Getting a DUI is a very stressful experience for any driver. In addition to possible jail time for a driver under the influence conviction, especially if it isn’t the first offense, there are fines and lawyers to pay. There’s a loss of driving privileges, and then there’s the impact on your auto insurance rates.
The good news is that while a DUI will certainly complicate your life or that of a loved one, and it will prove costly in terms of raised auto insurance rates, the mistake can eventually be repaired. In time, your insurance premiums will go down as long as your driving record doesn’t contain additional serious charges.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at insurance after a DUI and when you might expect the financial damage to be repaired and a return to standard insurance rates.
What Is a DUI?
A DUI goes by other names in various jurisdictions. In the past, it was commonly called a DWI for “driving while intoxicated.” That was used when the most typical substance of abuse was alcohol. But now we know that a wider range of substances can be used that affect the ability to drive.
The charge might, in some jurisdictions, be called OVI for “operating a vehicle under the influence.” In some places, it’s called OWI, for “operating while ability impaired.” Another abbreviation in use is OMVI, for “operating a motor vehicle while impaired.”
A DUI is treated so seriously all over the United States because of the severity of the situation. Alcohol impairment was the cause of nearly 10,500 deaths in driving crashes in 2016. That’s about 29 deaths a day, or one death every 50 minutes, at the cost of more than $44 billion annually.
Auto insurance companies treat the problem as seriously as law enforcement. The result is that drivers with a DUI (or similar charge) see their insurance rates rise, often considerably.
How Much Does Insurance Go Up After a DUI?
A driver with a recent DUI is considered to be high risk. That’s because the perception is that the driver will continue to drive irresponsibly—whether true or not. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, nearly one-third of DUI arrests and convictions involve repeat offenders.
That perception that “all” drivers with DUIs are likely to repeat the offense is unfair to the many who make one single mistake in their lives and are otherwise safe and responsible behind the wheel. Nonetheless, this is a strong perception, and all drivers with recent convictions are considered high risk, so they face higher auto insurance rates.
How high? The average rate of increase varies from state to state, but premiums can nearly double for drivers with DUI convictions. That translates to some eye-popping numbers in individual states. For instance, the cost of insurance after a DUI can rise about $3,000 per year in California. Perhaps more typically, the rate in Colorado can go up to $720 on average.
Wherever you live, car insurance can be a challenging expense, even before a DUI. So it’s understandable if the steep rate hike after a DUI puts coverage nearly out of reach. And that’s on top of all of the other costs associated with getting a DUI.
The better news is that companies like Freeway Insurance work with high-risk drivers all the time. We can find high-risk auto insurance at minimal additional cost for drivers with DUI records.
What is High-Risk Auto Insurance?
A driver can be legally considered a high-risk motorist for many reasons in addition to having a DUI conviction:
- Getting caught driving without insurance
- Getting too many traffic violations
- Being involved in an injury-causing accident in the past
- Being without auto insurance
- Having a poor credit history
- Having a history of high insurance payouts
- Being a young or first-time driver, or over the age of 65
As you can see, there are quite a few reasons a driver can fall into the high-risk category. Sometimes it’s just a matter of age or other factors beyond their control. Regardless of what got them there, these drivers must purchase high-risk insurance policies to continue driving.
High-risk auto insurance is similar to standard auto insurance in all except one significant way: it costs more. Often considerably more. That’s because the perception is that the insurance company is taking a risk in issuing insurance to the driver with a DUI.
The goal of any driver with a DUI should be to get back on standard, lower-cost auto insurance as soon as possible. One piece of good news is that the financial damage isn’t permanent.
When Will My Insurance Go Down After a DUI?
It depends on where you live. A DUI charge will stay on your motor vehicle report for three to five years in most states. In California, it remains in place for ten years. Keep in mind that you’ll need an SR-22 certificate to stay insurance in most states.
This motor vehicle report matters to drivers because that’s what insurers review before giving cost quotes for coverage. When your DUI disappears from your motor vehicle report and assuming you have no additional violations, your rates should go down.
How to Find DUI Insurance
The main thing to do is finding a company that works with drivers who have had DUI convictions to help them get affordable coverage. They can adjust rates as time goes by and the DUI slips off your motor vehicle report.
While a DUI is a serious business, it’s a challenge that can be met if you have the right insurer. Luckily, Freeway Insurance is here to help you find the policy you need without breaking the bank. Start your DUI car quote online, give us a call at (800) 777-5620, or visit one of our offices near you.