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How does a DUI affect your insurance?

If you are convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), there are consequences reaching beyond the state judicial system. Aside from the personal and social trauma that you may experience, how you obtain or retain your car insurance will be impacted.

In general, if convicted, you may face jail time and substantial fines, especially if you are a repeat offender. State laws and regulations vary, as do the consequences. If you are a first-time DUI offender, most states will mandate a probationary period of approximately three years. However, in some states, your conviction could remain on file for longer.

You may also be required to complete a DUI course. The purpose of this course is to deter future DUI convictions through education.

Impact of a DUI

Depending on your history and the severity of the offense, some of the impacts including, but not limited to:
  • Fine
  • Jail time
  • License suspension or restriction
  • Mandatory DUI program
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Ignition interlock device
  • AA meetings
  • Vehicle impound
Are DWI and OWI the same as a DUI?
Essentially, yes. DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) are criminal offenses involving operating a vehicle with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above the state limit. States vary in how these terms are used and many times, these terms are used interchangeably.

Trouble getting coverage
If you are convicted of DUI, you may have trouble obtaining coverage. Drivers who are convicted of DUI are usually considered high-risk or nonstandard drivers and not all car insurance carriers offer nonstandard car insurance. Even when you find a company offering coverage, you may end up paying much more in premiums than drivers without a DUI conviction.

If you can’t afford to pay the increased rates for car insurance, you have several options; however, driving without insurance is not one of them. Consider public transportation, walking or biking. Also, consider purchasing a Dairyland Auto non-owner car insurance policy, with an attached SR22 financial responsibility filing, if you do not own a vehicle, but may need to drive from time to time.

SR22 Financial Responsibility Filing
Often, a driver with a DUI conviction may be required to have a financial responsibility filing with the state which proves the driver has the minimum required motor vehicle liability insurance. These are typically know as an SR22 or FR44 filing. When you purchase your auto insurance, the insurance company will give you this form as well as send a copy to the state. Many states accept the filing electronically when the purchase is completed. Note that some insurance companies charge you for this filing, we do not charge for this service. See here for more details of what an SR22 is.

Driver history
When determining the appropriate policy and rates for a driver who has a DUI conviction on his or her record, insurance companies may take into account more than just the DUI. They may also look at your driving history for speeding tickets, lapses in insurance coverage, multiple car accidents or excessive insurance claims.

Non-Owner Car Insurance
If you don’t own a car, and you need a state financial responsibility filing, a Non-Owner insurance policy could be the option you need.

How can I get my license back?
Most states require a mandatory hearing within a 30-day period of the offense. At this hearing, you may get your license back; however, it may be a restricted license. Getting a restricted license generally requires three actions on your behalf:
  • Show proof of enrollment in an approved DUI program
  • Show proof of financial responsibility. (Depending on your state, an SR22 or a FR44)
  • Pay a re-issue fee to the state licensing department
  • Consult the appropriate court or an attorney where you live for specific requirements
What is an ignition interlock device?
When a driver is convicted of multiple DUI offenses or per court order, an ignition interlock device may be installed in his or her vehicle. This device measures the BAC of the driver and will not allow the car to start if the driver’s BAC is over the state’s legal limit or the limit the court has set on the device.