The costs associated with a DUI or DWI conviction continue long after your court case has finalized. In fact, one of the most significant expenses comes in the form of higher car insurance premiums. Although it’s almost impossible to avoid a hike in your insurance rates after a DUI, there are steps you can take to keep your premiums affordable.
Here are a few strategies to save on auto insurance after a DUI or DWI:
1. Take A Defensive Driving Course
Depending on your state, driving record, and your specific charges, you may be ordered by the court to take a defensive driving course. Even if you are not required to do so, it might be a good idea if your insurance company offers discounts for taking such a course.
If your current insurer does not offer this discount, try to find a car insurance company that does and perhaps one that is more lenient to drivers who have a recent drunk-driving conviction. To help you save time, our Geeks compared car insurance rates after a DUI conviction in all 50 states to identify the cheapest insurance companies for this driver category. You can find the results of our study here.
2. Bundle Your Insurance
If you have other types of insurance with a company besides your car insurance provider, it may be in your best interest to merge. Many insurers offer multiline discounts to policyholders who have multiple types of insurance with them.
3. Increase Your Deductible
Your deductible is the amount of money you will have to pay after an accident before your insurance company pays out. Deductibles can range from $0 to $1,000 and beyond. Lower deductibles typically translate into higher insurance premiums and vice versa. As such, if your insurance rates increased after being convicted of DUI, you may be able to lower them by opting for a higher deductible.
4. Lower Your Coverage
It goes without saying that the types of coverage you carry and their limits will have a major impact on your insurance rates. If you want to get your premiums reduced after a DUI, consider opting for less coverage.
5. Install Safety Features In Your Car
If your car doesn’t already have features like an alarm, antitheft devices, antilock brakes, and automated seat belts, it may be time to look into getting them installed or buying a new car that comes with them. These features lower the risk of filing a claim and reduce the value of the average claim in the event of an accident, so insuring a vehicle with the latest safety features typically costs less.
6. Be Careful With Your Driving Moving Forward
Your insurance rates are ultimately determined by the likelihood that you will file a claim. That likelihood statistically increases after a DUI conviction, which is why your premiums increase.
If you want to get your rates reduced, you will need to prove to your insurance company that you aren’t a high-risk driver. The easiest way to do this is to avoid accidents and traffic infractions for several consecutive years.
7. Opt For Paperless Billing
If you haven’t gone paperless, find out if your insurance company would offer you a discount for doing so. Paperless billing tends to be cheaper for insurance carriers, so many of them offer financial incentive to drivers who make the switch.
If you’ve taken these steps but you’re still unhappy with your insurance rates, consider switching to a different provider. Each insurance company takes a different approach to calculating premiums, so you might be able to find a carrier who is more lenient on drivers with a DUI conviction.
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8. Drive Less
If your car spends more time in the garage than on the open road, you may score a discount on your rates. Many insurers are now rewarding low-mileage motorists with lower premiums and added features. Why? The more you travel, the higher your chances of crashing. By opting for low-mileage insurance you won’t just reduce your rates but may also decrease your risk of being involved in an accident.
Providers will track your mileage using an app on your smartphone or device installed in your car. If your annual mileage is below the predetermined distance set by risk assessors at the insurance company, you’ll snag lower rates. Before choosing an insurance company for low-mileage insurance, take a look at your mileage during last year to make sure you won’t exceed the set this mileage threshold. We recommend adding 100 miles to last year’s total to leave breathing room for unexpected travel emergencies.
9. Sign up for Automatic Payments
Paying your rates manually every month can be a headache. Fortunately, most insurers offer automatic billing services so you can skip the added admin of setting reminders to pay your premiums on time. Not only will subscribing to this autopay system save you time, it may also help reduce your rates.
When you opt for automatic payments, it shows your provider that you are reliable and will make payments without delay. Any payments will automatically be withdrawn from a linked credit, debit, or savings account on a monthly or annual basis. The result: You won’t have to worry about missing a payment and letting your insurance lapse.
10. Invest in Anti-Theft Technology
While hijackings and car thefts are on the decline, criminals are still on the hunt for easy targets. In 2016 alone, U.S. citizens lost almost $6 billion in personal property to car theft, reports the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Most insurers will calculate the risk of your car being stolen or broken into when determining your rates. If you live in a high-crime area where hijackings are prevalent, you can expect to pay more for auto insurance than someone living in a safer neighborhood.
Fortunately, you can safeguard your vehicle and reduce your rates by arming your vehicle with anti-theft technology. Investing in any anti-theft system such as an engine immobilizer, pedal jack, or car alarm, could net you a discounted rate with some of the nation’s top insurers. Even if you don’t qualify for a discount, having this tech will deter potential car thieves saving you thousands of dollars down the line.
