Insurers penalize drivers convicted of DUI with much higher rates. These rate increases are the steepest for younger drivers, who are the riskiest to insure because of inexperience and perceived recklessness. ValuePenguin discovered that underage drivers — those ages 16, 18 and 20 — pay an average of $5,665 more after a DUI than 30-year-olds with the same record.
The cost of car insurance is highest for 16-year-olds — and so are the penalties for drunken driving. On top of facing a license suspension, fines and even a stint in jail, rates will substantially increase after a violation. Even the best 16-year-old drivers pay 73% more for car insurance than those just four years older. But 16-year-olds with a DUI see average penalties 44% higher than a 20-year-old with the same record.
- The younger the driver, the higher the insurance rate increase after a DUI conviction. 16-year-old drivers with a DUI on their record see car insurance rates increase $3,968 a year on average, while premiums increase $1,809 a year on average for 30-year-old drivers with a DUI.
- Because premiums are already more expensive for younger drivers, their rates go up by a smaller percentage than those of older drivers after a DUI. The average increase for 16-year-old drivers with a DUI is 48% of the initial premium, compared with 76% for a 30-year-old.
- The worst state for underage drinking and driving is Hawaii, followed by North Carolina, Michigan, California and Indiana. The restrictions on rate-setting in Hawaii and California contribute to high increases after DUIs.
- Penalties for underage drinking and driving are least severe in Nebraska, followed by Maryland, Alaska, Florida and Ohio. In these states, the average increase after a DUI for underage drivers is just 25% — and just 19% in Nebraska.
16-year-old drivers who are convicted of DUI cost thousands of dollars more to insure than other underage policyholders
Insurance rates are already much higher than average for 16-year-olds with clean driving records. One DUI adds $3,968 a year, on average, to the cost of insuring a 16-year-old driver — raising rates to $12,175 on average across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The penalties given by insurers to 16-year-olds with one DUI are 44% greater than those imposed on 20-year-olds.
Although 16-year-olds face the highest gross increase to the cost of car insurance after a DUI, the increase to their cost of coverage after being convicted of a DUI is proportionally lower than that of other underage drivers. Car insurance rates for 18-year-olds go up by 50% on average after a DUI, while insurers charge 20-year-olds 58% more on average after one conviction.
Sixteen-year-olds pay 191% more for car insurance than a typical 30-year-old does after a DUI. However, older drivers are even more adversely affected by higher car insurance rates after a DUI, as their new charges represent a greater share of their previous premium. The cost of coverage for 30-year-olds increases by an average of 76% after a conviction.
Thirty-year-olds face higher proportional surcharges after a DUI than underage drivers do collectively. Premiums after a conviction increase by an average of 51% for drivers ages 16, 18 and 20. While the total increase amounts to an average difference in premiums of $5,665 for underage drivers compared to 30-year-old drivers, the surcharge that underage violators face is only $1,519 more a year than that of their older counterparts.
The states with the harshest and most lenient penalties for underage drivers with a DUI
DUIs are the costliest in Hawaii. The cost to insure underage and 30-year-old drivers increases by 214% on average after just one violation. Hawaii is the only state where the cost of underage insurance coverage after a DUI increases by at least 200%, but there are three other states where the average surcharge totals more than 100%: North Carolina, Michigan and California. Rate hikes for underage drivers with DUIs in these four states average 164%.
Hawaii's insurers levy the most expensive penalties for DUIs on average, but North Carolina is expensive for 20-year-olds. Increases in North Carolina after a DUI amount to 256% of 20-year-olds' average premiums.
The most lenient states for underage drivers with a DUI are Nebraska, Maryland, Alaska, Florida and Ohio. In these states, rates only go up by one quarter after a conviction. Moreover, all three of researchers' sample underage drivers were likely to find the cheapest rates in Alaska, but it’s a different story for 30-year-olds.
Increase for 30-year-old
States ordered by underage increase, which includes 16-, 18- and 20-year-old drivers; the average increase includes those three ages plus 30-year-olds.
Older drivers are more likely to see the lowest rate increase in Florida (27% for 30-year-olds). Again, rate increases are proportionally higher for older drivers in the state — for reference, 16-, 18- and 20-year-olds experience price hikes equalling 20% and 19% (for both 18- and 20-year-olds) at their lowest points, respectively. At the same time, increases are even higher in the states with the strictest penalties. In North Carolina, 30-year-olds with a DUI are charged 296% more on average after a conviction.
How insurance companies set rates: In most cases, insurers use policyholders' driving records to set their premiums. However, nondriving factors — such as age, credit score, address, homeownership, employment status and more — can be used, too. In some states, like Hawaii and California, rates may only be determined by a narrow range of factors, which could contribute to higher-than-average surcharges after a DUI conviction.
How to get cheap car insurance when there’s a DUI on your record
Drivers with a DUI will see higher-than-average costs for car insurance, but they can take small steps to reduce rates over a long period.
No matter the age, receiving a DUI has lasting consequences. Since insurers view those convicted as riskier to cover, the cost of coverage will be inflated for years. Drivers in some states who are categorized as high risk may have to carry an SR-22 form to show proof of insurance. Drivers may also find it difficult to find coverage — let alone cheap car insurance — after a DUI.
The most effective way to find cheap auto insurance after a DUI conviction is to compare car insurance companies for discounts as well as premiums. Some insurers offer discounts if policyholders complete safety courses. Additionally, drivers could find different opportunities for lower rates according to their profession, living situation and the amount of time they spend driving.
Consumers looking for low rates should keep in mind the importance of good service. While some of the cheapest companies for high-risk drivers exchange low rates for bad customer service, having a DUI doesn't necessarily doom drivers to poor service. Some of the best insurance providers have comparatively affordable coverage options for drivers with a DUI.
ValuePenguin compared the cost of full coverage car insurance in each state and the District of Columbia for sample drivers of a 2015 Honda Civic EX. Researchers adjusted the driver’s age to 16, 18, 20 and 30 to determine the effect a single DUI conviction can have on the cost of car insurance coverage.
ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.