Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be a DUI offense and lead to serious penalties. One DUI can cost you your driver's license and may skyrocket your car insurance rates.

DUI Car Insurance

However, DUI insurance is one way to help protect yourself from these potential consequences. The rate increase after a DUI conviction varies widely by state as well as company.

While a DUI on your driving record will mean higher rates overall, you can still save on car insurance if you know what to do. But, you don't have to worry, we have got you covered, this guide will help you know which companies have the best DUI car insurance rates and how much your insurance goes up after a DUI.

Key Highlights
  • If you are convicted of a DUI, you may lose your driving privileges and in some states, you may be required to enroll for a DUI program.
  • There is a possibility of insurance policy cancellation by your insurance company after a DUI.
  • According to Carinsurance.com's analysis, your car insurance rates may go up after a DUI, costing an average of $1,163 more a year.
  • It is not easy to get cheap insurance rates if you are convicted of a DUI, but shopping around is the best way to find affordable DUI car insurance in your state.

What is DUI insurance?

DUI insurance is not an actual insurance policy, but it is an auto insurance policy following a DUI offense.

If you're driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances, you can be charged with an impaired driving offense. Depending on the state and your specific charge, the penalties for a DUI conviction vary widely.

DUIs often lead to higher insurance rates, and insurers see you as a high risk driver. For those who have had one, it's good to shop around with different providers. Even if you are able to find a policy after being convicted of a DUI, it will probably come with an exorbitant premium.

What does DUI, OUI, DWI and OVI stand for?

First, let's make sure we're all on the same page in terms of what we call drunken driving violations.

While states use different names -- "driving under the influence" (DUI), "operating under the influence" (OUI), or "driving while intoxicated" (DWI) or "operating vehicle intoxicated" (OVI) -- these terms typically all cover drunken driving. The terms are commonly used interchangeably in many states.

However, in some states DWI refers to drunken driving, while a DUI is impairment from prescription drugs or marijuana. In some other states, a DUI is a separate violation from DWI. The DUI is the lesser charge compared to DWI in most states that use both terms.For our purposes, you can follow the same DUI car insurance guidance for DWI, OVI, and OUI.

What happens after I am convicted of a DUI?

There are a number of different things that can happen after a DUI conviction but in most cases, it will vary depending on the state you call home.

Here are a few things you could be facing after a DUI:

  • A hefty fine, easily running to the hundreds if not thousands of dollars
  • Possibility of jail time
  • Loss of driving privileges, in most states you will face a driver's license suspension
  • Required enrollment in a DUI program
  • Possibility of probation
  • Community service requirements
  • A court-ordered ignition interlock device may be installed in your car
  • Possible required Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
  • In almost all states your vehicle will be impounded

Insurance coverage may be canceled after a DUI

It is absolutely possible that your insurer will decide to cancel your policy after a DUI, leaving you uninsured. The majority of insurance policies are written as mutual, non-binding agreements which means that either party to the contract (your or your insurance company) can terminate the policy at any time for any reason.

While this allows you to cancel your policy if you find cheaper insurance, it also means your insurer can dump you if they feel you are too big of a risk.

Will I lose my license after a DUI?

If you are convicted of drunken driving, you will typically lose your license for a certain period of time, for example, three or six months, as mandated by your state laws.

This can happen in two ways. Either the court orders the license be revoked or suspended, or the state motor vehicle department suspends or revokes the license. If you refused to take a blood-alcohol level test (breathalyzer or blood test) during your arrest, your driver's license will automatically be suspended regardless of the outcome of the DUI case.

Most first-time offenders will be able to get their driver's license back after 90 days, but again, it depends on the circumstances of the case as well as state and local laws. In some cases, restrictions, such as driving only to and from work, may be placed on the driver. Repeat offenders may get their license suspended for a year or more, again, depending on state laws.

Is your insurance company notified when you get a DUI?

The DMV is not going to call your insurance company and notify them of your DUI, nor is the arresting officer, but eventually they will find out and it is usually best to notify them yourself. A DUI stays on your driving record for years (in some states it is decades) so there is no way to hide it from your insurance company.

So, how do insurance companies find out about DUI? In almost all states, your license will be suspended and in order to reactivate your insurance, your insurance company will pull your driving record which will obviously reveal your DUI.

