Does a DUI affect car insurance?

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Drunk driving yields serious legal consequences
  • Driving while intoxicated will result in drastically increased car insurance premiums
  • You may have your car insurance policy canceled depending on the conditions of your DUI
  • It may be difficult or impossible to find car insurance after a DUI conviction
  • Some states provide an SR-22 car insurance option for high-risk drivers

Charges of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are very serious. Depending on the state you are in at the time of the conviction, you could face serious consequences, including the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license and jail time.

Your car insurance company will also penalize you accordingly. Depending on the seriousness of your citation, you could face aggressively increased premiums or your policy could be terminated.

If your policy is terminated, you lose all of your car insurance benefits, including medical coverage. Once you lose insurance due to a DWI or DUI, it is very difficult to find coverage, although there are some options available.

Make sure to never drink and drive and resolve to put the past behind you if you have already been convicted of DUI or DWI.

Use the free car insurance comparison tool on this page to find and compare DUI car insurance quotes and DWI car insurance quotes online along with regular car insurance quotes.

Enter your zip to start with your free car insurance comparison today!

What Constitutes Drunk Driving

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Many people think that drunk driving is a subjective term and if they only have one or two drinks, they can legally and safely drive. However, that may not always be the case.

Alcohol impairs the senses and can lead to unsafe reflexes and slowed reaction times. Even if you feel “okay” to drive, you may not be able to safely do so.

In order to remove the subjection of intoxication, most states have implemented drunken driving laws that take your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) into consideration.

Commonly, any blood alcohol content level higher than .08 percent is considered unsafe to operate a motor vehicle and therefore, a violation of state law.

Testing for Drunk Driving

A breathalyzer can generally calculate the level of alcohol in your system, but there are also some roadside tests that are done initially when someone who is suspected of drunk driving gets pulled over.

Tests can range from the simple to the seemingly complex, which is why they are considered more subjective than the breathalyzer.

While it’s a myth that a suspected drunk driver will be asked to say the alphabet backward, here are some maneuvers a person suspected of DUI may be asked to perform:

  • Answer a series of basic questions, ranging from your name and age to the ages of other passengers in your vehicle
  • Walk on an invisible line by placing heel to toe, looking up
  • Touch your nose with your finger on alternating hands
  • Balance on one foot at a time
  • Keep your eyes closed while bending backward and forward

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Drunk Driving and Auto Insurance

There are many different outcomes that could result from drunk driving.

  • Driving Record – If you are pulled over and receive a citation for a DWI or DUI, then it will go on your driving record.
  • Insurance Premium Increase – Since insurance companies have access to the information that gets posted to your record, there is a good chance that your premiums will be raised.
  • Insurance Cancelation – If you receive two or three, chances are your policy will be terminated. If your policy is terminated, it will be very difficult to find insurance elsewhere since the DUI(s) will be on your driving record.

If you have an accident and are at fault due to driving under the influence, it is very probable that your insurance company will pay out the benefits to cover the damages you caused to third parties but will then promptly cancel your policy.

When your policy gets canceled it is done in its entirety, so you will lose any coverage you had, including medical.

Once your car insurance premiums are raised for driving while intoxicated, you will most likely not be able to lower them again for a long time. It may take several years of a clean driving record after the DWI to negotiate a lower rate even if you only have one citation.

If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, you do not need insurance because it is not legal for you to drive. However, once you are forgiven by the state and allowed to drive again, you will need to first secure car insurance.

Insurance After a DUI

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If you cannot get traditional car insurance, you may need to apply for an SR-22, which is offered by some states to assure that all drivers are able to at least purchase liability insurance that is required by the state.

This is commonly used by people who lose their car insurance coverage due to driving violations such as a DUI or DWI. SR-22 is insurance for high-risk drivers and has a high price to accommodate it.

It usually only covers the legal minimum liability requirements, but sometimes optional coverage can be purchased as well.

Most people who lose their insurance to a DUI will only purchase the bare minimum through an SR-22, so they will no longer have medical coverage as an option on their auto insurance.

After approximately five years of a clean driving record, you may be able to qualify for regular car insurance again. The premiums may still be higher, but you could choose to add optional coverage, such as medical, if you can afford to do so.

Insurance is based on state laws and can vary from state to state. If your premiums have gone up because of a DUI, you may not be able to find a lower rate anywhere else. If you lost your insurance because of a DWI, then you may need to purchase insurance through an SR-22.

Once you are able to buy traditional insurance again, your rates will probably still be high, so you should shop around. You can compare quotes from several different companies now by simply entering your zip code!

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