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Does a DUI Affect Your Auto Insurance?

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A DUI is expensive. There are court fees, fines, and license reinstatement fees. However, there’s another fee that you may not be aware of- an increase in your auto insurance. Here’s a look at how a DUI can impact your insurance.

The Cost of an SR-22

When you are found guilty of drunk driving, there’s a lot of paperwork to take care of. One of those papers is the SR-22. The SR-22 (or Certificate of Financial Responsibility) is a form that you file with the Department of Motor Vehicles and is required for people with DUI charged in most states. When you fill out the form, it certifies that you have the minimum level of insurance or more. And although auto insurance is necessary for anyone on the road, an SR-22 isn’t necessary for drivers without DUIs. Other individuals who need to file an SR-22 may have been in an accident without insurance, a suspended license, or repeat traffic offenses.

Filing the SR-22 isn’t free. Although it only costs about $25 (it varies from state to state), it does impact the cost of your insurance. People who file SR-22s often face higher insurance rates. And they face those rates for at least three years, which is the length of time you need to have SR-22 insurance.

Auto Insurance Increase

For your SR-22 to be valid, you need to process it with an insurance company that is recognized by your state. The insurance company can help you file, but they will charge you more for your insurance. They consider anyone with an SR-22 a high risk, so insurance doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the monthly premium may be between three and five times more than the premium of someone with a clean record.

That high premium doesn’t just disappear. You will be tied to high auto insurance rates until the SR-22 drops from your record, which can take between three and seven years. Only after that will your insurance go back to normal.

What factors can affect the increase?

There’s no standard rate of increase for individuals guilty of driving under the influence. There are various factors that can affect how much the auto insurance increases.

1. How many DUIs/DWIs you have

If you have more than one DUI on your record, you might face a steep increase. Meanwhile, a first-time offender might face a more gradual increase. With GEICO, a four-time offender in Utah would face a rate 116% higher than a non-offender.

2. Your age

Younger drivers are more likely to experience high monthly premiums than older drivers. One study found that an 18-year-old with a DUI would have a premium 5% higher than a 30-year-old with the same charge. But it’s not all young drivers who have steep premiums. Drivers under 19 years old are likely to experience a 5% higher rate than anyone older.

3. The amount of time since the incident

Insurance companies look at a span of time on your driving record, usually three or five years. Someone who had a DUI three years ago is less likely to have a high premium than someone whose incident was 12 months ago. But it takes time for a DUI not to influence your rates. For a DUI not to affect your premium with GEICO insurance, you would need a clean driving record for 35 months.

4. Your insurance provider

Not all insurance companies handle DUIs the same way. Some companies are more lenient than others. To get the best rate for your situation, you need to shop around. Compare the prices to find the best option for you.

Why The Increase?

Insurance companies weigh risks. Drinking and driving is one of the greatest risks a driver can take. Alcohol slows your reactions, affects your concentration, and impairs your ability to drive. Companies consider a driver who drinks behind the wheel of a vehicle a high-risk driver, and they charge you accordingly.

Repairing Your Driving Record

Once you have a DUI, there’s nothing you can do to take that back. However, there are things that you can do to improve the situation. To limit the effect that a drunk driving charge has on your insurance, you should work on repairing your driving record.

Start by following all of the DUI-related requirements. File your SR-22. And if the court requires an Ignition Interlock Device, do everything by the book. Before you start driving again, make sure your license and registration are current. Any minor infraction can hurt your driving record.

When you’re back on the road, be sure to follow all traffic laws. Don’t exceed the speed limit, go through stop signs, or commit any other infractions. By keeping your record clean, you can keep your auto insurance from skyrocketing even more.

Avoiding a DUI

A DUI is no minor issue. To avoid facing all of the consequences of a drunk driving conviction, find a qualified lawyer to represent you in court.