11. Switch Providers
The insurance world is a competitive industry with providers doing just about anything to snag your business from their competitors. While it’s hardly ever true elsewhere, when it comes to auto insurance policies, the grass is often greener on the other side.
Check with providers to see if you would qualify for a discount for transferring your current policy. Many insurers will also cover the costs of terminating your old plan.
12. Insure All Cars Under a Single Policy
If you own more than one vehicle, you could reduce you rates by consolidating your auto insurance policies under one umbrella plan. Even if you have a DUI on your record, many providers offer multivehicle packages that are much cheaper than insuring each vehicle separately.
13. Install Tracking Technology
If your car is stolen, an advanced vehicle recovery system can help authorities track down your car, apprehend the thieves, and recover your personal property. As this device increases the chances that your car is recovered after a theft or hijacking, there is less risk to your insurance company and you may qualify for cheaper rates.
DUI Insurance FAQs
How Did My Insurer Find Out About My DUI Conviction?
While your current insurer might not be aware of your DUI conviction, they are bound to find out eventually. Typically, providers will check your driving record when you sign up for a new policy or renew your existing coverage. It’s a bad idea to keep your conviction hidden as your insurer will most likely to need to file an SR-22 form on your behalf as part of penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Failing to comply with SR-22 requirements can result in fines and sometimes even jail time.
What Is SR-22 Insurance?
After committing a serious traffic violation, you may be required to comply with SR-22 requirements before your license and vehicle’s registration are reinstated. As part of these requirements, you will need to find an insurer willing to file an SR-22 form on your behalf, confirming with the relevant department that you are complying with state-specific insurance laws.
This service is offered as part of insurance for “high-risk” drivers. Typically, after a DUI conviction, you will pay higher rates for a basic policy than the average motorist because, according to statistical research, you are more likely to crash again.
You will need to comply with SR-22 requirements for a set period of time. If you let your insurance lapse during this timeframe your license and vehicle’s registration may be suspended again and you will have to restart the SR-22 process from scratch.
How Long Will a DUI/DWI Conviction My Increase Insurance Rates?
A DUI is a blemish on your driving record and could haunt you for years to come. However, depending on where you are in the country, there is a limit on how deep insurers can dig into your past when calculating your premiums.
In most states, laws dictate that providers can only take into account DWI/DUI convictions that occurred within the last three years. If your state keeps your conviction on record for longer than three years, you’ll have to grit your teeth and pay increased premiums for up to 5-10 years.
What Other Factors Affect My Premiums After a DUI?
When insurers calculate your rates, they construct a risk profile based on a range of criteria. These can include your age, gender, occupation, car make, and more. Statistical research has linked certain factors to a higher risk of causing or being involved in an accident. For example, a young driver with a DUI conviction is more likely to claim than a middle-aged motorist with a spotless driving record. Other factors can include:
- Credit Score: A poor credit score won’t just affect your ability to apply for a loan. If your digits are in the red, you’ll typically pay more than the average motorist for insurance. Why? Not only are you more likely to miss a payment and let your insurance lapse, research has also shown that drivers with worse credit scores have a higher chance of claiming than those in the green.
- Driving Record After DUI Conviction: Insurers will reward you for maintaining a spotless driving record in the years following a DUI conviction. Rack up consecutive months with no violations or accidents and you’ll score a discount.
- Number of DUI Convictions: Unsurprisingly, drivers with a high number of DUI convictions will pay far more than those who have not been convicted for driving under the influence.
How Can I Avoid DUI Convictions in Future?
The short answer: Don’t drink and drive. While you may think you can handle your liquor, even a single drink can slow your reaction times, reduce brain function, affect muscle coordination, and hamstring your decision-making skills. The result: You’re far more likely to be involved in an accident.
If you’re planning to go out and drink, do this:
- Make use of a ride share service such as Uber or Lyft;
- Appoint a designated driver and make sure he/she isn’t drinking throughout the night;
- Make sure anyone else who has been drinking has a sober ride home; and
- Always wear a seatbelt to prevent injuries in an accident.
Will My Insurer Cover Damages If I Was Driving Drunk?
If you crash while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your insurer may still cover your medical bills and the costs of repairing any damage to your car. However, insurers may see your DUI conviction as proof that you caused the accident even if the other motorist was at fault.
Drunk Driving Stats
In 2016, more than 10,000 people were killed in accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers in the U.S., reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This accounted for 28% of all road deaths during that same period.
A further 1 million road users were apprehended for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to the CDC, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the drunk driving epidemic with a total of 111 million motorists reporting they had driven under the influence of alcohol or drugs at least once during the year.