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How long does a DUI affect your insurance rates?

How long a DUI will affect your car insurance rates depends on how long the conviction will remain on your driving record, state insurance laws and your insurance company's rating system.

Typically, an insurance company can charge you more for your violation for three, five or even seven years, depending on how long it remains on your driving record. For instance, if your DUI is dropped from your record after three years, you'd typically only be penalized with a higher rate for that three-year period. For now, though, it's very unlikely that you will qualify for standard rates and you'll need to buy non-standard auto insurance.

How long a DUI offense stays on a driving record varies by state. In some it is three years for a first offense, but in other states a DUI remains for the lifetime of the person's motor vehicle record (MVR). After you know how long the DUI will be on your driving record, you need to find out what your state insurance laws are regarding how long an insurer can consider the DUI when setting your rates.

In some states there are laws that limit the number of years car insurance companies can surcharge you for a DUI. In other states, it is up to the insurance carriers. 

Most states want assurance that DUI offenders have sufficient coverage -- 42 states ask insurance companies to submit an SR-22 form, which essentially guarantees that the convicted driver is carrying legally mandated insurance.

If convicted of a DUI, expect your insurance rates to as much as double for the next three to six years. It can take another five years of spotless driving before good-driver rates resume. 

Penny Gusner, consumer analyst at Insure.com, says rates can increase anywhere from 30 to 200 percent.

Some insurers may drop you altogether, forcing you into an even-more expensive, high-risk pool.

You may want to shop around for car insurance discounts -- multi-car, anti-theft device and so on -- that help mitigate the impact of the DUI on your driving record. You will lose any good driver discount you had.


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