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How Does a DUI Affect My Auto Insurance?

If you get a DUI or DWI, you may wonder how it will affect your auto insurance and how much you'll have to pay. Find out what happens after a conviction and tips to keep your auto coverage as low as possible.

By
Laura Adams, MBA
3-minute read
The Quick And Dirty

Getting a DUI comes with significant financial consequences, following you for up to a decade. It can result in high fees, potential jail time, and even prevent you from getting auto insurance. 

Getting a single DUI conviction can negatively affect your life in many ways. Having too many drinks may seem harmless at the time, but the second you get behind the wheel intoxicated, you put yourself and others at risk. If you're lucky enough to not hurt anyone, you will still face fines, potential jail times, and skyrocketing auto insurance premiums.

DUI vs. DWI

Depending on where you live, you may get convicted of DUI or a DWI; however, there's little difference between the two. DUI stands for "driving under the influence," while DWI is "driving while intoxicated." Both describe someone driving a vehicle while legally impaired (i.e. over the legal limit) from alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or inhalants.

DUI convictions and car insurance

State penalties vary for getting a DUI. Fines range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of your case. It's also possible that you could be sentenced to jail time, depending on the circumstances. And your driver's license may get suspended or revoked.

Having a DUI is a major red flag for your auto insurer, and they will view you as a much riskier policyholder. At the very least, your car insurance premiums will increase significantly. In the most extreme DUI cases, your insurance rate could increase by 300%. Traffic violations cause premiums to go up because insurers know you're more likely to get another violation or get involved in a car crash.  

In the most extreme DUI cases, your insurance rate could increase by 300%.

After getting a DUI, you could lose your auto insurance, especially if you have other violations on your driving record. Your provider could drop you immediately or choose not to renew your policy. That would force you to get coverage somewhere else, which could be challenging with a DUI on your record. 

Fulfilling SR22 insurance requirements

Following a DUI conviction, some states require you to carry SR22 insurance. SR22 insurance is required when you're deemed "high-risk" by an auto insurer. That could happen if you get:

  • A DUI or DWI conviction.

  • Several minor traffic violations in a short period.

  • Ticketed for driving without insurance or a valid driver's license.

  • An offense for reckless driving.

Once insured, your insurer will file paperwork with the state serving as notice that you have the minimum amount of mandated liability insurance.

How long you must have SR22 insurance depends on the state where you live and the severity of your violation. On average, you must have it for three years. Failure to maintain coverage can result in severe penalties, including license suspension.

If you live in Virginia or Florida and get convicted of a DUI, you must have an FR-44, which is similar to SR22 but comes with a higher insurance limit. It proves to the state that you carry auto insurance, but with the requirement, you will need to raise your coverage limits. 

If you get a DUI and have an SR22 or FR-44 filing requirement, ask your insurer if they offer it. If not, you'll need to find a company that provides same-day SR-22 certificates.

How long does a DUI affect your car insurance?

Due to the severity of a DUI conviction, your auto insurance premiums typically go up significantly for three to five years. However, it depends on how long your DUI stays on your driving record and the insurance laws in your state.

A DUI can follow you for up to a decade and prevent you from getting specific insurance policies and discounts. 

How to save money on car insurance after a DUI

While getting a DUI causes your auto premiums to go up, there are ways to reduce your rate. Use the following tips to find affordable auto insurance:

  • Shop around and get quotes from various insurers, so you get familiar with potential offers and choose the best deal. 

  • Look for discounts such as bundling your auto and home insurance or paying premiums annually. Ask your insurer what discounts they offer that you might be eligible for.

  • Practice safe driving habits so you appear less risky to your insurer and avoid another violation.

  • Consider usage-based insurance (UBI) that monitors your driving habits and rewards safe drivers with discounts.

  • Raise your deductible to reduce your insurance premium. Just be sure you'd have enough in savings to cover it if you need to make an auto claim.

About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.