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 proves you have the state minimum liability insurance coverage.

Key Highlights
  • If caught driving under the influence, you could lose your driver’s license. The penalty may vary by state laws and if you have previous DUI convictions.
  • How long a DUI conviction stays on your record varies by state, but it will affect your insurance rates as long as it stays on your driving record. 
  • If you are convicted of DUI, your insurance company may drop you, and you can expect to look for a new insurer and pay higher premiums.

Is your insurance company notified when you get a DUI?

In almost all states, your license will be suspended, and once your policy comes up for renewal, your insurer will pull your DMV record, and they’ll see a DUI on your record.

What is DUI insurance?

DUI insurance is not an actual insurance policy but 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. The penalties for a DUI conviction vary widely depending on the state and your specific charge.

DUIs often lead to higher insurance rates, and insurers see you as a high-risk driver. Shopping around with different providers is good for those who have had one. Even if you can 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 impaired or 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.

Explore our detailed guide on the difference between a DUI and a DWI

How long after a DUI does your insurance go down?

Like most things regarding 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 how much your insurance goes 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 for a new insurer and pay much higher premiums after a DUI. Lastly, you must file an SR-22 or FR-44 form, proving that you maintain minimum liability insurance coverage after your DUI.

Will my car insurance be canceled after a DUI?

Friedlander says that many standard auto insurers will cancel your coverage after a DUI conviction, forcing you to find insurance with a carrier specializing in high-risk drivers. 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 after paying fines, completing 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 visiting friends out of state when the DUI happens, you will still be on the hook back home. Furthermore, a second DUI in another state can significantly impact 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 convicted of a DUI are often mandated by the court to carry insurance and must provide proof of these insurance limits before their license is 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 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 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.