Getting a DUI (driving under the influence) conviction can significantly impact your auto insurance rates. A DUI is one of the major violations that can increase your car insurance premiums exponentially. According to industry estimates, a DUI can increase your car insurance rates by an average of 92% overall. However, the exact increase depends on factors like your state, insurance company, driving record, and more.
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, finding affordable car insurance can be challenging. But with some work, it’s possible to find the best auto insurance after a DUI and potentially save hundreds of dollars per year on your premiums. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to find the cheapest auto insurance after a DUI.
Shop Around and Compare Quotes
The single most important thing you can do to find cheaper car insurance after a DUI is to shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurers. Rates can vary dramatically between insurance companies after a DUI. On average, you should get quotes from at least five to seven different insurers to find the best rate.
Get quotes from a mix of large national insurers as well as smaller regional and local insurance companies. Some smaller insurers may offer lower rates for drivers with DUIs. When comparing, look at both the overall premium as well as line-item coverages. Make sure you are comparing equivalent coverage limits and deductibles.
You can shop around and get quotes directly from insurer websites or through an independent insurance agent who works with multiple carriers. There are also insurance comparison websites that let you get side-by-side quotes from different companies online.
Look for Companies Specializing in High-Risk Insurance
After a DUI, you are now considered a high-risk driver. There are specialty insurance companies that specifically cover higher-risk drivers. These non-standard auto insurers typically use more customized underwriting and may evaluate you beyond just your driving record.
Some companies to check rates from include:
- GEICO (GEICO Advantage)
- Progressive (Progressive Direct)
- National General
- The General
- Dairyland Auto
- Direct Auto
- Infinity Auto Insurance
Because they specialize in higher-risk drivers, some of these carriers may offer lower rates compared to standard companies after a DUI. Make sure to get quotes from a few to compare.
Increase Your Deductibles
Choosing higher deductibles can substantially reduce your car insurance premiums. For example, increasing your deductibles from $500 to $1000 could save you 25% or more on your premiums depending on the insurer.
Most standard policies come with lower deductibles, so you may need to specifically request higher deductible options from your insurer. Make sure to get quotes with different deductibles and compare both the premium prices and out-of-pocket costs.
Drop Comprehensive and Collision Coverage
Comprehensive and collision coverage pay for damage to your own vehicle from a collision or other covered events like theft or vandalism. They are optional and increasing your deductibles or dropping these coverages can lower your rates.
However, comprehensive and collision may be required if you have a car loan or lease. Review your financing terms before removing this coverage. And avoid dropping collision and comprehensive for newer cars or vehicles you couldn’t afford to replace out-of-pocket.
Enroll in a Defensive Driving Course
Many states allow attending defensive driving courses to earn a car insurance discount ranging from 5% to 20% typically. Courses teach accident avoidance techniques and safe driving practices.
Completing an approved defensive driving course shows insurers you are taking steps to become a safer driver. It can help offset some of the rate increase from a DUI on your record.
Look Into Usage-Based Insurance
Usage-based insurance programs use a telematics device or mobile app to track your driving habits like mileage, braking, speed, and time of driving. Good driving can earn you significant discounts with usage-based insurance.
This allows your premiums to be more personalized and can demonstrate you are a safer driver after a DUI violation. Look for insurers with usage-based insurance options like Progressive, Allstate, and State Farm.
Maintain a Clean Driving Record
The most effective way to decrease your rates over time after a DUI is to maintain a clean driving record. Each year you go without another moving violation or accident helps lower your risk profile.
Sticking to the speed limit, following traffic laws, and practicing defensive driving techniques will help you rebuild your record. After about 3 years with a clean record, you can see significant savings.
Look for Discounts and Opportunities to Save
There are many common car insurance discounts to look for that can help offset the costs of a DUI. Discounts like multi-policy, good student, advance shopper, anti-theft devices, and more can lead to savings.
You may also save by having your teen driver on their own policy after a DUI. And consider bundling home or life insurance with your auto insurer. Make sure to ask about any other ways to save.
Compare Rates Annually
Shopping around for lower rates should be an annual process. As noted above, maintaining a clean record for several years will help improve your risk profile. You should compare quotes from insurers every year or when policies renew to find any additional savings.
Over time, a DUI conviction will have less impact on your rates. But you need to proactively check the market regularly for better pricing as your record improves. Don’t just let your policy auto-renew.
Know When to File Claims
Insurance rate increases from a DUI conviction can make filing claims painful. One at-fault accident while paying high-risk rates can be devastating. As such, you may want to avoid comprehensive or collision claims for minor fender benders or damages.
However, you should always file claims after a serious accident with injuries or significant vehicle damage that exceeds deductibles. Failing to report legitimate claims can be considered insurance fraud.
Consider State High-Risk Insurance Pools
If you’ve been denied coverage from multiple insurers, look into your state’s high-risk insurance pool. All states offer some type of high-risk or “shared market” plan to provide coverage options for high-risk drivers.
These state insurance pools should be an absolute last resort given expensive premiums. But they do provide a coverage option if you can’t find insurance elsewhere after a DUI.
Work With an Independent Agent
An experienced independent insurance agent who works with many companies can be a big help shopping for cheaper rates after a DUI. They will identify insurers more amenable to high-risk drivers and save you time comparing numerous quotes.
Independent agents can also assist with defensive driving courses, advice for improving your record over time, finding state high-risk pools, and more. Their expertise can be invaluable for navigating insurance after a DUI conviction.
Consult a DUI Attorney
Speaking with a DUI attorney can be helpful to better understand all the consequences of your conviction. They can provide information on steps to take to help reduce insurance rate impacts over time.
Attorneys also know what reductions in DUI penalties and charges are potentially available in your state that could limit damage to your driving record and insurance rates. This varies by state, so legal expertise is useful.
The Bottom Line
A DUI conviction results in much higher car insurance premiums, on average around 90% higher. While rates will be expensive, you can take proactive steps to control costs and find the most affordable coverage.
Shopping around, increasing deductibles, earning discounts, and maintaining a clean driving record can all help minimize the insurance rate hike. While challenging, finding affordable auto insurance after a DUI is possible given some persistence, diligence, and effort.