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How a DUI in California Affects Car Insurance Rates

Authorities throughout the state of California are committed to keeping the roads as safe as possible. That means enforcing local speed limits, maintaining highway infrastructure, and implementing strategies to prevent drunk driving.

As far as driving risks go, impaired motorists are a serious problem around the nation, and every state takes its own approach to stopping individuals from getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, popular strategies include:

  • Zero tolerance laws;
  • Sobriety checkpoints, which are implemented in the state of California;
  • Mass media campaigns aimed at the general public;
  • School campaigns aimed at adolescents and new drivers;
  • Ignition interlock devices;
  • Alcohol screenings and intervention programs; and
  • License revocation laws.

Despite these preventive and reactive measures, someone in the Untied States dies in a motor vehicle collision involving an impaired driver every 51 minutes. Because drunk driving is so dangerous, insurance providers consider those who receive a DUI conviction to be high-risk clients, regardless of the circumstances of their arrest.

As a result, offenders can expect their premiums to increase dramatically following a conviction, especially in the state of California. In many states, insurance providers consider dozens of factors when determining a policyholder’s rates; however, pursuant to Proposition 103, which was passed in 1988, insurance companies in California can only weigh three factors when calculating the cost of coverage. These factors are:

  • The motorist’s driving record;
  • The motorist’s age and driving experience; and
  • The total number of miles that the motorist drives annually.

A DUI will tarnish even a perfect driving record, and since your record is essentially responsible for 33 percent of your premium, a substantial rate hike is inevitable following a conviction.


How a DUI in California Affects Car Insurance Rates

Your driving record accounts for about 33% of your auto insurance premium.

How Long Will a DUI Conviction Affect My Car Insurance Rates in California?

In the state of California, a DUI conviction will typically remain on an offender’s driving record for 10 years. If you can maintain a clean record following the conviction, though, the DUI will affect your rates less with every passing year and will theoretically stop influencing premiums at all after roughly seven years; however, if the insurance provider is aware of your conviction, it will continue affecting your cost of coverage.

For the first three years following the conviction, you will also have to purchase an SR-22 certificate, which is a document that the insurance provider sends the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to verify you have adequate coverage. The DMV requires this certificate to reinstate your license.

Once a decade has passed and the DUI falls off your driving record, it is wise to shop around and find a new provider that is not aware of the conviction at all. This will ensure you can purchase the most affordable coverage possible despite any history of drinking and driving.

How Can You Find Reasonable Premiums with a DUI on Your Record?

Until the DUI has fallen off your driving record, you may struggle to find affordable insurance premiums. Fortunately, there are a few ways to save on coverage in the meantime. Motorists with a DUI conviction can save on auto insurance in California by:

  • Shopping around for the best deal;
  • Waiving optional kinds of coverage;
  • Limiting annual mileage; and
  • Opting for a high deductible.

It may take a little more research to find affordable coverage with a DUI on your record, but it is not impossible. If you follow the tips above and commit to maintaining a clean driving record moving forward, you can hit the road as soon as your license is reinstated without struggling financially in order to do so.