Drivers with DUI See Thousands of Dollars in Increased Insurance Premiums

If potential devastating injuries and loss of life aren’t enough to deter drunk drivers, the hike in insurance rates might be.

A California-based study comparing quotes from an online insurance provider looked at the price increases receiving a DUI charge can have on a person’s auto insurance rates. In many cases, a DUI can cause a driver to see an increase in the range of several hundred dollars to several thousands, depending on their coverage and their age.

During the analysis, three major insurance providers in California were compared for three ages of drivers, and then compared again for whether or not the person had a DUI or not. Results indicate that when a driver receives a DUI, even without injury, their premium would rise by 41 percent, on average. For younger drivers, aged 19, a DUI meant they would see a premium increase 63 percent higher than the premium increase for a driver with a DUI who was 35 years of age.

Several factors are considered when insurance companies look at level of risk for a policyholder, but a DUI on the driver’s history puts that driver in a higher risk category and thus a higher premium. A driver who receives a DUI without injury can expect to see a large gamut of rate increases for insurance policies, ranging from 27 percent to up to 57 percent – dependent on the insurance companies methods and guidelines for acquiring higher-risk drivers.

If a person has lost their driver’s license during the DUI process, and is able to renew it once their suspension has concluded, they will be required to submit an SR-22 Proof of Financial Responsibility Form to their insurance provider in many states. The SR-22 is a vehicle liability insurance form used to prove that a driver has met the required liability insurance coverage in the state in which they live.

The insurance provider will file a driver’s SR-22 form with the Department of Motor Vehicles to demonstrate that the driver has truly purchased car insurance before a license can be renewed. This prevents drivers with DUI convictions from avoiding paying for or purchasing their policy once its rates have been inflated, and also prevents drivers from taking out a policy to get a license back and then cancelling it. The SR-22 form also means drivers with DUI convictions will not be able to conceal their DUI charges as they apply for insurance. In many states, the SR-22 form will need to renewed by a driver for three to five years following their DUI conviction.

Once receiving a DUI conviction, a driver’s insurance rates can continue to climb with any additional tickets or infractions for years, totaling thousands of dollars in increased premiums. Insurance carriers may also choose to cancel a person’s policy once they receive a DUI, adding a double-blow to the rate hikes they will likely see as they try to renew insurance with both a policy cancellation and a DUI on their history.

The significant increase in auto insurance premiums are only one of the life-altering events that follow a DUI, and pale in comparison to a driver becoming seriously injured, killing another driver and enduring a lifetime of emotional consequences.