How Does a DUI Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates?

How Does a DUI Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates?

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Getting a DUI will raise your car insurance rates in almost every situation, often significantly. You could end up paying twice as much for coverage, often more — on average, we found a single DUI raised car insurance rates by 72%.

A drunken driving citation can affect your premiums for several years, up to five in some states. Whether the charge is DUI, DWI or DWAI, you will often have to get an SR-22 form from an insurer to regain your driving privileges.

Rates go up because a driver convicted of driving under the influence typically poses a greater risk. Your insurer will find out about your situation through your state's department of motor vehicles (DMV) and your driving record, so we advise you to get out ahead of things and alert your auto insurance company.

How much can a DUI raise your car insurance rates?

On average, a DUI increases the price of full coverage car insurance by $1,657 per year, according to our rate analysis. That's 72% more per year. In five states, a single DUI more than doubled the price of car insurance, and in North Carolina, a drunk driving conviction quadrupled it.

We also took a closer look at three states — New York, Georgia and Illinois — to see how different major companies raised rates after a driver's DUI.

This graph lists insurance rates with and without DUIs for five major insurers

Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes after a DUI

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Company
Cost increase after speeding ticket
Percentage increase
State Farm$24610%
Geico$3,108147%
Progressive$30113%
Allstate$1,63844%
USAA$66143%
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Rates increased between 42% and 62% in the three states. State Farm's rates only increased $246 per year for an annual policy, while Geico's rose $3,108.

Where a DUI will raise insurance costs the most

The difference in car insurance cost following a drunken driving conviction varies widely by state. In Pennsylvania, insurance for an adult with full coverage only goes up $625 on average after a DUI. In Michigan, that average is more than $7,000.

We compiled the state-by-state statistics to show how much a DUI can affect your rates.

State
Annual policy cost
With DUI
Difference
Michigan$4,356$14,214$9,859
North Carolina$1,506$6,020$4,514
Rhode Island$3,589$7,550$3,961
Hawaii$1,763$5,652$3,889
California$1,817$5,153$3,336
Connecticut$2,753$5,553$2,801
Kentucky$2,907$4,874$1,968
Texas$2,653$4,565$1,912
Nevada$3,061$4,897$1,836
West Virginia$2,106$3,795$1,688
New Jersey$2,809$4,488$1,679
New Hampshire$2,016$3,687$1,671
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Other factors that influence your auto insurance after a DUI

A wide range of factors will affect your rates after a DUI, also called DWI or DWAI in some states. Location plays a big part, as do age, gender, the company providing your insurance policy and how recently you were convicted.

Age: Car insurance companies generally see younger drivers as riskier to insure, so age plays a big role in how much your premium increases following a conviction. Insurance for an 18-year-old who has been convicted of driving under the influence within the past 12 months would cost an average of more than two and a half times as much as the cost for a 30-year-old with the same history in Georgia, New York and Illinois.

Insurance rates increase nearly three times as much for young drivers following a DUI conviction as they do for older drivers.

Time: Rates are also influenced by the amount of time that's passed since your most recent DUI conviction. Insurance companies generally focus on the past three to five years to judge your driving record and calculate your DUI insurance quote. Geico requires a minimum of 35 months' worth of clean driving before you qualify for normal, cheaper rates following a DUI.

Number of DUIs: Finally, an important factor is the number of DUIs a driver has had in the past three years. A 30-year-old with four DUIs can expect full coverage premiums to be 285% more expensive than premiums for someone with one DUI based on our three-state sample.

Companies: Every insurance carrier has a different formula for setting rates, so we recommend comparing at least three quotes to help ensure you get the cheapest car insurance rates after a DUI. Our quote samples showed that different insurance companies count DUIs more heavily than others.

In our survey, State Farm didn't increase car insurance rates as much as Allstate and Geico did following a DUI conviction.

Rate increases are partly based on your driving history, so the cheapest insurer after a DUI may not be the same for every driver.

How do insurance companies find out about a DUI?

Your insurance company might find out about your DUI conviction when it's time to renew your policy. Insurers typically check your driving record at this time, and the record will show recent DUI convictions. Not telling your insurance company about a DUI will not prevent rate increases, and your insurer may drop your policy entirely.

The best thing you can do is be honest with your insurance company because you may need to ask it to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form on your behalf. These forms prove you have the state's minimum liability car insurance, which is required if you want to keep or reinstate your driving privileges.

In 43 states, you're required to get an SR-22 or FR-44 form to maintain car insurance following major traffic incidents.

When you ask your insurer to file the SR-22 or FR-44 form, you will need to pay a fee ranging from $15 to $50. You may need to keep the form on file for three to five years, depending on your state. Some insurance companies won't file these for you — and if you have a long record of traffic violations, your insurer may terminate your policy altogether.

How long does a DUI stay on your insurance?

A DUI most often affects your insurance for between three and five years following a conviction. A drunken driving infraction can stay on your driving record for five to 10 years, and in some cases longer, but likely won't impact your rates for that long.

For example, Geico won't let drivers qualify for their lowest rates for 35 months after a violation, including a DUI You may need to keep an SR-22 form on file for three to five years.

Three years after the DUI, your rates in many cases will return to their normal levels, depending on your insurer. We suggest contacting your insurance provider after those three years to reassess rates.

Methodology

Rates were based on ZIP codes in Illinois, New York and Georgia. A 30-year-old man with a 2015 Honda Civic was used as a sample driver. The driver had a clean driving record outside the specified infractions.

The coverage limits in the study were set as follows:

Coverage type
Limits
Bodily injury liability$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Property damage liability$25,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Comprehensive and collision$500 deductible
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The state-by-state rates are from a ValuePenguin data set that includes every ZIP code nationally.

Quadrant Information Services was used to compile the insurance rate data for the analysis. The data is publicly sourced from insurer filings. Rates should be used for comparative purposes only, as your quote may be different.

Ben Breiner is a senior writer at ValuePenguin specializing in auto insurance. He spent ten years in newspapers and has a degree in economics and journalism from the University of Wisconsin.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.