Drinking and driving is a serious offense, and possibly has the most profound effect on your driving record, and in turn, your auto insurance rates. You will not only have your license suspended and have to pay insanely large fines and legal fees. A DUI/DWI will have many longer-lasting effects on your life.
Auto insurance companies handle these situations in one of two ways; your rates will sore or your policy will be canceled altogether. A DUI/DWI instantly puts you in the high-risk driver category. Why they do this should be obvious. Not only do you put yourself and your car in grave danger, but you’re also putting everyone else on the road in danger. Alcohol-related accidents, on average, cause more damage than any other accident. This simple fact is the reason why your premiums will shoot up. After one DUI, your potential cost to the company is far higher, and this is reflected in your new rates.
What Happens To Your Insurance After A DUI
A single DUI will significantly affect your car insurance rates. There are no exceptions to this rule. There’s no “accident forgiveness” for a DUI or DWI. If you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence, then your insurance prices will jump anywhere from 30% to 100%. Obviously, in the eyes of your insurance company, you’ve demonstrated that you’re a greater risk than someone who has never been caught driving under the influence.
Typically, a DUI will affect car insurance prices for 3 to 7 years. The DUI will always be on your record. It will never go away. However, your car insurance company might ignore that DUI after a 3 or 7 year period. When you apply for car insurance quotes – say, when comparing quotes online – the application may ask something like, “Have you been convicted of driving under the influence (DWI/DUI) in the last 5 years?”
Not all insurance companies treat DUIs as strictly as others. Many people are surprised to find that their car insurance only jumps by, say, $20 per month after a DUI. With other insurance companies, your premiums can double. That’s why you may want to shop around for car insurance after your DUI conviction.
Financial Responsibility Forms After A DUI
After being cited for a DWI/DUI, you will most likely have to fill out what they call an “SR-22 form” (It might be known by other names in other states – in Florida and Virginia, it’s the FR-44. In North Carolina, it’s the FS-1. In Indiana, it’s the SR-50.). The SR-22 is what’s known as a certificate of financial responsibility (CFR). It’s basically the state’s way of letting the DMV know that you are a high-risk driver. Most states require drivers to submit this form to their local motor vehicle department after being convicted of a DWI/DUI.
If your state informs you that you need to fill out an SR-22 or an FR-44 form before getting insurance, please first contact your insurance company. Your insurer will let you know which steps you need to take to file this document and get your insurance reinstated. Typically this document costs around $25 to file, and your insurer can do the paperwork for you. Be forewarned, however, when you require an SR-22 or FR-44, you can expect to start paying a lot more for insurance. How much more depends on the state you are located in and your coverage amounts, but it’s certainly not cheap.
Being convicted of a DUI not only will negatively impact your auto insurance rates, but it can also be quite expensive for other reasons. Apart from the obvious insurance bump, below we listed some other expenses you might be looking at.
Additional Expenses Resulting From DUI
- Towing Fee: $300 – $1,200
- Bail-out Fee: $250 – $2,500
- Fines and Court Fees: $500 – $2,500
- Attorney Fees (average): $2,500-$5,000
- Mandatory Education and Treatment: $350 – $2,000
- Electronic Home Monitoring (extreme cases): $150 – $2,250
- Ignition Lock (extreme cases): $730 – $2,800
The Cheapest and Best Insurance Companies for Drivers With DWIs
As mentioned above, certain car insurance companies treat DUIs and DWIs more strictly than others. In the eyes of some car insurance companies, your DUI means you should pay twice as much for car insurance. In the eyes of other car insurance companies, your rates might rise just 20% to 30%.
Certain car insurance companies are known for being better for drivers with DUIs. With every insurance company, your car insurance premiums are going to increase significantly after a DUI. With some insurance companies, however, your rates might increase by just 15%.
A study by WalletHub on DUI insurance, for example, found that some insurance companies raise rates by 30% or less after your first DUI infraction:
- State Farm: 16% increase after your first DUI
- Progressive: 25% increase after your first DUI
- Farmers: 28% increase after your first DUI
- Allstate: 37% increase after your first DUI
- GEICO: 47% increase after your first DUI
Your quotes will vary widely depending on where you live. Drivers in certain states will be punished particularly harshly for a DUI, regardless of which insurance company they use. In states like California, for example, insurance companies can only use three things to calculate premiums, and driving history is one of those things. That’s why getting a DUI in California can lead to a significant increase in car insurance prices.
Nevertheless, State Farm and Progressive seem to be consistently good car insurance companies for drivers convicted of a DUI based on our research. Progressive and State Farm consistently had some of the lowest car insurance premiums for drivers across the country after a first DUI offense.
What about after a second or third DUI offense? After your second or third DUI/DWI, all bets are off. You will pay consistently high car insurance premiums at all insurance companies. Yes, you should still shop around – but don’t expect to get a great deal anywhere.
Remember: DUIs can drop off your record as soon as 3 years after the incident. Be patient, drive safe, and car insurance premiums will drop in the long run.
Preventing Your Insurer From Finding Out About Your DUI
Although they will probably find out about it (from law records, SR-22 form, etc.), there are many ways to prevent your auto insurance company from finding out about a DUI offense. Essentially, if you are able to prevent the DUI from showing on your driving record through plea bargains, or fulfilling conditions set by the judge, then you better do it. The faster you are able to get these charges off your record, the better chance you have of not getting terminated by your insurance company. (Though as much as it may hurt to do so, we don’t recommend you withhold information from your auto insurance company.)
If you do get dropped by your auto insurance company (they often do this in cases of DUI’s), chances are that other companies in the same tier or higher tiers, won’t want to insure you either. This may mean you have to go to a less well-known company. And it’s unlikely that these insurance companies will overlook your DUI/DWI. You’re likely to pay just as much in your premiums, if not more, with these lower-tier insurance companies.
Avoiding Expensive Auto Insurance Rate Hikes
The best way to keep your rates low is to not drink and drive to begin with. Read our article here on 4autoinsurancequote.com about alternatives to driving while under the influence. DUI/DWI’s have an immense impact on your life. It can cost you a tremendous amount of money (or worse). Many people don’t quite understand the impact of a DUI until it happens to them. Be responsible and don’t put your life, or the lives of others at risk.
If it is already too late, and you have already been charged and found guilty of driving under the influence, it’s not the end of the world. There are many ways you can still get affordable auto insurance rates. The best way is to compare auto insurance quotes. To do so, scroll back up to the top of this page and enter your zip code to begin. After filling out our brief form, you will be presented with rates from the top auto insurance companies (who aren’t afraid to insure customers with a spot or two on their driving records).