Even if your license is not suspended (which is very unlikely) once your policy comes up for renewal, most insurers will pull your DMV record to make sure nothing has changed and when they see the DUI your rates will be headed sky-high or they may choose to dump you as a customer.

In addition, most states require an SR-22 before reinstating your license. An SR-22 filing is a document that your insurance company must file with the state DMV which provides proof that you are carrying the proper insurance coverage. If you let your policy lapse, miss a payment, or cancel your policy, the insurance company will revoke the SR-22, notify the DMV and your license will be re-suspended.

In the end, your insurer will find out one way or another so it is best to come clean in the beginning and deal with the fallout, which will involve finding car insurance for DUI offenders and paying a brand new premium which will be much more expensive than your current coverage.

How much does insurance go up after DUI?

There is no way around it -- car insurance after DUI is going to be more expensive -- costing an average of $1,163 more a year, according to a CarInsurance.com rate analysis. While rate hikes will vary depending on where you live, among other factors, in most cases you can expect your rates to double.

The answer to the question, "how much does a DUI raise your insurance," is pretty shocking. One DUI will push your car insurance rates up between 28% and 371%," says Penny Gusner, CarInsurance.com senior consumer analyst.

DUI Insurance Rates by State

Like almost everything related to car insurance, the rate increase from a DUI charge varies widely depending on your state car insurance laws. See the average increase in car insurance rates after a DUI charge for every state. Remember, even if you got cited for a DUI in another state, you will face penalties enforced by your home state:

DUI Insurance Rates by State
State Average Rate Rate with DUI Percent Increase Dollar Increase
North Carolina$1,170$5,508371%$4,338
New Jersey$1,419$3,292132%$1,873
Rhode Island$2,011$3,38068%$1,369
West Virginia$1,467$2,65881%$1,191
New Mexico$1,498$2,62875%$1,130
South Dakota$1,250$2,12070%$870
North Dakota$1,123$1,93072%$807
South Carolina$1,353$2,15159%$798
New Hampshire$1,156$1,85861%$702
New York$1,214$1,79047%$576

How to find cheap car insurance with DUI?

Can you get car insurance with a DUI? Of course you can, but it will be expensive. The truth is that there is no such thing as cheap DUI car insurance, but there is DUI insurance that won't put you in the poorhouse.

The best way to find affordable DUI insurance coverage is to shop around. Insurers rate risk differently; while some may not be willing to deal with DUI clients at all, other insurers may specialize in DUI clients. Shopping your coverage extensively is the only way to ensure you are getting the best DUI insurance rates.

We have compiled some quotes below to demonstrate exactly how much shopping around can save you.

Best DUI Insurance Rates
CompanyAverage RateDUI RateDollar IncreasePercent Increase
State Farm$1,186$1,633$44738%

As you can see, the difference in rates can be dramatic, with your rate going up by 125 percent, compared to 38 percent. That means even with a DUI on your record, you could overpay if you don't shop around.

In some states, the large insurance companies have subsidiary companies that provide insurance after DUI coverage to motorists with poor driving records. In addition to major carriers, you should also consider smaller car insurance companies that specialize in high-risk, or "non-standard," coverage.

When comparing quotes, be sure to include rates from these specialty carriers. Here is a list of some well-known ones to consider:

  • The General, a subsidiary of American Family Insurance
  • Titan Insurance, a subsidiary of Nationwide Insurance
  • Dairyland Insurance, a subsidiary of Sentry Insurance

Shopping for cheap car insurance with DUI

While you should always shop your car insurance on a regular basis, shopping your policy is a must-do after a DUI. Your insurance company will now consider you a high-risk driver and your premium is bound to be headed up which is why shopping your coverage is absolutely necessary.

Here are a few tips for shopping for cheap car insurance with DUI on your record:

  • Start the search immediately: There is a very real possibility that your current insurer will simply drop you as a customer so it's important to start the search as soon as possible. Start getting quotes immediately after your DUI conviction so you are ready if your insurer drops you or makes your premium unaffordable.
  • Widen your search: Get quotes from as many insurers as possible and consider insurance companies that deal specifically with high-risk drivers. Get at least 10 quotes and make sure you are comparing apples to apples in regard to coverage levels and deductibles.
  • Ask your insurer for help: Be sure to ask for all the discounts you are available to receive. Even small discounts can help when you are looking at a sky-high premium thanks to a DUI.
  • Shop your DUI insurance often: DUI coverage should be shopped on a regular basis, especially as milestones approach. Shop your policy at the one-year mark and every year afterward. Once the DUI drops off your driving record, absolutely get new quotes as your insurance costs should drop.

