Insurance companies typically don’t offer coverage for driving under the influence. You won’t be insured for something that is against the law. Because of this, DUI insurance is an unofficial name.
“DUI” is usually just placed in front of it to identify the specific incident. But, there are some scenarios where mistakes happen. When they do, there are personalized car insurance options and steps in order to get you legally insured and licensed to drive again.
If you get a DUI, then you are a high-risk driver in the eyes of insurance companies, and shopping for insurance may prove difficult. At the very same time, you have your driving record, insurance rates, and legal coverage to organize and file through. It’s a lengthy, complicated process that requires knowledge of insurance, state laws, and a lot of comparing different insurance options.
The following is a comprehensive guide on what having a DUI means for you, your insurance, your license, your driving record, and the legal implications for your conviction.
In the state, I live in, what legally constitutes a DUI?
DUIs (OWIs in certain states) are charged against anyone who has been found driving under the influence.
Alcohol is the universal substance for driving while drunk and is illegal to consume before or while operating a vehicle or heavy machinery in all 50 states.
In states with recreational cannabis, driving while high legally constitute a DUI according to state laws. Other prohibited substances behind the wheel include any and all illegal drugs and certain over-the-counter prescriptions.
Operating while intoxicated (OWI) is another term for operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08. Some states may have different limits than others.
However they are classified, a DUI is a criminal offense that can result in hefty fines, losing your driver’s license, and your insurance company raising your rates or dropping you altogether.
Community service, probation, or jail time are some of the legal penalties you can be sentenced to depending on the severity of your DUI or if you have a history of them. At the very least, for a first offense, the resulting penalty for a DUI would be a fine and a temporary license suspension. Driving courses or an ignition interlock device may also be required in some DUI cases.
So, what can a DUI do to my auto insurance?
Naturally, a DUI conviction will cause your auto rates to skyrocket. Not just that, but your insurance company may drop you as a policyholder.
As a high-risk driver, many insurance companies will want to charge you their highest rates.
Here’s what happens with auto coverage once a driver becomes high-risk or nonstandard after a DUI:
- Heavily increased rates. Becoming a high-risk driver can not only strain your reliability with your insurance company but can result in an increase in your premiums by an average of 80% or $1,163. You’d be stuck with this increase for at least three years.
- Ineligible for safe driver discounts. Any safe driving discounts that your insurance company offers are no longer available since you’ve been designated as a high-risk driver.
- The insurance company must payout. Accidents caused by drunk driving account for one-third of traffic deaths. Insurance companies must pay out enormous amounts to all affected parties in the cases of damage, injuries, and even death.
- The insurance company can drop you. Some insurance companies can’t outright cancel your policy in the event of a DUI. Instead, they may opt not to renew your policy when the time comes for it.
We just talked about car insurance. What are the legal ramifications of a DUI?
The negativity is about to stop, but you should be aware of the legal consequences of driving under the influence.
Criminal penalties for a DUI may include hefty fines, jail time, or driver’s license suspension (permanent or temporary).
The court may also order you to be enrolled in alcoholic anonymous meetings, safe driving courses, community service, or an ignition interlock device to be installed on your car.
State laws often vary on how severe the penalty may be. Typically, repeat offenders are given substantial prison time, permanent license suspension, and fines. DUI offenses stay on your driving record for up to ten years at most.
Not the best news. Is there anything I can do to get back on the road with affordable car insurance after a DUI?
Now it’s time to talk about what to do and how an insurance company can help you when it comes to DUI insurance. There’s no such thing as driving uninsured. State laws always require a minimum insurance requirement.
After your DUI, your license has been suspended, your insurance policy raised or dropped, and you’ve resolved all the state penalties. It’s only your first offense, so getting back on the road won’t be impossible, but it will be difficult.
We’ll be covering how to;
- How to find the best auto insurance after a DUI. Post-DUI incident, you’ll more than likely subject to increased rates or coverage drop. If that’s the case, you’ll want your insurance to be affordable again. Fortunately, you may have a couple of policies to compare that offer high-risk driver coverage-sometimes at a discounted cost after a DUI.
- How to renew your suspended driver’s license. To have your license reinstated, you’ll require an SR-22 form with your state’s department of motor vehicles. The process is a joint operation between the insurance company and the DMV, which you’ll have to visit.
