How Does a DUI Conviction Affect Your Auto Insurance Rate?
The decision to drink and drive is one you should never make. You are not completely yourself when you are intoxicated, which means bad judgement and putting yourself and others in danger.
Drinking and driving will put you at risk of being arrested and convicted for DUI. What does this mean? If you are stopped by the police while drinking and driving and fail preliminary sobriety field testing, you may be arrested and taken to the local jail. You may spend the night in jail and be charged with DUI and have a court hearing set to determine your guilt, and if found guilty, to determine the criminal penalty that will be imposed on you.
Will getting arrested and convicted for DUI affect my auto insurance rate?
One common question people ask is whether an arrest and conviction for DUI will affect his or her auto insurance rate. The answer is, most likely yes*. Because of the high risks of causing personal injury to yourself and others and property damage to your vehicle, and the vehicles and property of others, auto insurance companies will now see you as a high-risk person to insure.
How much will my rate increase?
For a DUI conviction, your auto insurance premium may significantly increase (depending on your state, premium increases are roughly 30 to 370 percent on average according to insurance.com). This means if you normally paid $100 per month for car insurance before your DUI conviction, you could now be paying as much as $194 per month afterwards as a result of your DUI conviction. These premium rate increases are set by your auto insurance company based on their determination of your risk level. Even after three years, and assuming you have had no re-occurrences for DUI nor any other motor vehicle infractions, your premiums may still be much higher than they were before your DUI conviction.
Will my rate ever go back to normal?
On average, companies will charge you about 80 percent more than your original premium rates according to insurance.com. As you can see, the financial burden does not end when you pay off your fine. Your car insurance rates will likely be much more for years to come, even if you keep your driving record clean.
In conclusion, the only way to avoid this great increase in your auto insurance premiums for the reasons stated above is to avoid drinking and driving altogether. If you drink and drive, it is only a matter of time before you are caught by the police and charged with a criminal offense. Remember, every time you get behind the wheel of a car after drinking, you are putting your life and the lives of others on the line. For a summary of State DUI laws, penalties and collateral consequences, view them here under your state and local laws.