How Long Will a DUI Affect My Insurance?
If you are convicted of a Driving while Under the Influence (DUI) charge – it’s likely that your auto insurance rates will rise. The amount of time you pay a higher rate depends on your state. DUIs can be complicated and it won’t always affect your auto insurance rate right away. The best thing is to NOT drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (even legal marijuana or other drugs – legal or not).
However, if that happens to you or a loved one, let’s explore advice on how to keep your rates down.
First, here are other tickets that affect your insurance rate VERY negatively:
- Wet reckless driving (a lesser charge than a DUI)
- Dry reckless driving (no alcohol/drugs – but endangering lives)
- Excessive speeding (going excessively higher than limit/traffic)
- Street racing
A DUI will affect your rates for as long as your state allows. Let’s look at a couple of examples. In California – the state legislature recently expanded the length of time that a DUI stays on your record – to 10 years. And a DUI (on average) will increase your rates about $800 a year. So that could be $8,000 MORE in costs. For Ohio – the DUI never leaves your record and can affect your rates for several years as well. If you’d like to see what your state does, click here: https://wallethub.com/edu/dui-penalties-by-state/13549/
If you are wondering why your insurance rates would go up with a DUI, it’s important to remember that DUI’s are to blame for almost 30% of ALL fatal car accidents. So when you get a DUI – you are considered a very high risk driver. The likelihood that you could cause a “worst case” scenario and kill yourself or another driver/passenger has skyrocketed (as far as the insurance companies’ statistics go).
You might ask yourself: “how can I lower my insurance rates?” – it’s very tempting to lower your liability coverages (the money that the insurance company will pay out if you injure or kill another person) but please, DO NOT SAVE MONEY THAT WAY! If you lower your liability – you could face a lawsuit in the future that might bankrupt you and your family.
In most states, your wages can be garnished for a couple of decades to pay off the medical bills you might cause. Your assets (money, equity in a home, savings, stocks, rental properties, etc.) could be frozen and taken away to pay pain and suffering/medical bills – if you cause an accident.
Instead, here are a few ways to lower your insurance cost and still protect your wages/assets:
- Raise your deductible
- Lower your property coverage
- Take off “luxury” coverages (towing/rental car)
- Consult with an insurance professional
Do not randomly go onto the internet and start trying to lower your insurance costs. At a time like this, it is vital that you consult with a licensed insurance professional in your state. They can give you priceless information on ways to protect you and your family until the DUI process is done.
You might be asking “Do I have to tell my insurance company when I get a DUI”? The generic answer to that is no – because in general, insurance companies will not increase your rates midterm. The insurance firm will typically re-run your DMV record as you get close to renewal and then they either offer you a new term at the new price or they deny you coverage. The DMV itself will alert the insurance company that you were convicted of a DUI and your rate will increase at renewal.
With this information in your hands, you should be proactive and consult with your insurance professional ahead of time – so they can help you find the best coverage with an appropriate rate. Most insurance agents have access to several options for you, and by working WITH your agent – you can get ahead of the renewal, as well as a decline or huge rate increase. A knowledgeable, licensed agent that you can meet with in person can be a real asset during this time.