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DUI/DWI Car Insurance

Written by Todd Clay. Posted in Definitions, Research Last Updated: 03/23/2011

3 Things to Know About Your Auto Insurance When You’re Ticketed For Drunk Driving

Car Insurance after a DUI Can Be Tough

Car Insurance after a DUI Can Be Tough

Car Insurance cancelled after a DUI or DWI? It could never happen to you, right?

You never drive after 2 drinks.  You always call a cab instead of getting behind the wheel.  But for whatever reason, things were different this time.  You picked up the keys and drove yourself home.  Before you knew it, you saw the flashing lights.  Against all odds, you have a DUI.

Whatever they call it in your state (DUI, DWI, OWI, or OVI) it all amounts to a similar thing.  Problems.  If you’re convicted of drunk driving, estimates suggest you’ll pay over $10,000 for attorney’s fees, car insurance premium increases, court costs, and related items.  It’s a serious matter.  Wherever you are on the road to DUI recovery, these three steps will help you get back on track with your auto insurance.

Step 1: Get Legal Counsel

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.  It’s just suggestions to help with your car insurance in a DUI situation.  Before talking to the court about your ticket, get an attorney.  Now is not the time to be the Lone Ranger in front of a judge.  There’s just no substitute for a good lawyer in a DUI situation, especially as it relates to your auto insurance.

For one, experienced attorneys will give you perspective.  You’re not the first person they’ve coached through a DUI or DWI, nor will you be the last.  Second, they will help you with all the little steps like filing necessary documents, to helping you show remorse in front of the judge (that high school drama class will finally come in handy).  Third, a good lawyer should help you get a lesser sentence if you’re convicted.  That alone will be worth the fees they charge, especially since you’ll be able to keep your car insurance.

One last thing relates to your car insurance: If you don’t have a driver’s license, you don’t have insurance.  If an attorney can save your license, then it’s worth every penny you pay them.  Who knows?  They may even be able to get you out of a conviction.  If so, then you’ll get to keep your policy with the same rates.

Step 2: Handling Your Car Insurance Policy

If you’re convicted of a DUI or DWI and you get to keep your driver’s license, you’ll probably need an SR-22 filing.  That means your state must obtain proof of liability coverage from an car insurance company for you to maintain your license.

Not all companies provide SR-22 insurance.  If you have auto insurance with a preferred company, they’ll either cancel your policy or non-renew it once it comes up for renewal.  A DUI and DWI are a big pain in this regard.  If you’re cancelled by your auto insurance company, you have some shopping to do.

At this point, you’ll need quotes for non-standard car insurance.  Either get a quote here or call up some local insurers for some quotes.  Either way, don’t wait until your auto policy is cancelled from your DUI or DWI.  Getting auto insurance afterwards will be even more expensive, if they can even write the policy.

Don’t forget.  When you’re talking with these car insurance companies or filling out online forms, be honest.  Being up front about a DUI or DWI will save you time and frustration when talking with an agent.  If they can’t help you, they’ll let you know, and probably get you in touch with someone who can.  The more open you are about your DUI situation, the easier it will be to get auto insurance.

Step 3: Drive Safely

I’m not gonna lie to you – you will pay more for non-standard (not preferred) auto insurance.  Such is the cost of a DWI.  But rest assured, DUI and DWI pricing is not forever.  As bad as it may seem right now, a conviction usually falls off your driving record within 10 years (sometimes sooner).  But, that doesn’t mean you’ll be hosed by your auto insurance company that long.

Typically, preferred companies want to see continuous coverage for 3 years with no SR-22 filings, even after a DUI.  Once you get 24-36 months under your belt with a non-standard policy and the state drops the SR-22 requirement, give some of the standby car insurance companies a call.  They may be more than happy to quote you again.  If they write your policy, even with a DUI 3 years ago, chances are you’ll save 25-65% on your car insurance.

Lastly, I can’t stress this one enough: drive safely.  Whatever caused your DUI or DWI, don’t let it happen again.  As bad as this situation is, it will be worse with a second DUI conviction, where jail time is often mandated.  If necessary, get involved in an AA class, or another related program.

Whatever you do, don’t drink and drive again.  You know how much a DUI costs – you don’t want to pay a steeper price with another one.  By driving safely, society and your family will enjoy the benefits and you’ll get it all back from your car insurance savings.

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Todd Clay

Todd Clay is a former insurance agent with the largest insurance company in the United States. He earned his Bachelor’s from the University of Texas. He’s worked in several fields but has specialized in insurance, financial-related information, and technology. He blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook.

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  • kitty

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    Fantastic expertise about this subject. Thanks for posting.

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