- How a DUI will affect your driving record. A DUI offense could be on your driving record for an average of 3 to 5 years. Some states like California may keep them on record for up to 10. This may make the two points mentioned above tricky.
- What kind of auto coverage is provided after a DUI. The policies that insure a vehicle and driver with a DUI are different from standard ones. Literally, a driver with a DUI is classified as a “nonstandard driver.” For drivers of that nature, they would be covered by a minimum liability policy.
SR-22 car insurance? What is that?
The SR-22 is a type of coverage for drivers with below-par records. Multiple collisions and a DUI are the most common reasons to file one. The SR-22 policy acts as a certification of financial responsibilities for your own insurance. It also satisfies the minimum required car insurance in each state.
SR-22 goes by a couple of other names depending on the state-FR-44 or FR-19-and is required by the DMV in order to reinstate your license. It’s a double win having SR-22 coverage since you’d be able to get back on the road in an insured vehicle and legal license.
Is there anything else the state requires for DUI insurance?
Before looking for new insurance following a DUI, review your state’s minimum insurance requirement laws. The minimum car insurance policy provides auto coverage, but you will still need the minimum liability insurance.
There’s three of them in fact:
- Bodily injury liability per person. Injury liability coverage covers the other party you became involved in an at-fault accident. The minimum liability coverage per person is at least $25,000.
- Bodily injury liability per accident. This liability would cover an accident if there were multiple people affected. The minimum liability coverage per accident is $50,000.
- Property damage liability. As the name suggests, property damage liability covers the repairs to someone else’s vehicle or property on account of damage you caused. The minimum requirement for this coverage is $25,000.
- Other required insurance. While not mandatory in every state, some have additional requirements for minimum insurance. Personal injury protection insurance may be required on your part, which would cover you in the event of an accident. If you’re not insured, then uninsured motorist coverage might be required by the state.
I can no longer use my insurance company after the DUI. How do I shop for the most affordable car insurance?
Whether your insurance premiums have become too high or the company dropped you, you’ll want and need affordable policies.
Shopping around for auto insurance begins with getting a quote from companies with the best rates for high-risk drivers. Remember to always look around for discounts. You may not be eligible for safe driver or low-risk discounts, but there are bundles of home and auto insurance that can offer a discount.
Call your insurance agent to find out more. Your own insurance company may offer some of the aforementioned insurance. It goes without saying that if you want to qualify for regular driver insurance rates and not high risk, you would have to form safer driving habits.
I have car insurance figured out. Now, how do I renew my driver’s license?
At this point, you know what the required minimum policy is and why it’s required for renewing a suspended license after a DUI.
In DUI cases, the first opportunity you will have to get your license back is at your mandatory hearing within 30 days of the incident. Often the reissued license may be restricted. To receive a reissued license, you’ll have to be in a legally approved DUI program, proof of financial responsibility for your insurance, and a reissue fee to the DMV that you must pay.
I wasn’t able to get insurance after a DUI. What do I do?
You may have been able to get your license reinstated but were denied car insurance for whatever reason. Insurance companies may be hesitant to provide coverage for drivers with multiple auto convictions.
However, some states offer programs to provide the minimum required amount of liability insurance. This is what’s known as “assigned risk.” This option is usually reserved for the highest risk drivers with less than stellar driving reviews and multiple violations. Because of this, assigned risk plans are a pricey liability coverage. You should weigh all your available options before resorting to this type of policy.
You mentioned other types of insurance and methods that could cover and help get high-risk drivers legally back on the road.
After a DUI, there’s more to consider than just the cost of the insurance. You may ask yourself whether or not you can afford to go without a car of your own for a period of time.
If that’s the case, then non-owner insurance may be your best bet if you rent or borrow a car. It covers the minimum liability insurance requirement for motor travel and can cost anywhere between $200 to $500 annually.
You wouldn’t be covered for collisions or damage to the car since the policy doesn’t cover any specific vehicle. States may also require you to have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. This is another liability coverage that satisfies the state minimum insurance requirement.
Yes, it seems like a stretch, but it is possible to legally get back on the road after a DUI. Insurance companies anticipate mistakes such as this and offer services like proof of financial responsibility and high-risk insurance. It’s not only possible but can be affordable.
At the end of the day, the best you can do is never letting it happen again. It’s a day one lesson- please drive safely and smartly for lower insurance rates.