If you get pulled over for drinking and driving, you may be staring down a future suspended driver’s license and a rough road filled with court appearances and fines. You may also find that your auto insurance company will drop you or that you will need to pay much higher rates for insurance coverage.
Yup, one big mistake can cost you a lot. This is why — if you find yourself in this unfortunate position — it’s a good idea to shop around for the lowest possible insurance rates. And, if you lose your driver’s license for a period of time, it’s important to know that you often cannot get it reinstated without proof of insurance.
What you need to know about insurance when you have a DUI
A conviction for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated (DUI or DWI) can directly impact your insurance rates. That’s because the DUI becomes part of your driving record and insurers will often consider you a high risk driver. This, in turn, means the amount you pay for insurance will go up — sometimes markedly so. And, in some cases, your current insurance company won’t renew your coverage at all or you will be denied coverage by a new insurer due to your driving violation, according to Progressive, one of the nation’s largest auto insurance companies.
Progressive and many other insurances companies will also insure you with a DUI but, again, be prepared for higher rates. To give you a sense of how much more it will cost you for insurance after a DUI, we ran some numbers using a hypothetical scenario with a 35-year-old male living in Massachusetts and driving a 2013 Ford SUV about 15,000-25,000 miles per year. We took into consideration that this man currently carried Progressive insurance and was seeking basic insurance coverage, which would include: $50k/$100k bodily injury, $25k property damage, $50k/$100k uninsured motorist coverage, a $500 deductible, and some other coverages.
With a clean driving record, our hypothetical insurance-seeker got the following top three quotes from an online quoting engine. These are ranked in order of cost with the least expensive listed first:
When adding in a DUI for alcohol in January 2016, the least expensive options for the same coverage are now:
As you can see, the rates vary markedly, yet they are all higher with a DUI. Progressive, which was the current carrier under this scenario, rose the least, but this man would be paying about double for other options when compared to the same coverage with a clean driving record. This is why it’s important to shop around — especially when a DUI may be setting you back financially in more ways than just insurance.
Want your license back?
In some states you may need both proof of insurance and a certificate of financial responsibility in order to get your license back. Typically these statements of responsibility are called SR-22 forms, or FR-44 in Virginia and Florida. Either the court will notify you that you need this, or you will likely be notified by your state’s department of motor vehicles.
You can either file the form manually through your state, or your insurance provider may be able to electronically file it for you. The filing cost is around $25 and depending on the type of DUI offense, an SR-22 or FR-44 will typically remain on file for two to five years, according to Esurance.
Geico, Progressive and Esurance are among the insurers that will help you navigate the SR-22 filing process. It’s important to note that your DUI, and not the SR-22, is the real reason for your insurance rate hikes. To learn more about getting the best coverage and lowest rates after a DUI, it’s recommended that you call your insurance company and then comparison shop.
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