Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • When you’re convicted of Driving Under the Influence, your insurance company will surcharge your rates for as long as is allowed under state law
  • In most states, a minor ticket is chargeable for 3 years but a major conviction for DUI can affect your policy for as long as 13 years
  • If you’re required to file an SR-22 as proof of financial responsibility, you may pay a fee for the filing for 3 to 7 years
  • While you might not cost the insurer money after getting a DUI, it affects your premiums because the conviction makes you a high-risk driver
  • Some companies don’t accept drivers with a DUI and will set yourpolicy up for non-renewal when your next renewal comes

Being convicted of a DUI affects more than just your criminal record, it can also have a huge impact on your auto insurance rates. As you compare auto insurance quotes with the conviction on your record, you’ll notice that you’ll be paying significantly more than you used to before the worst night of your life.

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The most effective way to avoid getting arrested for a DUI may be to abstain from drinking and driving, but some people don’t realize how costly the mistake can be until it’s too late.

Unfortunately, your punishment doesn’t end after you’re released from your jail’s holding tank. Instead, you have a long road to travel that includes some hefty fines and penalties that can last for several years.

When will a DUI affect your insurance?

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If you’re arrested for driving while intoxicated, you’re taken directly to jail where you’re booked under the charge. In most cases, as long as you don’t have a warrant or prior DUI offenses, you’ll be released from custody before you’re seen by a judge.

When this happens, you’re given a temporary 30-day driver license and a court date to appear.

Following your release, it’s natural to assume that your insurer will hike up your rates immediately. What you might not know is that it’s not the arrest that makes the infraction chargeable.

Instead, insurance companies must wait until there’s a conviction before your mistake will ever catch up with you on your insurance history.

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When is a conviction added to your policy?

In some rare cases, you can beat a DUI charge. If this happens, you won’t have a conviction on your record. Unfortunately for defendants, much stricter laws are making DUI/DWI cases a lot tougher to beat.

If you’re convicted of your charge, it’s still not automatically going to bump up your rates.

Insurance companies are obligated to rate you in the risk class you’ve been assigned to at the beginning of your insurance term unless you charge your car or add a new driver.

It’s not until your renewal comes that the surcharge can officially be added.

Why does a DUI conviction affect your rates and eligibility for insurance?

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It’s nice to know that you have some time to pay off your court fees and fines, but you still might be left wondering why you even have to pay an increased rate.

After all, when DUI’s don’t involve an accident of any kind they don’t cost the insurer any money. You’re charged because it’s about risk and not how much money you cost a company.

Drinking and driving is a risky behavior that can lead to property damage, injury, and death.

Since 40 percent of accident fatalities are alcohol-related, insurers have found the risk of something happening after someone has had a DUI is larger. You may be an exception to the rule, but that risk based on a pool of people and not you personally.

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What other rating factors affect your premiums?

Your driving record is one of the most important rating factors that companies use to calculate rates, but it’s not the only factor.

In fact, companies use a long list of factors, some that you can control and others that you can’t, to determine how much to charge you and even if you’re eligible for coverage. Here are some of these:

  • Years of driving experience
  • Age and gender
  • Marital status
  • Accident history
  • Driving habits and how it’s used
  • Annual mileage for each vehicle
  • Driver assignments
  • Credit history
  • The car that you drive and safety record
  • Lines of insurance
  • Coverage limit and types

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How much more will your rates be with a DUI?


Your final auto insurance rate is based on a mix of all of the rating factors. With this being said, it’s possible to look at rates before and after a DUI to see how much, on average, rates go up.

Once you see the figures, you’ll certainly think twice about taking a drink before you drive.

According to a study conducted by the Administrative Office of the Courts in California, insurance rates go up an average of $40,000 over a 13-year span of time.

If you break that down, it’s an increase of over $3000 per year on a policy with full coverage.

Can your insurance be canceled for getting a DUI?

Not all insurance companies are thrilled to hear you’ve been convicted of a DUI. Some companies that like taking on risk will jump for joy at the potential for more money.

Other companies don’t even accept clients with a DUI because it violates underwriting terms.

If you’re with a strict company, your policy could be set up for non-renewal after your conviction.

If this happens, you must be notified of the non-renewal at least 30 days in advance and you must be given a reason for the termination.

When will the surcharge for a major violation fall off your insurance history?

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Every state has different rules. In the past, you would only be surcharged for a DUI for 3 years. Now, some states will keep points on your record for as long as 13 years.

The most common range is between 5 and 10 years. Check with your state to see when your points will fall off of your record for your DUI.

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What is the typical SR-22 fee?

In addition to surcharges, you must pay an SR-22 fee for the filing. If your state requests an SR-22 filing, you will have to pay the fee for as long as the filing is required.

This fee isn’t huge, but it can tack another $25 to $50 onto your already high premiums.

One decision can affect you for over a decade. Make sure that you think twice before making the mistake again or the consequences will be even worse. If your policy is being canceled or you want to shop around, use an online rate comparison tool now.

Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto insurance and home insurance with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?”

Before making any big insurance decisions, use our free tool to compare insurance quotes near you. It’s simple, just plug in your zip code and we’ll do the rest!

See how much you can pay with standard and sub-standard companies and find the most feasible option. Enter your zip code in our FREE quote tool below to compare car insurance rates now!