In Plain English
Posted on: Jun 03, 2015
Short Version—It Gets Pricier & Tougher to Manage. Let Us Help.
There’s just no other way to say it: getting behind the wheel after drinking is a terrible choice. But chances are, if you’re reading this, you or someone you care about has already made that choice—and suffered its consequences. We hope you didn’t hurt anyone else, or yourself, and we hope we can help you better navigate your insurance changes post-DUI or DWI.*
What Happens To My Insurance After?
- Your rates could jump—or they could skyrocket.
Companies estimate that your post-DUI rates could increase by anywhere between 30 – 100 percent—or even more. The reason? Your auto insurance rate is seriously affected by your driving record. If you’ve got a DUI on your record, insurance companies might (read: very likely will) see you as a high-risk driver, and charge you accordingly.
- Your car insurance company might drop you all together.
Though they can’t legally cancel your policy as soon as they know about the incident, they can decide not to renew your coverage once your current policy expires.
- You might be paying more for years to come.
It varies state-by-state, but expect to shell out an increased premium for at least three years. In some states, the premium will remain inflated as long as the DUI remains on file. You can find out how long that is here.
- You’ll probably have to file an SR-22, FR-44, or FR-19.
After a DUI, your state might require you to file one of these forms in order to prove that you’re insured before they let you back on the road. SR-22’s are also referred to as “statements of financial responsibility,” and they’re usually filed by your insurance company or agency on your behalf. You may not have to file an SR-22; again, that depends on incidental factors around the accident. Find out much more about SR22's here.
I Understand the Auto-Insurance Related Consequences. Now What Do I Do From Here?
Two words: shop around. Yes your rates will be affected negatively and some carriers won't cover you at all, but you may just end up surprised at how affordable your options could be. Use thezebra.com to compare estimates, because you never know which company might have the best post-DUI rate for you—it might be one you’ve never heard of before.
*Though DUI, which stands for driving under the influence, and DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated, sound like they mean the same thing, some states actually define them as separate crimes, legally. Generally speaking, the DUI is a lesser charge, but it depends where you live: Some states have a zero tolerance policy for drunk driving, where any blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit (.08%) is a crime, no matter what. These states do not distinguish between DUI and DWI. For the purposes of this article, we will refer to DUI meaning both DUI and DWI. If you have any questions about what you’ve been charged with, check with your local authorities.