Auto Insurance After A DUI: What To Expect

drunk driving auto insurance

Photo from James Palinsad

A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) can wreak havoc on your life, regardless of what the outcome is — arrest, crash, death, injury, or getting away with it.

If you’re arrested, it can affect your employment and standing in the community. If you crash, it will send your auto insurance skyrocketing and could lead to healthcare costs for the death or injury of an innocent person. Furthermore, you aren’t immune from physical harm yourself, and that can create added burdens on you and your loved ones. Finally, if you are “lucky” enough to get away with it, you’ll likely keep doing it with a false sense of security until you do injure or cause the death of another.

And considering two-thirds of the people who are issued a DUI, have no other previous convictions on their records, the problem is one that can affect almost anyone.

All it takes is a single moment to throw away a good driving record, the respect of your family and community, and maybe even your life. In other words, you don’t have to be a “common criminal” to face the severity that comes with driving while intoxicated.

There are very serious reasons why you should never put yourself or others in this position, but for our purposes, we’ll look at how it can affect your relationship with an auto insurance provider.


First Of All, It Puts You At Risk Of Losing Your Insurance.

While this reality can change from state to state, many jurisdictions throughout the US have enabled auto insurance companies to drop DUI risks, even if the infraction occurs within a period of time for which you’ve paid. That’s because, when you enter into an agreement with an auto insurance provider, you do so with a good-faith understanding that you will maintain the safety standards on which you were rated.

Since driving while intoxicated is a criminal breach of this contract, many states have given auto insurance companies leeway in how they react to news of a client’s infraction, as they should.

After all, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), every 53 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash (9,878 people in 2011, 10,322 in 2012).  Furthermore, every 90 seconds, someone is injured due to a DUI-related accident, and about one-third of the drunk driving problem – again, that’s arrests, crashes, deaths, and injuries – occur as a result of repeat offenders.

If an auto insurance company continues to insure a driver who is a proven risk to innocent motorists, they open themselves up for liability, and they continue to encourage and enable a proven-reckless driver.


Secondly, It Can Max Out Your Premiums.

A DUI conviction will stay on your record for quite some time and cause your rates to skyrocket almost immediately. Insurers are well-trained at identifying proven risk factors, and where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Even one infraction with limited fallout — say, you’re stopped and arrested but there is no property damage, injuries, or fatalities to speak of — will push your premiums upward.

Insurers need only look at the aforementioned statistic — that 33 percent of incidents involve repeat offenders — to know you’re a probable high-risk driver, and any additional coverage could potentially come at a high cost.


Lastly, It Can Make It Impossible To Find Affordable Alternatives.

Getting a good auto insurance rate today is easier than ever before. That’s because you have the power of the web to help you compare prices and coverages of different companies across the board in order to see who offers the best deal.

And while you can still use online auto insurance quotes to compare prices, the industry is in full agreement about the risks they’re taking on when insuring a driver convicted of DUI. Yes, you’ll get a number of quotes from other companies should your current company drop you, but don’t expect those quotes to be bottom-of-the-barrel. No company will offer you non-DUI pricing when there is a likelihood that a repeat infraction could occur.


In Summary

If you have been convicted of driving under the influence, you’ll have a bit of an uphill climb in winning back the trust of your insurer. Expect to pay higher premiums for a while until you can reestablish your safety rating; but also, recommit yourself to driving responsibly. Don’t overindulge, especially when you’re out with friends, because having too much to drink while you’re in public can lead to repeat offenses even if you start with the best of intentions. Furthermore, listen to those closest to you. If they notice a problem, don’t get defensive. Get help. That’s the best way to ensure a DUI never happens again.

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