How long does a DUI stay on your record?

There is no standard answer to the question, "how many years will a DUI conviction remain on your record." Every state has its own penalties in place for DUIs.

Usually, a DUI conviction stays on your driving record for at least five years. As a general rule, expect a DUI to haunt your insurance premium for roughly seven years. In some states, it can be much longer.

States such as California and New York will keep a DUI conviction on your driving record for 10 years. Iowa goes even further. A DUI in the Hawkeye state will stay on your record for 12 years, which means you have over a decade of high insurance premiums staring you in the face.

If you live in Florida a DUI stays on your record for 75 years and in Alaska it is permanent, it is on your record for the rest of your life. While it won't impact your insurance rates forever (assuming you never get another one) it will be the better part of a decade before your insurance premiums head down.

How long after a DUI does your insurance go down?

Like most things when it comes to a DUI, where you were arrested will affect how long a DUI will ding your insurance rates. How long a DUI remains on your driving record can vary from five years to 10 or 12, and as long as it's on your driving record, it can affect your insurance rates.

Keeping your record clean is key if you want your rates to drop. "You can rebuild your driving record to show you've learned from your mistake and are a responsible driver," says Gusner. "In time, your rates will start to fall. It may take three, five or seven years, but you'll get there."

In most cases, you will have to wait until the DUI drops off your driving record to drop your DUI auto insurance and move back to a regular policy. Once the DUI has dropped off of your driving record, be sure to shop your coverage again to make sure you are getting the best rates available.

Suspended license? How to keep your car insurance coverage with a DUI

If you start shopping for coverage after a yearlong suspension with a DUI conviction on your record, combined with a 12-month coverage gap, your quotes are going to be sky-high.

If your license is suspended thanks to your DUI (the odds are good it will be), maintaining insurance coverage is necessary. One of the biggest factors that insurers consider is continuous coverage. That means if you maintain continuous coverage, you will pay a lower rate, so do whatever you can to keep your policy from lapsing.

You may have to shop around to find an insurer who will accommodate your request. Only some insurers allow this, so look for one willing to make the changes, says Gusner.

"If you own a car and will have people driving you around, ask if your insurer will allow you to add the person who will be driving you around as the primary driver, with you excluded. The policy will still be in your name so technically there is no gap in insurance coverage," says Gusner.

Does DUI affect credit score?

There is very little chance that a DUI will directly impact your credit score. Credit reporting agencies do not look at your driving record or consider convictions such as a DUI.

However, it can indirectly impact your score if you decide to put the costs of your DUI on a credit card and struggle financially to cover those costs. A DUI conviction can be extremely expensive, court costs, fines, and legal fees can quickly add up and most of those costs can be put on a credit card which eventually can lead to a drop in your credit score if you are unable to pay your credit card bills on time.

As an example, the Alaska DMV estimates that over 5 years, a DUI conviction costs the driver almost $25,000, while Tennessee puts that number at between $5,000 and $10,000. So, while a DUI will not directly impact your credit score, the massive costs that come with a DUI can eventually cause issues with your credit rating.

DUI insurance cost is just the tip of the iceberg

Your insurance rates are absolutely headed up, but that expense is simply the tip of the iceberg, there are several other expenses that come with a DUI.

