How Does a DUI Affect Your Auto Insurance?

A man in the driver's seat of a car breathing into a breathalyzer to determine the possibility of a DUIDriving under the influence is a serious offense that can not only temporarily lose your license but can affect your insurance for years to come. While everyone finds this an easy misdemeanor to avoid, people aren’t always aware of how just two drinks can put you over the legal limit or that certain prescription drugs can land you in deep water behind the wheel. There are obvious safety concerns when it comes to drinking and driving, but let’s review the further financial implications by discussing how a DUI can affect your auto insurance.

How Does a DUI Affect Your Auto Insurance Rate?

If charged with a DUI violation, your auto insurance will go up. DUI drivers are generally riskier to insure, and some insurance companies may even refuse coverage. According to Bankrate, drivers in Massachusetts face a staggering 87% increase in their insurance rates after a DUI. As time passes and your driving history recovers, insurance companies will gradually begin to lower your rate, but this may take years. In Massachusetts, a DUI conviction will remain on your motor vehicle report for ten years, and after that time has passed, you should witness a decrease in your auto insurance rate.

When Do You Need to Inform an Insurance Provider of a DUI?

You should notify your insurance carrier right away after a court conviction. This will undoubtedly increase your premiums, but being proactive can help you determine the damage to your insurance rather than being surprised later on when they inevitably find out. Here are a few examples of when you should inform an insurance provider of a DUI:

  • When Seeking a New Policy: A carrier will discover if you’ve had a DUI when trying to determine your rate or whether to offer you a policy. It can take up to 60 days for a provider to review an application, so it’s better to find out if your insurable right the bat.
  • When on an Existing Policy: Your carrier will discover that you have a DUI at the six-month or one-year mark or when performing an underwriting examination of your record. It’s best to inform them early to learn and prepare for the consequences.
  • When a Named Insured is Convicted of a DUI: If a family member or another person is insured on your policy, their DUI conviction can affect your rates or even result in a cancellation of your policy. Discuss this charge with your insurance agent to find out the penalties.

Filing an SR-22 certificate may be required to get your license back, which provides proof you carry the state’s liability insurance minimums. You may have to contact your insurance carrier to obtain the form, meaning the sooner you inform them of the charge, the quicker the process will be.

Will Auto Insurance Cover You in the Event of a DUI?

Your auto insurance will cover your up to your policy’s limit. Regardless of fault – even if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs – your insurance will cover the damage to your car. Your insurance will also cover damage to someone else’s property and any subsequent injuries. However, some insurance companies may deem drinking and driving as an accident resulting from intentional conduct, which is not covered. If you are denied coverage, you may need to seek legal representation.

Understanding how a DUI can affect your auto insurance is just further incentive on why you should never risk getting behind the wheel when drinking or using drugs. However, if you have a DUI on your record from your younger years, it can still be difficult to obtain coverage. At TJ Woods Insurance, we can help you obtain the best auto insurance, even if you had a moment of poor judgment. If you need our help finding the right coverage for you, contact us today.