A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol will affect your life in many ways. Some of the ways are obvious, like fines and jail time, but others are a little more unexpected. One oft overlooked aspects of a DUI is how it will affect your car insurance rates for the years to come. Today, we take a closer look at how a DUI impacts your car insurance rates.
Drunk Driving And Car Insurance Rates
Your auto policy is based on your driving habits and a number of other demographics that help determine how much of a driving risk you are on the road. Being young, being a male or having a bunch of speeding tickets on your record all make you a riskier candidate in the eyes of an insurance company, but a DUI is one of the biggest red flags of risky driving behavior. Your insurance company regularly screens your driving record for offenses in order to adjust your rate, so although they won’t be notified immediately after the conviction, they’ll likely become aware of the incident within a couple of months.
After the insurance company becomes aware of the conviction, they will likely send you a later saying they are planning on terminating your coverage. They can’t terminate your coverage on the spot, as they are required to give you time to find a new policy. Use this time while you’re waiting for your old policy to expire to look for a new one.
In the eyes of an insurance company, a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is viewed as a major violation. These types of violations typically affect your insurance rates for 3-5 years, and oftentimes it’s closer to the five year side of that range. Although rates will fluctuate, on average, the price of auto insurance through a preferred carrier after a DUI is roughly double what it was prior to your DUI. This means if you were paying $800 a year for insurance, you can now expect to pay $1,600 for insurance. Over the course of five years, you’ll spend an additional $4,000 on insurance in this scenario.
There are two things you can do to put yourself in the best position to avoid car insurance rate increases after an arrest for driving under the influence. The first is to hire a criminal defense attorney that is well-versed in DUI law to help you beat the charge or get it reduced so this major violation stays off your record in the first place.
The second thing you can do comes after a DUI conviction, and it involves taking a few steps to make it more likely that the DUI won’t affect your insurance rates for the full five-year period. Three ways to increase your likelihood of getting back to a preferred carried without the high-risk designation include:
- Avoiding any future driving violations.
- Bundling or having more than one policy with the same carrier.
- Get insurance with high limits.
For more information about how a DUI affects your auto insurance, or to talk to an attorney, contact us today.