If you’re charged with driving under the influence, it’s something that can have a severe impact on every part of your life.
You may face jail time or hefty fines.
You may also struggle following a DUI charge and conviction to find car insurance.
A conviction for driving under the influence can mean your auto insurance premiums go up anywhere from 30% to 370% depending on your state and insurance company.
With that being said, every insurance company takes its own approach to DUI convictions and calculating subsequent premiums.
A DUI is a big one but is still just one of the factors used to determine risk by insurers, and every state does have what’s called a last-resort program so that drivers convicted of serious offenses like a DUI can get car insurance.
You can come back from one DUI, despite the serious consequences, but as a repeat offender, that might not be the case.
The following are key things to know about getting auto insurance after a DUI.
Do You Have to Tell Your Insurance Company?
First, do you have to tell your insurance company if you get a citation for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated?
In most circumstances, it’s probably best to tell your insurance agent or carrier about your violation.
If you don’t disclose it, the insurance company will learn about it regardless. When it’s time for renewal, the insurance company will run a motor vehicle report. That means that yes if you don’t disclose it right away it might be some time before your insurance company finds out, and during that time your rate is locked in.
However, once that renewal time comes, you might face non-renewal meaning your insurance company will drop you, or your rates can go up.
If you’re proactive about letting your company know, they’ll be able to help you figure out what the standard procedure is.
Filing an SR-22 Form
Depending on the state where you live, you may have to show you have insurance to get your license reinstated, in which case you’ll have to complete what’s called an SR-22. The court, if you’re convicted of a DUI, will let you know if you need to file a form.
If you find an insurance company that advertises they’ll file it for you on your behalf, this can be a good indicator they offer insurance to people with DUIs.
An SR-22 is a statement of financial responsibility.
What to Know About Getting Insurance
So now, what if you’re up for renewal after a DUI?
As was mentioned, there’s a chance that your insurance company can drop you. They can’t legally do that as soon as they learn about your DUI or DWI, but they can decline your renewal when your current policy expires.
You may end up being able to stay with your current company, but your rates will go up for at least three years. As long as your DUI is on file, in some states, your premium will remain very high.
It’s possible that your insurance could go up by more than 100% because you’ll be seen as a high-risk driver.
Sometimes after people get a DUI, they think there’s no reason to comparison shop on insurance because they believe they’ll have to pay the same high rates no matter what.
That’s not true. Yes, in general, you will pay more, but there tends to be a lot of variance in what insurance companies charge post-DUI.
Some companies won’t offer insurance at all to people with DUIs, while others will be relatively low in what they charge. For example, research has shown that companies like State Farm and Progressive tend to be competitively low in what they charge for insurance after someone gets a DUI, but this can depend on the state where you live.
Shop around and get quotes from as many companies as you can.
You should also remember that you may still have discounts available to you even once you get the rates. Just because you have a DUI, it doesn’t mean that you’re automatically counted out of the discounts companies offer for other things, like being active-duty U.S. military or for bundling home and auto insurance policies.
From there, once you do find insurance, be careful and remain a safe driver with a clean record over the years, and gradually you’ll find that what you pay in insurance will go down.