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If you have a recent DUI on your driving record, it can be pretty challenging to find affordable car insurance. However, if you shop around, it’s possible to find reasonable DUI insurance rates.
How Does A DUI Affect Insurance Rates?
According to NerdWallet, after you get caught drinking and driving, you can expect to see your car insurance rates increase by more than 75 percent. That means you’ll end up paying hundreds of dollars more a year for insurance. If you’re a 40-year-old driver with a previously clean driving record, you can expect to pay, on average:
- $2531 annually for full coverage. That’s after an increase of $1104.
- $1079 annually for minimum coverage. That’s after an increase of $473.
As Insurance.com points out, car companies have to pay vast sums of money for bodily injury, property damage, and death benefits because of drunk driving. If the other driver involved files a lawsuit against the DUI offender, the offender’s insurance company must pay legal fees if the offender has liability coverage. The risks and costs associated with drunk driving are why insurance companies raise rates on DUI offenders.
What Happens After a DUI?
The Zebra notes that, on top of raised rates, there are other consequences of having a DUI on your record. After a DUI, the following could happen:
- Your insurance company could drop you. While your insurance provider can’t legally cancel you immediately after a DUI, they can refuse to renew your coverage after your policy expires.
- You could pay exorbitant rates for years to come. After the initial rate increase, you can expect to pay an increased premium for at least three years. In some states, your insurance company will continue to charge you more for as long as the DUI stays on your record.
- You may have to file an SR-22, FR-44, or FR-19. Depending on what state you live in, you or your insurance company may have to file an additional form as proof that your coverage meets your state’s required minimum for coverage.
How Do Insurance Companies Find Out About DUIs?
According to WalletHub, there are a few ways that an insurance company can find out that you’ve engaged in drinking and driving. If your state requires you to file an SR-22 to prove that you meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements, they either mandate that your insurance company endorses the form or files it directly on your behalf. Your insurance company will know you have a DUI when you ask them to file the SR-22.
If your insurance company accesses your motor vehicle report, that’s another way they can find out you have a DUI. Depending on the insurance company, they may check your record multiple times a year or only once a year. You can usually count on your provider to check your report when your policy comes up for renewal. That means that even if your insurance company doesn’t know about your DUI yet, they’ll eventually find out at some point.
WalletHub recommends that you tell your insurance company about your DUI as soon as possible. If they have to find out about the DUI from your motor vehicle report, they could hold that against you and cancel your policy. An out-of-the-blue cancellation can cause a gap in coverage, resulting in you having to pay even higher rates when you get another policy. While you still might be at risk for cancellation, if you tell your insurance company about your DUI instead of waiting for them to find out about it, you’ll have time to find alternative coverage.
How to Find Affordable Insurance After a DUI
If your current provider refuses to renew your policy after a DUI, you’ll have to buy a policy from another provider. While finding affordable insurance after a DUI is challenging, it isn’t impossible. According to ValuePenguin, here’s what you should do after a DUI:
- Start searching for insurance quotes as soon as possible. By starting your search immediately, you’ll have time to compare quotes and find a new policy before your current policy expires. If your current provider doesn’t renew your policy, you’ll already have a new policy lined up, and you can avoid coverage gaps.
- Use comparison tools. When you use a comparison tool, you can compare multiple insurance companies at once, saving valuable time.
- Get multiple quotes. Because each insurance company uses its own formula to calculate rates, prices can vary wildly between providers. Gathering multiple quotes is the only way to ensure that you get the lowest price.
- Shop again in three to five years. Insurance rates tend to drop within three to five years after a DUI. When you gather quotes again, you may find that your current company is no longer the least expensive.
Insurance Alternatives After a DUI
As NerdWallet points out, even if you can find affordable quotes, you may not be able to purchase your preferred insurance policy. Many traditional insurance companies will refuse to take on the risk of insuring a driver with a DUI on their record. However, some companies specialize in policies for high-risk drivers. If you keep getting turned down by traditional providers, you may want to turn to one of these specialty companies. Keep in mind that these specialty insurers charge even higher rates than conventional providers.
Another alternative is your state’s high-risk insurance pool. To start, consult the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office to find out how to enroll in your particular state. Each state has a program designed to help high-risk drivers meet their state’s insurance requirements so that they legally get back on the road.
How to Bounce Back From a DUI
After you find alternative insurance, you can start to rebuild your driving record. ValuePenguin suggests you take the following steps:
- Make sure you comply with your state’s SR-22 requirements.
- Don’t let it happen again because the consequences of a second DUI are even more serious.
- Consider alternate transportation. Using a taxi or Uber might be cheaper than paying for insurance and fees related to restoring your driver’s license.
- Consider available discounts. If you’re able to get traditional insurance, consider bundling your homeowners policy and car insurance policy for a considerable discount.
Remember, it isn’t impossible to restore your driving record and your reputation with insurance companies after a DUI. If you make an effort to research insurance alternatives and improve your driving habits, you’ll be back on track in no time.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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