- Car Insurance
A DUI conviction can be pretty disastrous for your career and bank balance, especially if you drive for a living or rely on your car to get to work. It’s a mistake, and a very reckless one at that, but it could cost you up to $1,000 as well as a maximum sentence of 12 months, numerous points off your driver’s license, and even a suspension.
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If you manage to avoid the worst penalties and escape unscathed, or you pay your fine and suffer the consequences, there’s still one big issue to deal with: Your car insurance.
Insurance quotes increase significantly for all high-risk drivers and if you have a DUI or DWI on your record, you’ll find yourself in that category. All is not lost, however, as there are ways you can secure cheap insurance when you have a blemished record.
What is a DUI, DWI, and OUI?
DUI, DWI, and OUI are three different terms used to describe pretty much the same thing. According to the NHTSA, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are the two most common, and most states will either use one or the other to refer to the act of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Some states use both of these terms, in which case they tend to differentiate between alcohol and drugs, with DWI referring exclusively to alcohol and DUI to both drugs and alcohol. You will also see the abbreviation BAC, which means “Blood Alcohol Content” and is used to determine if someone is over the alcohol limit, and OUI, which means Operating Under the Influence and is only used in Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island.
In any case, all of these are serious offenses and can result in fines, jail time, and a significant rate increase on your car insurance premiums.
Can You Get DUI Insurance?
A DUI is a major violation, something that can significantly increase your car insurance premiums. You can still get car insurance after a DUI, but you may have to work that little bit harder to find a suitable price. This is generally true regardless of how your drunk driving conviction was dealt with, and whether or not it resulted in a fine or jail time.
These additional expenses are charged not as a punishment, but because your risk has increased. Insurance is all about risk calculation. The younger you are and the more violations you have on your record, the more of a risk you are and the higher your premiums will be as a result.
A DUI offender is deemed to be a huge risk, and this will be reflected by the premiums they are asked to pay every month.
Cost of DUI Car Insurance by State
The average cost of insurance will differ greatly depending on your state. This is true even before you factor a DUI into the equation, but once you start adding minor and major violations, the differences become even more significant.
States where a conviction will have the least impact in terms of higher rates, including:
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
One of the cheapest states we found, with regards to how little the auto insurance rates increased, was Maryland.
All of the following, however, typically charge much more:
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
How to Get Cheap Insurance After a DUI Offense
The cheapest way to secure car insurance after a DUI is to shop around, compare, and keep searching for the best rates. Those rates will always be higher than what you were offered before the conviction and you simply won’t be offered the best rates that the insurer can provide. However, by doing your research, comparing multiple providers and persisting until you find a good rate, you can find a reasonable policy.
Many drivers will stick with the insurer they had before the DUI charge, either because they’ve used them for years, have secured a multi-policy or multi-car discount, or simply can’t be bothered to make a change. There is a chance your current provider is offering the best rate, but more often than not, the best car insurance policy can be found elsewhere.
We have listed a few of the best options below, in numerical order from the cheapest to the most expensive. However, due to the differences between locations and policies, we recommend getting quotes from all of them:
- State Farm
There are other auto insurance companies to consider as well. This is just a small selection of the biggest and best providers based on a few dozen quotes. We encourage you to check as many as you can.
Non-owner insurance is a cheap way to get cover and is offered to individuals without regular access to a motor vehicle. Depending on your state, you may need to file an SR-22 form and pay a filing fee, but this is generally no more than $25 and the money you save by acquiring such a policy makes it all worthwhile.
This type of insurance will cover you during at-fault accidents and ensure you have continuous cover, which could come in handy in the future.
How Long Will a DUI Affect Car Insurance Quotes?
Your auto insurance quotes will increase for at least 3 years after a DUI conviction, but some states will allow this conviction to impact your quotes for several more years. What’s more, you may be prevented from getting a safe driver discount for up to 10 years after a DUI conviction.
Bottom Line: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
A DUI can be a destructive force in your life. It’s a sharp, short shock; a reminder of the dangers of drunk driving and the (justifiably) unforgiving way that the law treats those convicted of this act. But there is good news, because there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Cheap car insurance can’t undo the damage done by fines and jail time; it can’t win back favor with your employees or family members, but it can save you a few hundred dollars a year. And if you keep a clean driving record for several years, you can save even more money further down the line.
Just remember to compare as many car insurance companies as you can and to switch to a new policy as soon as your circumstances improve.