If you have a DUI on your record, you may be dropped by your insurance carrier and need to find a new insurer that specializes in covering high-risk drivers.

What happens following a DUI conviction will vary from state to state. Attorney Ben Michael with Michael & Associates, a law firm in Austin, Texas, says that 49 of 50 states have laws on the books that will suspend or revoke a person’s driver’s license after a DUI, “with the duration and severity depending both on the state and how many DUIs a particular driver has been convicted of.”

“In Florida, a conviction for a first-time DUI offense could cost you as much as $1,000 in fines, up to six months in jail, the possibility of losing your driver’s license for up to six months, and 50 hours of community service,” says Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute, an insurance industry association.

Additionally, in most states, drivers with a DUI are required to file an SR-22 form. Friedlander says this form serves as proof that you are maintaining minimum liability insurance coverage.

Is your insurance company notified when you get a 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 unlikely) once your policy comes up for renewal, most insurers will pull your DMV record and they’ll see the DUI.

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 more expensive premium.

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 do DUI, OUI, DWI and OVI stand for?

States use different designations for a “driving under the influence” infraction, but they typically mean the same thing, Friedlander says. 

Here’s a breakdown of various terms used for DUI:

  • DUI: Driving under the influence while impaired by alcohol or other chemical substances.
  • OUI: Operating while under the influence while impaired by alcohol or other chemical substances.
  • DWI: Depending on the state, this is driving while impaired or driving while intoxicated. Note that some states use both a DUI and DWI designation, although a DWI infraction is sometimes considered less severe than a DUI infraction.
  • OVI: Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other chemical substances.

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 varies, and as long as it’s on your driving record, it can affect your insurance rates.

Learn more about How much does your insurance go up after a DUI

What happens after a DUI conviction?

After a DUI conviction, the consequences vary by state. Most states have laws that will revoke or suspend your driver’s license following a DUI, although the length and severity of this consequence will depend on where you live and if you have previous DUI convictions. Your carrier may drop you following a DUI conviction. 

Expect to shop around for a new insurer and to pay much higher premiums after a DUI, as well. Lastly, you will be required to file an SR-22 form or an FR-44 form, which serves as proof that you are maintaining minimum liability insurance coverage after your DUI.

Will my car insurance be canceled after a DUI?

Many standard auto insurers will cancel your coverage after a DUI conviction, forcing you to find insurance with a carrier that specializes in high-risk drivers, Friedlander says. But this isn’t always the case.

Will I lose my license after a DUI?

Your license may be revoked indefinitely following a DUI conviction, depending on the state you live in, the severity of the infraction, whether you have had previous DUI convictions and other factors. Or, your license may be suspended for a specific period. Your license may be reinstated following the payment of fines, taking safety classes, probation or jail time.

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

In most states, 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. Furthermore, a second DUI in another state can have a major impact on your home state record – many states will consider it a second DUI offense and you’ll be subject to those penalties.

What is an SR-22 and do you need it after a DUI?

An SR-22 filing is 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 are often mandated by the court to carry insurance and must provide proof of these insurance limits before their license will be reinstated. An SR-22 provides this proof.

Do you need non-owner car insurance after a DUI?

If you no longer own a vehicle, non-owner SR-22 insurance can be an excellent way to keep your coverage current. 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.

– Michelle Megna contributed to this story.

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Erik Martin
Contributing Researcher

Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer whose articles have been published by AARP The Magazine, The Motley Fool, The Costco Connection, USAA, US Chamber of Commerce, Bankrate, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications. He often writes on topics related to insurance, real estate, personal finance, business, technology, health care, and entertainment. Erik also hosts a podcast and publishes several blogs, including Martinspiration.com and Cineversegroup.com. Follow him on LinkedIn: Erik Martin