According to statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 1.5 million people annually are arrested for driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs (or sometimes both). DUIs also cause many social problems and a wide range of issues for those arrested for driving while impaired. The bottom line is that a DUI conviction will hurt you in many ways, including that your car insurance may become much more expensive.
DUIs and Insurance Rates
A DUI conviction will increase what you pay for car insurance in almost every instance, and sometimes significantly so. Consider that Lending Tree’s “Value Penguin” website says if you have a DUI, you’re likely to pay twice the rate for auto insurance coverage than you did before. The site found that, on average, those convicted of a DUI saw their car insurance payments rise by 72%.
Expert opinion varies slightly in terms of how long a DUI conviction could affect your insurance premiums. However, suppose a DUI ends up landing on your shoulders. In that case, you should plan on your insurance rates being higher for at least several years. In some states, a DUI may even affect your insurance for five years or more.
Why DUI Matters
DUI matters for many reasons: For one, you put yourself and others in danger whenever you drive under the influence. Also, once you earn a conviction for driving under the influence, your insurer will most likely find out about it from your state’s motor vehicle department. After your insurer knows about your DUI, expect your insurance to become expensive.
Pricing in Risk
All insurers consider drivers with a DUI on their record to pose a greater risk of accident and injury to themselves and others. Auto insurers almost always price risk into the policies they issue to customers. On average, a DUI will increase the price of your auto insurance by $1,657 annually as of 2021.
Rate Increases Vary
The Value Penguin website says that your car insurance will double if you receive a DUI conviction in any one of five certain states. In North Carolina, your premiums may even quadruple. As of 2021, Michigan auto insurance rates after a single DUI typically rise by nearly $10,000 per year, which is a nation-leading rate spike. By contrast, a single DUI conviction in Pennsylvania appears to raise insurance rates by “only” $625 annually.
DUI Assessment Factors
Besides the DUI itself, insurers usually take a variety of factors into account when pricing your insurance once you have a conviction for driving under the influence, including:
- Age: If you’re younger, your insurance premiums after a DUI may be steeper than someone older.
- Time: How long in the past your DUI conviction was is important to insurers. If your DUI was very recent, expect higher insurance premiums. If it’s been more than 35 or 36 months since your DUI, your insurance rates may not be affected at all.
- Number of DUIs: If you have multiple DUIs within three years showing on your driving record, you’re going to pay more for insurance than if you had a single DUI conviction.
Avoid Impaired Driving
The simplest solution to avoiding an increase in insurance after a DUI — something that will affect your insurance and career, and personal life — is not to drive while under the influence. Insurers will price your DUI into your now-costly insurance rates for three to five years, and a conviction may remain on your driving record for five to ten years. Always drive your motor vehicle responsibly because when you do so, you avoid the prospect of extreme costs, such as state and municipal DUI fines as well as steep attorney fees.