Getting a DUI can affect your insurance in several ways. Insurance companies typically raise rates if a policyholder receives a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), depending on the exact charges available in your state. After all, a DUI or DWI indicates to insurance companies you’re a high-risk driver, and they’ll charge you more accordingly.
It’s also possible your insurance company could cancel your policy after a DUI. However, you could still seek other insurance providers to reinstate your coverage, such as non-standard providers or those catering to high-risk drivers. Read on to learn more about how a DUI can affect your insurance.
These Factors Determine How Your DUI Affects Insurance Rates
After a DUI, the biggest factors that affect your insurance coverage are the provider you have and where you live.
Your Insurance Provider
Every insurance company has its own policies and procedures regarding rate hikes after a DUI. Which insurance company you have may determine:
- The amount of your rate increase. Not all insurance companies will up your rates by the same amount. Some companies hike rates by an average of 30 or 40%, while others hike rates by as much as 100% or 150%. (Forbes)
- How your rate increase goes into effect. You may receive a high-rate increase that will gradually decline if you have no other issues with your driving records. With other insurance companies, you’ll receive a steady rate hike for years as long as the DUI remains on your record.
Every state has different laws regarding how long a DUI will stay on your driving record. Also, every state has different limits on how far back insurance companies may look when setting your insurance rates. On average, this is usually between three to five years, depending on the state.
And depending on where you live, you may need to buy additional liability coverage if you get a DUI conviction. In other states, your insurance company may need to file a special certificate with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to show that you maintain coverage as a high-risk driver.
In South Carolina, for instance, this is the SR-22 form. Having to file an SR-22 form may also raise your premiums.
What You Can Do to Keep Your Insurance Costs Down
You don’t have to just accept the high costs of a new insurance rate after a DUI. You could take certain steps to lower your payments, including:
Get Other Quotes
As mentioned, not all insurance companies automatically raise insurance rates similarly. Check other competitor insurance providers to see if you could get a lower premium.
Also, you could be eligible for other insurance packages that could result in an overall discount. For instance, you can try bundling your homeowners and auto insurance.
Try Usage-Based Insurance
You may no longer qualify for a safe driver discount. However, you could elect a usage-based insurance plan. This allows an insurance company to track your driving performance, such as your speeding or acceleration, to determine your insurance rates.
Even though you have a DUI on your record, you could earn back some of the benefits of safe driving performance through usage-based insurance.
Be Patient and Drive Safe
In time, a DUI will no longer be reflected in your driver history or insurance companies will no longer see it in their screenings when determining your rates. This may take several years, but eventually, you can put a DUI behind you.
However, be sure to continue earning back insurance companies’ trust by continuing to drive safely. If you get charged with a second DUI, this could have many impacts—not only on your insurance coverage but on your ability to drive.
Other Consequences You Could Face After a DUI
Getting convicted of a DUI or DWI can have many impacts on your life. Not only will you face higher insurance premiums, but you may also face:
- High fines
- Jail or prison time
- Restrictions on your driving privileges
- Other penalties, such as performing community service
- Challenges with your employment and ability to earn income
- Problems with securing housing or loans
After all, a DUI or DWI is typically considered a criminal charge. If you have aggravated charges or a previous record of DUI or DWI offenses, you could even receive a felony. This can even more seriously impact your life, often coming with longer prison time and even more challenges with securing employment or housing.
Call Us Today for Legal Help
A DUI or DWI lawyer can help you navigate the legal process if you’re facing a conviction. They can also advise you of your legal options for a plea bargain or help you fight to drop or reduce your charges before you face the serious effects of a DUI on your life. Call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. now for invaluable legal support.