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How long will a DUI affect my car insurance rates?

Here's what you need to know...
  • How long a DUI stays on your record depends on the state in which you reside
  • In California, your DUI will stay on your records 10 years
  • Even if your insurer cancels coverage because of a DUI, you should be able to find insurance elsewhere

You had an excellent driving record until one night after a couple of beers you are pulled over and charged with a DUI. Now you are wondering how long a DUI will affect car insurance rates for you.

Well, the answer lies in the state in which you live. Every state is regulated individually, and your insurance company may penalize you within the guidelines of that state.

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Depending on the state where you live and where you received the DUI conviction, you may pay for the offense for three, five or seven years.

You may even pay for your offense for the duration of your driving years. That possibility is present in the state of California where you are no longer eligible for good driver discounts for ten years. In some cases that ten years could extend as long as you are considered a driver.

Will my rates increase?


The simple reason why your car insurance premiums will be higher if you are convicted of a driving under the influence charge is that you are looked at as a high-risk driver.

High-risk drivers cost the auto insurance companies more to insure because there is a greater chance that a high-risk driver will end up filing a claim.

In turn, the car insurance companies pass the risk for a higher cost to you, and your rates are higher.

Can I still get auto insurance after a DUI conviction?

Unfortunately, many auto insurance companies will not insure a driver who has been convicted of a DUI. This is for one primary reason: risk. They consider the possibility that you will drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol again.

This is dangerous in that you could not only hurt yourself, but you can also hurt or even kill another person such as a passenger or another driver.

The company insuring you must be prepared to pay all the costs associated with medical bills for anyone injured due to your negligence if you were driving under the influence again. The company might determine that the risk outweighs any gain of having you as a customer.

However, there are several companies that will give you another chance when it comes to getting auto insurance. Many companies believe that someone will learn from their mistake and become a better and safer driver.

It is important to look at all your options when considering car insurance after a DUI. Talk to many different companies to find out how much you could save despite your poor driving history.

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Differences Between SR22 States

In states where SR22 forms exist, drivers who have been convicted of a DUI must file a financial responsibility certificate.

This certificate is filed with DMV and obligates the driver to three or more years of mandatory adequate coverage. It also obligates the insurance company to notify the DMV if insurance coverage is canceled.

In most cases, an SR22 filing translates to higher premiums for DWI insurance because of placement in a higher risk category. If your license has been suspended, SR22 filings are required as a part of the reinstatement process.

Many states that require SR22 filings after suspension require several other things:

  • A reinstatement fee
  • A substantial down payment for your insurance
  • Your first monthly premium

Some states do not have an SR22 provision.

If your license is suspended or your insurance canceled for a DUI conviction, you are prohibited from driving until your license is reinstated.

License suspensions can pose a long-term problem if you are caught driving The first time may warrant a warning while the second or third offense could end up costing you jail time.

The truth is that you can find cheaper DUI car insurance rates, but you must be willing to shop around. Of course, DUI insurance rates will be more expensive than if you did not have a DUI, but you can still find an affordable policy.

Rates After Taking a Class

There are instances where you may be able to clear your DUI conviction after you have taken a safety class.

Although your rates are almost certain to rise after a DUI conviction, you may be able to take a class during the three to five years of surcharge payments and become eligible for a standard rate at renewal time.

If your license is suspended, the judge may require you to take a safety class, anyway.

Will my spouse be affected?


Some spouses may wonder if they will suffer the consequences of the other partner’s actions should they receive a DUI conviction. In some states, it is possible to obtain an exclusion for the spouse with the DUI conviction.

In other words, the person with the DUI may be excluded from your insurance plan.

If they decide to drive illegally anyway and have an accident, they will not be covered under the policy. The spouse without the DUI will maintain coverage at the standard rate.

Once the spouse with the DUI conviction is eligible to drive again, rates will increase. The increase may be offset by some changes you can make such as:

  • committing to pay a higher deductible
  • paying advanced premiums
  • eliminating unnecessary coverage

What about a cancellation?

Some car insurance companies will cancel your insurance after a DUI charge. The cancellation will also affect your rate with another insurer along with the DUI.

There are insurance companies who specialize in helping high-risk drivers, but the premiums can sometimes cost twice as much as what you used to pay.

If a DUI Goes Unreported


Insurers are only able to rate you once every three to five years in some states; therefore, if you were recently rated and obtain a DUI, it may go unreported.

If you are in a state where this is the case, you may be able to take a DUI class and maintain a reasonable rate by the time your renewed rate is issued.

If your conviction is reported and your rates are raised to an unaffordable amount, you may be well-advised to shop for a cheaper rate with another insurer.

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