Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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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

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Major violations like driving under the influence can cause rates to skyrocket
  • You may even lose your drivers license if found guilty of DUI
  • If you are able to keep your license, you will be required to file an SR-22 with the DMV

Your driving record plays a major role in how much you will ultimately pay for your car insurance.

Minor violations can lead to high rates, but major violations for offenses like driving under the influence can lead to even higher rates.

Read this guide to purchasing auto insurance after a DUI, and budget for the cost before your rates skyrocket.

Be sure to use the FREE comparison search tool above to get started! Simply enter your zip code in the box above!

Table of Contents

Why does a DUI conviction affect auto insurance rates?


Driving Under the Influence is a serious moving violation where you can face very serious penalties.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, the first thing you need to do is learn about the court process and the monetary and non-monetary penalties you can be assessed.

If you are able to keep your license, you will be required to file an SR-22 with the DMV.

Now that you know that purchasing insurance is a must, it is time to research how much you can expect to pay for insurance coverage in the near future.

The cost of insurance for drivers who have a DUI can be extremely high. The actual cost of coverage depends entirely on your age and other risk factors.

Based on the statistics gathered by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, more than 300,000 people drive intoxicated daily and only 4000 of these drivers are arrested.

The rest of the intoxicated drivers left on the roadways are leaving everyone around them at risk. This is why impaired driving accounts for one-third of all of the traffic deaths reported each year.

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Insurance Rates and Risk

Insurance rates are all about risk factors. The more risk that a driver presents, the more that their coverage will cost. There are a variety of situations that can land you in a high-risk driver class.

Having no prior insurance, multiple tickets, or a major violation will lead to high-risk rates even if the actual cause does not cost the insurer money.

With so much risk associated with people who drive impaired, it can get expensive to buy coverage.

In a marketplace where prices are related so closely to risk and probability, you can see why a violation can raise your premiums even if you do not file a claim for damages.

When will my rates go up?

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A DUI is a costly mistake even if there are no damages or injuries. The total costs can range between $7,000 and $20,000.

Not only do you have to pay a fine, attorney fees, the cost of a driver education class, restitution, and the cost to do community service, you will also be required to pay high insurance rates for an extended period of time.

After a DUI arrest, many people are surprised to find that their insurance bill has not gone up the next month or even the next renewal.

What a majority of people who have driven impaired do not know is that your rates will not go up until after you have been convicted of the charge.

Those who are never convicted will never see a rate increase.

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Your Rates at Renewal

Believe it or not, some insurance companies may not even run your motor vehicle record at your renewal. If this happens, it could take 1 to 2 renewals for the rate increase to show up.

This does not always happen because in most states you will have to file an SR-22 with your insurer.

Asking to file this SR-22 so that the DMV can see that your coverage is always maintained will be like a red flag that tells your insurer to run your motor vehicle record as soon as the policy is up for renewal.

Until that time you will continue to pay your low rates that do not include the DUI surcharge.

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Rate Increases and Other Risk Factors


There is not just one universal equation that will help you determine how much your rates will change with your current insurer because all insurers adopt their own rating systems.

Not only can the surcharge for the violation be different between providers, other rating factors can increase your rates even more.

For example, a young male driver under the age of 25 with a DUI may see a larger rate increase

In addition, your rate may also be higher if you ride a motorcycle, you have a vehicle with a poor safety record, or you drive high mileage compared to the average person.

The most effective way to price your increase is to quote the cost of insurance with other insurers.

What is the average rate increase?

Your insurance premiums could triple once the insurer sees a DUI conviction. The cost of the increase depends on the state that you live in and your rating class at the time.

If you are receiving a preferred driver or good driver discount, you will lose this discount and the blow will be harder because you will go from preferred to high-risk.

In this case, you could pay 3 to 4 times more for your insurance.

If you do not have these discounts, you can expect your rate to go up by an average of 95 percent. The insurance rate hikes can truly be sobering.

The cost is so high because the data shows that someone who is arrested of DUI is very likely to get arrested again within the next 5 years.

How long will your rates be high?


Even if the insurer is not surcharging your policy after 3 years, the conviction stays on your record for 10 years. This can affect your ability to receive discounts for your driving and also to buy coverage from some companies.

Be sure to ask your insurer how long your insurance premiums will be elevated and when you will qualify for Good Driver discounts again. The agent should be able to give you a detailed answer.

If you have been convicted of a DUI, you should know that not all insurance companies will extend coverage to you.

Using an online rate comparison system can give you access to quotes with several companies. Enter your zip code below to get started!