after a DUI conviction is to avoid further offenses.

To learn more about how a DUI affects your insurance, contact  our team at Protective Agency at (877) 739-9367. Our licensed insurance agents will be happy to answer any questions you have.