Here are just a few of the costs that you can expect:

  • Bail: Some states don't require bail money for first-time offenders with a low blood-alcohol level. Others might ask $500 to $1,000 regardless, or $100,000 or more for a repeat offense or accident. A bail bondsman will ask you to pony up just 10 percent. The downside: It won't be refunded. The upside: You have more cash to spring your car from the impound lot.
  • Tow-truck and impound lot: While you're being handcuffed, humiliated and horrified, your car will get a cushy tow and safe storage. In Utah, this might mean a $330 impound fee, plus towing and storage fees. In Chicago, try a $2,000 impound fee plus $40 a day.
  • Court: Fines have many aliases -- criminal penalty assessment, court administrative fee, jail costs, state restitution fund, jail cite-and-release fee, court costs, driver surcharge. All told, you'll shell out at least $1,000 in fines and fees, likely more, up to $5,000 for a non-accident first offense.
  • Home monitoring: Electronic monitors, like ankle bracelets, can replace jail time. But in problematic DUI cases, additional home monitors may also be used to make sure suspects aren't drinking.
  • A SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor), worn on the ankle or wrist, detects the presence of alcohol in sweat. Some programs require defendants take random, remote alcohol-detection tests. There are fees associated with all that, and you're the one that has to pay, fees can run between $350-$750 a month.
  • Alcohol counselors: Alcohol counseling has been required for DUI offenders for decades in many places. An evaluation ($100) is now also typically required to get a hardship license pending trial. Treatment can range from $125 to $5,000. Some health insurance companies cover substance-abuse treatment.
  • Lawyers: John Wilka, a criminal defense lawyer in Sioux Falls, Idaho, starts the clock at $1,500 (plus sales tax) to defend a DUI case. That's without going to trial, which will add at least another $1,500. Add several hundred more if he has to order independent lab analysis. "You're looking at $3,000 to $4,000 even if you're not guilty," he says, citing at least four court appearances before trial. "In some of the bigger states, it's probably much more."
  • DMV: In 42 states, officials can suspend a driver's license upon arrest. Called an "administrative license suspension," because it can occur before trial or case dissolution, it varies in length but most often lasts 90 days. Whatever the duration, you'll have to pay a license reissue fee to get it back. Costs can run between $50 and $500.
  • SR-22: Authorities want extra assurance that DUI offenders carry proper auto insurance. So, in addition to the standard reporting requirements, 42 states ask insurance companies to submit an SR-22 form, which essentially guarantees that the convicted driver is carrying legally mandated insurance. In all cases, the insurance company is going to ask you to pay for the form. But that's nothing compared to what you'll pay in added insurance costs.

Finding the best insurance for DUI

Your insurance costs are going up and you will most likely spend a fair amount of time looking for a new, cheaper policy. Shopping for insurance is never a fun task, add a DUI into the mix and it can get downright unpleasant. Be prepared to spend hours looking for an affordable policy and possibly moving to a second-tier insurer. All of this time comes at a cost.

Several states have calculated what a first-time, non-accident DUI will cost most people in their state. Their totals range from $9,000 to $12,000, not including lost time from work.

Will an out-of-state DUI transfer to my home state?

In almost all states the answer to this question is yes. If you are on vacation or just visiting friends out of state when the DUI happens, you are still going to be on the hook back home.

A second DUI in another state can have a major impact on your home state record. As an example, say you live in Maine and had a DUI a couple of years ago but then received another DUI in Iowa. While Iowa would treat this as a first DUI, once Iowa reports to Maine, then Maine will consider it a second DUI offense and will suspend your license for three years, which is the penalty for a second offense in Maine.

What is SR-22 and do you need it as proof of Insurance after DUI ?

An SR-22 filing is simply a document that your insurance company must file with the state DMV that provides proof that you are carrying the proper coverage. If you let your policy lapse, miss a payment or cancel your policy, the insurance company will revoke the SR-22 and your license will be re-suspended.

Drivers who have been convicted of a DUI, reckless driving, or driving without insurance are often mandated by the court to carry insurance policies with the state minimum coverage limits, or in many cases, higher than state minimums. Drivers must provide proof of these insurance limits before their license will be reinstated. An SR-22 provides this proof.

"If an SR-22 is required, make sure to tell the insurer since not all insurers file the form," says Gusner. Finding an insurer that writes SR-22 policies is one more advantage to shopping for your coverage.

Non-Owner SR-22 insurance

If you no longer own a vehicle, non-owner SR-22 insurance can be an excellent way to keep your coverage current without breaking the bank. These types of policies only offer liability coverage and require that you don't have "regular access to a car" so prices tend to be lower than a standard policy.

If you are in the market for a non-owner policy, we can help. Ring our call center at 1-844-252-4551 for an immediate quote on non-owner car insurance.