Finding car insurance after a DUI
Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com
If you’ve had a DUI or DWI conviction, you already know that it causes difficulty and financial stress. After it’s all over, you want to get on with your life, and that hopefully includes getting back on the road — safely.
Finding insurance after a DUI can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. It is going to cost you more money, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for the cheapest car insurance after a DUI. Every insurer has a different formula for determining premiums, so you will get a variety of quotes.
How does a DUI affect car insurance rates?
The bad news is that your insurance costs will increase after a DUI or DWI, because it puts you in the “high risk driver” category for insurers. Insurers reward good drivers with lower rates, and they assume that if you’ve had a DUI, you are more likely to be involved in an accident. Roughly 28 percent of car accidents involve alcohol, so they have good reasons to think that.
How much rates increase varies from company to company and state to state. Progressive, for example, says that they raise rates 6 percent after one DUI. Other companies may increase rates significantly more, even doubling the cost of your monthly premium.
You will still need car insurance after your DUI: it’s required by law in all states except New Hampshire, which strongly encourages it. You’ll need to meet your state’s minimum requirements and may want to consider additional collision, comprehensive or other coverage options. Whatever you choose, expect to pay a higher cost than before your DUI.
How to find car insurance after a DUI
With some diligent searching, you should be able to find car insurance after a DUI. Here are some tips to help you in your search:
- Don’t wait to start your search: Because it may take you a little while to find a good, inexpensive policy, start your search as early as possible after you receive the DUI.
- Get multiple quotes: The first company you get a quote from may not be the most inexpensive option. Don’t get discouraged if an insurer won’t give you a quote because of your DUI. There are others that will.
- Call a local agent: If you can’t get a quote from a company’s online quote tool, don’t assume that the company won’t insure you. It’s worth a phone call to a local agent to see if they can help you.
- Evaluate your coverage: A DUI stays on your record anywhere from 3-15 years, depending on your state and prior record, so consider reassessing your insurance costs after that period has passed — your rates may go down at that point.
- See if you need an SR-22: Be aware after a DUI in most states you or your insurer will be required to file a form called an SR-22 (in Florida and Virginia, it’s called an FR-44) with the DMV or Department of Insurance. This form is proof that you have the minimum required insurance for your state. When you’re shopping for insurance, ask your agent how they handle these forms.
These tips will help you find the lowest possible rates.
What to do if you get turned down for insurance after a DUI
If you are a high risk driver, you may have to turn to an insurer that specializes in people who have had DUIs or are poor driving risks for other reasons. Some larger insurers, like Progressive, offer policies tailored for these drivers. Googling “car insurance high risk drivers” will give you some good options to start out with.
Another option is to see if your state has an “assigned risk” program to provide last resort car insurance for people who are hard to insure. The website of your state’s insurance department should give you more information about these programs.
Tips for rebounding from a DUI
A DUI doesn’t mean things will be the same forever. Here are tips to move on:
- Sign up for a defensive driving course: Organizations such as AAA offer these programs, and you may be able to take one online. This shows the insurance company that you’re taking steps to improve your driving; some companies offer a discount if you’ve taken one.
- Get the help you need: If your DUI was the result of a one-time slip, you’ve probably resolved to never allow it to happen again. But if alcohol is a continuing problem for you, there are organizations that can help you. If you’re not comfortable with those, consider talking to a trusted friend or mentor to see what steps you can take to handle your situation.
- Find other transportation: If you have lost your license, look at your region’s public transportation options. Driving again will be expensive, and you may save money even if you have to rely on a bus or train or even Uber or another rideshare program.
- Consider other options: Non-owner car insurance may be a good first step back into the driving world for you. This insurance gives you liability coverage. It works if you don’t own a car, whether you’re driving a rental or borrowing a car from a friend or family member. Many insurers offer it, and it generally costs less than if you own a car.
By following these tips, it will be easier to recover.
A DUI can seem like the end of the world, but it’s possible to rebuild and get back behind the wheel with some work.
- A DUI can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees and leave you without a license.
- Although your insurance cost will go up, it’s possible to find relatively inexpensive insurance options through regular and specialty insurers.
- It pays to get help if you need it and follow court and state mandates to repair your credit and reputation, so you can drive freely again.
Getting a DUI is an expensive ordeal that may have lasting consequences, but it doesn’t mean your driving days are over. Many insurers will still be willing to write you a policy, especially if you’ve only got one judgement against you, but it will probably cost more than it did before your DUI.
To find inexpensive car insurance after a DUI, do online and phone research to find out who will give you the best prices. Taking a defensive driving course, getting help if you need it and considering public transportation are a few of the ways you can handle the aftermath of your DUI.