If you have been convicted of a DUI, your car insurance rates could increase. Keep reading to find out how much you could end up paying for insurance and what you can do about it.
The Consequences of a DUI
If you are pulled over for drunk or drugged driving, you not only face criminal penalties like jail time, fines, and license suspension, but you also risk your reputation and employment opportunities.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI, you could face at least six months in jail, license suspension, and the installation of an ignition interlock device for at least 140 days. For more complicated DUI cases, like those involving injury, fatalities, or minors, you could face felony charges and over a decade in state prison. In other words, you could be charged with a felony for having more than one DUI. Felony DUIs often result in permanent license suspension and could apply to subsequent DUI charges.
Medical professionals, especially doctors and nurses, have to report criminal charges to their nursing board and hospital leadership and submit to any protocols for disciplinary action. In many cases, the medical board may revoke a doctor or nurse’s license to practice if they have a DUI conviction. For professionals in a specific field, a DUI could mean an end to their career goals.
College students and minors caught drinking and driving could risk losing scholarships, jobs, and internship opportunities if they have a DUI. Colleges and universities take drug and alcohol charges seriously and may not permit students convicted of a crime to stay on campus or continue their education.
As for insured drivers, insurers do not want to be responsible for high liability drivers, which means people with a lot of accidents and those with driving-related crimes may be charged higher fees or get dropped from their insurance altogether.
Car Insurance and DUIs
In general, the national average for auto insurance rate increases for drivers with a DUI is around 74%. This means that your yearly payments could go up by $1,000 or more, depending on your policy. This is a significant increase compared to accidents or speeding tickets, raising rates about 20-40%. In West Virginia, the highest insurance rate increase after a DUI was 71%.
DUIs affect auto insurance because insurance providers may be held responsible for covering the cost of your accident(s). High-risk drivers, including those with DUIs, cost insurers more on average and are less likely to fix their driving habits in the future.
Insurance companies are nervous about drivers who act recklessly behind the wheel because, at the end of the day, they are the ones who have to pay for it. Because of this, many insurance companies offer good driving discounts for drivers who follow the rules and are careful behind the wheel.
These programs reward drivers with a clean record who may have discounted rates and can continue to make lower payments if they can maintain a good driving record.
Lowering Your Insurance Rates After a DUI
If you are experiencing a rate hike due to a DUI, you could be dealing with expensive payments for years. In general, most insurance companies keep driving records for three to five years. This means that if you got a DUI in 2020, you might not have standard rates until 2023 or 2025.
While this can be a pain, there are ways to improve your car insurance rates. You can show that you are a safe driver by avoiding traffic violations and driving carefully or switching insurance companies altogether. Most insurers are hesitant to insure drivers with a criminal record, but some companies have more competitive rates than others.
Shop around and see whether you can get a better rate elsewhere or get an insurance bundle with a discounted price. Thankfully, there are many options out there, and you have free reign to change insurance companies.
Prevent Your Insurance Rates from Increasing After a DUI
The best way to prevent your rates from going up is by avoiding a DUI conviction in the first place. Getting pulled over doesn’t mean you have a DUI – it means you’re facing the legal process for a DUI. If you have been pulled over, contact our attorney immediately. The Wagner Firm specializes in DUIs and drugged driving laws, and our founding attorney has decades of experience handling cases like yours.
Schedule a consultation with The Wagner Law Firm to learn more.