Showing results for
Did you mean:
Sorry, something went wrong. Please refresh your browser and try again.

How a DUI Affects Your Auto Insurance

Maggie Overholt

Maggie Overholt

Senior Insurance Editor

7 min. read

All products and services mentioned on Reviews.com are chosen by our editorial staff. If you click on a link, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How a DUI Affects Your Car Insurance

You already know driving under the influence makes you a danger to yourself and others on the road. It also makes you a much bigger risk to auto insurance companies, which is why they’ll ask drivers with a DUI on record to share the weight of that risk by paying much higher premiums.

Average yearly auto insuranceAverage rate increase with a DUIAverage yearly auto insurance after DUI
$1,70094%$3,298

These rates are a sample set meant only for general comparison. Your own premium will vary. Learn how we tested rates for DUI auto insurance.

We studied how a DUI impacts auto insurance rates for drivers age 23 to 35, using pricing information from the four to 10 biggest insurers in every state, provided by Quadrant Information Services, the leading industry authority on insurance rates. Our test considers drivers with one recent DUI and an otherwise clean driving record.

First Things First: Understanding DUI, DWI, OUI, and OVI

There are many ways to say “drunk driving.” DUI and DWI are most common, but you might also see the terms OUI, OVI, OMVI, or variations of these depending on which state you live in.

DUI: Driving under the influence
DWI: Driving while intoxicated
OUI: Operating under the influence
OVI: Operating vehicle intoxicated
OMVI: Operating a motor vehicle impaired

All of these terms cover drunk driving. DUI, OUI, and a few others can also apply when driving under the influence of prescription drugs, marijuana, or another substance. For the purpose of our study, we use “DUI” to mean any driver convicted of operating their vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. (Except in Utah, where the legal BAC threshold is 0.05.)

How a DUI Impacts Auto Insurance Rates

We looked at how a DUI impacts auto insurance rates for drivers age 23 to 35. On average, rates spiked by 94% after the first offense, meaning auto insurance premiums after a DUI conviction are likely to be near double what they were before.

 Average yearly insurance rateAverage DUI rate increase (%)Average DUI rate increase ($)Average yearly rate with DUI
23 years old$2,09789%$1,866$3,963
27 years old$1,66394%$1,563$3,226
31 years old$1,53496%$1,473$3,007
35 years old$1,50697%$1,461$2,967

These rates are a sample set meant only for general comparison. Your own premium will vary. Learn how we tested rates for DUI auto insurance.

It’s interesting to note that while the percentage rate increase for a DUI goes up a little with age, the dollar increase actually goes down. The reason our test shows this result is that, all other things being equal, older drivers pay less for auto insurance than younger drivers in the first place — so a bigger percent increase can still net a smaller dollar amount.

This also applies to drivers with a clean overall history versus drivers with past infractions or accidents. The more red marks on your record, the higher your base premium. The higher your base premium, the more it will increase with each subsequent incident.

Remember, DUI convictions are only one part of the overall “risk profile” an insurer assigns to you when setting rates. Driving under the influence is incredibly dangerous and naturally ups your risk level a lot. But the amount one DUI raises your premiums will also vary depending on things like age, past accidents and infractions, or your insurance claims record.

Driver’s License Restrictions After a DUI

After a first-time DUI conviction, the driver’s license can be suspended for anywhere from 7 days to one year. The length of suspension depends on location and severity of the infraction (i.e. how a higher BAC showing up on their breathalyzer test can lead to more severe punishment). Driving while your license is suspended can lead to jail time or a fine of up to $1,000.

Most states have much more severe DUI penalties for second- or third-time DUI offenders and drivers that refuse to take a breathalyzer test. If you don’t blow but end up being convicted of a first-time DUI, you’ll likely see an automatic 12-month suspension on your driver’s license rather than the usual 90 days or six months.

DUI Penalties and Insurance Rates by State

These rates are a sample set meant only for general comparison. Your own premium will vary.
Learn how we tested rates for DUI auto insurance.
Data on state DUI laws provided by the Governors Highway Safety Association

Cheap Auto Insurance After a DUI

“Cheap” auto insurance after a DUI is relative. If the DUI is on your insurance record, rates are going to spike no matter what. Incidents and claims follow you for seven to 10 years, and usually count against your rates for three years, so you shouldn’t expect that one-time mistake to disappear anytime soon.

That said, every insurer measures risk differently. Some will be a little more forgiving of DUIs when it comes to rate setting. If your current insurer prices you out after a DUI, it might be worth comparing rates from a few others to see if you can save elsewhere.

Can Auto Insurance Drop You After a DUI?

You might be afraid your insurer will cancel coverage mid-policy if it finds out you were recently convicted of a DUI. That’s usually not the case. Insurers generally only “drop” customers for one of two reasons: either because they fail to pay premiums, or because the company finds out they lied on their application. If you neglected to tell your insurer about a DUI you had prior to signing up, and it found out, that might be grounds for cancellation.

A more likely scenario after receiving a DUI is that your insurer hikes up rates next time you renew, or decides not to renew your policy altogether. Nonrenewal might happen if the DUI isn’t your first offense. Say you have a previous at-fault accident or claim on record; you’re going to start looking a lot riskier to insurers as those incidents compound.

If your insurer decides not to renew coverage or becomes unaffordable after a DUI, you still have options. Shop around and consider switching auto insurance companies if you find cheaper rates elsewhere. If your record is full of red marks and you’re having trouble getting coverage at all, look into a “nonstandard insurer” or state-run auto insurance plan tailored toward high-risk drivers.

SR-22 Forms for DUI Auto Insurance

Drivers convicted of a DUI will likely need to file an “SR-22 form” with their insurer or state insurance department. An SR-22 form is not a type of insurance, but rather a document proving the driver meets minimum insurance requirements according to their risk level. A few states require a similar form called an FR-44.

SR-22s and FR-44s are required for drivers deemed “higher-risk” than normal. You’d probably need one if you were convicted of a DUI, caught driving without insurance or a license, had repeat traffic violations in a short time, or were found guilty of other dangerous behavior behind the wheel.

You can get an SR-22 or FR-44 form through your current auto insurance company. They will help you fill it out and make sure it gets filed with the right state department. If you move across state lines, you’ll have to request a new SR-22 or FR-44 at your new address.

Methodology

We worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide data on DUI insurance rates in all 50 states. Quadrant accesses rating data that insurers must file with state insurance departments, and uses those filings to determine pricing formulas and estimate rates for various driver profiles.

Rates shown here are based on sample profiles for drivers age 23, 27, 31, and 35, both male and female, driving a 2017 Toyota Camry with annual mileage of 15,000. All driver profiles have a credit tier of “good” and a clean driving record, aside from one DUI within the past year. We tested for six different coverage levels, including various liability limits with or without collision and comprehensive coverage at a $500 deductible.

We checked rates for the top four to 10 insurers in every state by market share, with data coming from more than 34,000 ZIP codes across the U.S. These rates are a sample set meant for comparison only. Your own rates will vary.

What’s Next?

Find the best cheap auto insurance companies in the U.S.

Learn how to save on your auto insurance without cutting coverage

Explore our Auto Insurance FAQ

Related Articles

9 Things You Didn’t Realize About a AAA Membership

9 Things You Didn’t Realize About a AAA Membership

Wildfire Season: What Homeowners Need to Know

Wildfire Season: What Homeowners Need to Know

What to Do If Your Car Insurance Policy Is Canceled

What to Do If Your Car Insurance Policy Is Canceled

What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down

What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down