The dangers and repercussions of drunken driving are well-known, nonetheless, people continue to drink and drive. Those who are fortunate enough to survive the ordeal with only a DUI conviction may need insurance in the future. However, in the eyes of insurance companies, these drivers will require higher premiums because they pose a greater risk. There is no such thing as DUI insurance, but below, we explore how your quotes for auto insurance will be affected by a past conviction of driving while intoxicated.
How Much a DUI Can Raise Your Car Insurance Rates
How much does auto insurance cost after a DUI? To determine the impact of a drunk driving conviction on rates, we took a look at sample quotes for a driver living in New York City, Atlanta, and Roselle, Illinois, before and after a DUI. We used the profile of a 30-year-old single man who drives a 2014 Toyota Corolla as a benchmark. Below, check out the graphs for our sample driver's rates in New York City. Premiums in New York City are already expensive, but they can increase on average by $1,098 with a single DUI conviction, based on our motorist's experience.
Roselle, a small Chicago suburb, represents a random sample in exploring this trend. Nonetheless, our findings were consistent between New York City and Roselle. Although rates were overall cheaper than in the Big Apple, they rose by a similar percentage for our driver—44% in Roselle to 36% in New York City. In both cities, the price increase varied significantly by insurer. In Illinois, State Farm's auto insurance rates increased just 28% after a DUI, while Nationwide's rates increased by 86%.
Atlanta (which is not graphed here) also showed a consistent trend. Rates increased by 31%—meaning where you live could largely influence how much a DUI affects your rates.
Other Factors That Influence Your Auto Insurance after a DUI
In our example, we used a 30-year-old man with a Toyota Corolla as our model profile, but there are several factors that could also impact your rate after driving under the influence. Where you live has a big effect on rates, but for more factors, we looked at how GEICO calculates car insurance rates in Utah as a benchmark.
Age: One key factor we found is age. Insurance for an 18-year-old who has been convicted of driving under the influence within the past 12 months would be 5% less affordable than coverage for a 30-year-old with the same history. In fact, for anyone under the age of 19, a single DUI within a year will be at least 5% costlier than for anyone older. The youngest of drivers will suffer the most in terms of insurance with a driving under the influence charge.
Time: Another factor is the time that has passed since a DUI. Insurance companies generally focus on the past three to five years to judge your driving record and calculate your DUI insurance quote. For DUI violations, GEICO requires a minimum 35 months' of clean driving before you qualify for normal cheaper rates following a DUI. And for someone who had a DUI four years ago, their underinsured motorist premium would cost 18% less than someone who had a DUI in the past 12 months.
Number of DUIs: Finally, the most 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 bodily injury coverage premiums to be 58% more expensive than someone with one DUI. According to GEICO, an 18-year-old in Utah with four or more DUIs within the past year could be paying rates that are 116% higher than an 18-year old with a clean driving record.
Companies: Different companies will have different rules for handling a drunk driving charge, so we recommend comparing at least three to five quotes to help ensure you get the cheapest car insurance rates after a DUI. Our quote samples showed that different insurance companies will count DUIs more heavily than others, as seen in the table below.
|Company||Without DUI||With DUI||Percentage Difference|
On average, State Farm's car insurance rate increase after a DUI was lower than Allstate's and Nationwide's, but this may not be the case depending on your driving history. Each insurer evaluates drivers differently, so the cheapest insurer for you after a DUI may not be the same for every driver.
How Do Insurance Companies Find Out About a DUI?
When you get a DUI, you're immediately considered a high-risk driver. The best thing you can do is be honest with your insurance company, as it may need to file either an SR-22 or FR-44 form on your behalf. These forms prove you have the state's required liability car insurance so you can keep or reinstate your driving privileges. In 43 states, you're required to get this form following major traffic incidents. If you do not have a history of risky driving, your insurer will be more likely to keep you as a customer and not cancel your policy. Conversely, if this is the latest in a string of incidents, your insurer may terminate your policy.
Even if you don't have to submit an SR-22 or FR-44, the DUI won't stay hidden forever. Insurers typically check your driving record when you renew coverage, and the record will show recent DUI convictions. If you've kept the DUI from your insurer, it may drop your policy entirely.
Your insurer will file the SR-22 or FR-44, but you will need to pay a fee, which can vary between $17 and $45. You may need the form for three to five years, depending on your state. While most companies file these forms, there are some that may not. If your insurer won't file one of these on your behalf, then you may need to find a new insurer that will file an SR-22 or FR-44.
A DUI is an expensive problem to address (aside from the cost of an SR-22). Depending on your age, the number of incidents on your record and time that's passed, your car insurance premiums may increase dramatically.
Comparing rates can get you cheaper car insurance, but in the end, driving responsibly will be the only way to get your rates back to normal. The best thing you can do is be honest with your insurance company, don't get another DUI and regularly compare quotes for your policy.