When most people talk about the consequences of a DUI conviction, they rarely mention its impact on your car insurance policy. Rather, they focus on the legal fees and their possible loss of driving privileges. Without a doubt, the legal fees and pending fine and jail time can be expensive and even a bit scary. Losing driving privileges can be even worse. After all, who wants to rely on a friend, family member, or cab driver to go anywhere?
Now is the time to start comparing insurers to be on the safe side. Recently, AutoInsureSavings.org reviewed some comparison sites and insurers to help drivers save. Any of the sites, including this one, will do fine to help you save.
Legal Fees and Fines are Pocket Change Compared to What You’ll Pay for Car Insurance with DUI Rates
As bad as the legal fees and loss of driving privileges are, they pale in comparison to the high costs of car insurance following a DUI. With just one DUI conviction, you’ll be subjected to the much higher DUI rates for car insurance. You could be stuck paying $1500 or more extra on your car insurance premium each year that the offense stays on your record. And that’s if you’re lucky.
If your driving record prior to the DUI wasn’t squeaky clean, you may find yourself being cut off and left to dry by your current auto insurance provider. That’s right – a few accidents, driving infractions, and a DUI will put you in the category of being way too risky to insure. Your car insurance provider will want nothing to do with you, and they’ll cancel your policy.
Other auto insurance providers will see both the DUI conviction, and the car insurance cancellation, and then either decline to offer you a policy, or make you pay ridiculously high rates. And you thought $1500 more per year was bad!
The good news is that it typically takes insurance companies as long as 12 months after your DUI conviction to review your records and either bump your rates or cancel your insurance policy. The bad news is that the DUI charge will stay on your record for up to 5 to 10 years depending on the state.
Is there any way to reduce the amount my car insurance will increase after a DUI conviction?
Now that you know that your car insurance rates will soar after a DUI conviction, you’re probably asking yourself one question: “what can I do to bring my car insurance rates back down?”
If you’re a repeat offender, then there’s not much you can do about it. You’ve slipped up one too many times, and now you have to pay for it. However, if this is your first DUI conviction, then you may be in luck.
Believe it or not, there have been many instances where a person convicted of a DUI experienced only the slightest of increases in their auto insurance rates. So, what can you do to keep your car insurance rates down following a DUI?
Your Prior Driving Record Matters
Well, for starters, it’s important that you have a clean accident and infraction record. The cleaner your record, the greater leniency an insurance company is likely to offer when it comes to hitting you with their costlier DUI rates. Your squeaky clean record is a strong indicator that you DUI conviction may have been the exception rather than the norm. You’ll still pay a higher auto insurance rate, but the increase won’t be nearly as bad as it could be.
The More Policies the Merrier
If you have more than one policy with your auto insurance provider, you’re likely receiving a discount. That discount will help offset any rate increase you may experience following the DUI conviction. Other possible policies that you may hold include home insurance, rental insurance or even motorcycle insurance.
If you have another insurance policy besides auto insurance, contact your insurance provider to see about merging the two to get a discounted rate.
Increase Your Deductible
One of the easiest ways to reduce your insurance rates, whether you have a DUI conviction or not, is to increase your deductible. By making that change and adjusting other limits on your car insurance policy, you’ll be able to significantly reduce the increase in your rates after being convicted on a DUI charge.
Be careful not to increase your deductible to an amount that you wouldn’t be able to afford should you get into an accident, as they could wind up setting you back even further. If you are considering increasing the deductible amount, you should calculate how much you could realistically pay, and make that your limit.
The very best way to limit the increase in your auto insurance rates after a DUI is to be proactive in seeking out methods to save.
Most insurance providers will offer you discounts if you take classes that promote safe driving. An example of one of these classes is Defensive Driving. Although the class may ruin your Saturday, it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your car insurance rates low after a DUI charge.
A Defensive Driving class isn’t the only way to save on your auto insurance rates following a DUI. You should be comparing auto insurance quotes at least once each year to find out if you can get a cheaper rate with a different provider. Some insurance policies may be more forgiving than others, particularly with respect to one’s first DUI offense.