Driving while under the influence is illegal in all 50 states. If you are caught by law enforcement, you could face jail time, fines, and license suspension. If you are convicted of a DUI, many states will suspend your driving privileges for at least a year and put it on your driving record for much longer. As with any traffic offense, a DUI ticket will also have a significant impact on your car insurance rates as well.
Getting a DUI makes it harder to find affordable car insurance as it could raise your rates by as much as 96 percent. This means that if you were paying the average rate in the U.S. of $1,600 per year, your premium could be as much as $3,136 following a DUI offense. Most states require that drivers have a minimum amount of liability insurance to operate legally. Even if you didn’t purchase full coverage on your vehicle, you would still have to pay a significant amount for basic liability coverage.
Based on DUI crashes and accident statistics, insurance companies impose higher rates for a DUI offense because they believe that you are a high-risk driver. An auto insurance company anticipates and accounts for risk, and a DUI is seen as very high-risk driving activity. With that being said, however, a DUI on your record doesn’t mean that you can’t find affordable insurance. You can still find cheap car insurance with DUI points on your record with some research and planning.
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Insurance companies have different formulas and methods for calculating risks. Not all companies consider a DUI in the same way or with the same penalties. For example, Allstate showed an average increase of $1,746 after a DUI offense, while USAA increased its rates by $805. While you can expect higher rates following a DUI conviction, it will help to shop around. You don’t have to pay over $3,000 a year for insurance premiums due to one DUI.
Additionally, you might also look into the policies of various companies as they all have varying rules. This will help you determine exactly how long you can expect to pay higher rates with each company. It will be beneficial to shop around again three to five years after a DUI as rates tend to drop after this period without any other infractions.
Having a DUI offense on your driving record will likely disqualify you for any good driver or safe driving discounts for a while. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other discounts that you might take advantage of. For instance, many insurance companies offer discounts for multi-car policies or bundled auto and home plans. You might also qualify for discounts based on the available safety features in your vehicle. Additionally, many insurers now offer rate decreases to drivers who are willing to place a tracking device inside their car to monitor driving habits. Even with a DUI, you can still look for rate discounts that might help you get cheaper car insurance.
Following a DUI conviction, your driving record could take a hit for several years. As discussed, this will cause insurance companies to see you as a higher-risk driver. To avoid any further rate increases or driver’s license points, you should strive to maintain a clean driving record going forward. A DUI won’t impact your rates forever, but any other traffic violations or accidents could further raise your rates and keep them higher for a longer period of time.
Getting a DUI will probably mean that you have to higher rates for car insurance. With some time and research, however, you can compare insurance companies and look for discounts that could lower your rates until your driving record is clean again.
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