Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New York can have serious consequences, including jail time, fines and the suspension of your license. But how long a DUI affects your insurance may be what you want to understand.

The result of a DWI conviction in New York can show up as premium surcharges on your car insurance for several years. These surcharges will cause an increase in your premium and higher rates for you to continue to have insurance.

Key Highlights
  • A DWI can stay on your driving record for up to 10 years in New York.
  • Convictions for driving while intoxicated can result in increased insurance rates or revoked insurance, in some cases.
  • You can also face jail time, fines and Driver Responsibility Assessment fees.

How long does a DWI or DWAI stay on your record in New York when it comes to your driving record and insurance record?

A conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) stays on your New York driving record for 10 years, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If a driver is convicted of the same violation during those 10 years, the driver can receive additional penalties due to that being considered a second or subsequent offense.

First, it’s important to know the different offenses related to driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs in the state. These violations in New York include:

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): BAC of .08 or higher or other evidence of intoxication.
  • Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI): BAC of .18 or higher.
  • Driving While Ability Impaired (by alcohol) (DWAI/Alcohol): BAC of .05 to .07 or other evidence of impairment.
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug Other Than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug)
  • Driving While Ability Impaired by the Combined Influence or Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination)

There are other convictions and accidents of a serious type that can remain on a driver’s record for more than 10 years, too. Keep in mind that a DWI, DWAI or other similar convictions can result in time in jail time, fines and license suspension. You may also need to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment for the next three years if you have a DWAI or DWI conviction.

Typically, the minimum amount of time you will have your license suspended is for six months for a DWI, but it can be longer depending on the conviction, according to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. Keep in mind that it is a criminal offense to drive your vehicle while your license is suspended or revoked.

DWI and car insurance

Anyone who has a DUI or DWI conviction In New York will be considered a high-risk driver. If they had no previous convictions, their insurance provider may decide to continue covering them, but the company may require that they have a high-risk policy as a result.

You can find out more about increased rates for DUI/DWI by referring to our DUI insurance page, which covers information that applies to New York’s DWI and DWAI charges.

The increase in your car insurance comes from something known as surcharges. In general, an insurance company will look back and rate you on your motor vehicle record (MVR) infractions for three, five or seven years.

The New York Department of Insurance, the insurance regulator for the state, notes that premium surcharges due to accidents or convictions are governed by the state insurance law and regulations, which allow surcharges to be applied during the experience period (typically three years) for specified incidents. Some of these include:

  • accidents involving bodily injury or death, or losses to property in excess of $1,000, where the insured driver is at fault; or
  • driving while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • operating a vehicle while attempting to avoid apprehension by a law enforcement officer
  • leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it
  • operating a vehicle in a race or speed test
  • filing a false insurance claim

Typically, your surcharge with your car insurance company would last three years. New York has laws in place that say that no policy can be surcharged to a level where the premium exceeds more than three times the base premium for the highest-rated vehicle covered by that policy. Surcharges in New York only apply to the premiums for liability insurance, no-fault (personal injury protection) and collision coverages.

Your auto insurance company must notify you of the exact dollar amount of any surcharges (or even discounts) being applied to your policy as well as the dates of any accidents or convictions on which those surcharges are based. This information must be on or attached to your policy declarations page, which contains key identifying information about you and your policy.

The surcharge will likely be for three years, though you should speak to your insurance provider to find out for certain how long they will rate and by how much your rates may go up due to the DUI, which they can see on your MVR for 10 years.

Cancellation of car insurance in New York

You should know that your car insurance may be canceled due to any suspension resulting from your DWI/DWAI. In New York, a policy can only be canceled in mid-term (after 60 days on a new policy) for a few specific reasons, but one reason is the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license of the named insured or any other person who customarily operates an automobile insured under the policy (not including administrative suspensions).

Whether or not your insurer will drop you will be determined by your insurance carrier’s underwriting guidelines. If you were to be canceled, you would receive a notification from your insurer. If your provider decides not to drop you to an alcohol-related conviction, you can expect your rates to go up — by how much depend on the significance of your offense and whether you have other serious convictions.

You asked how long the DWI/DWAI stays on your insurance record, and we told you how long it may be rated. Your insurance company looks to your MVR to see which offenses are recently on there or still on there to rate you on.

In short, if you have a DWI or DWAI on your driving record in New York, your car insurance rates will be affected. If this is happening to you, you may want to shop around and make sure you are getting the lowest rates possible. CarInsurance.com is an Online Insurance Marketplace™ that gives consumers the opportunity to shop and compare insurance companies online. You also have the ability to compare car insurance companies in New York and to purchase your policy directly through CarInsurance.com.

Resources & Methodology

Sources

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. “Cancellation and Non-Renewal.” Accessed November 2022.

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. “Standard Driving Record Abstracts.” Accessed November 2022.

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. “Penalties for Alcohol or Drug-Related Offenses.” Accessed November 2022.

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. “The Impaired Driver Program.” Accessed November 2022.

— Michelle Megna contributed to this story