Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Feb 28, 2021

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If you’re trying to save money on car insurance, a DUI conviction is the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen to you.

One conviction can double, or even triple your existing rates, and leave you in the dog house for years to come.

In worst case scenarios, your insurance provider may even cancel your existing policy, thereby adding another harmful blemish to your record.

Why are Drunk Driving Convictions so Expensive?

According to Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) every two minutes a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.

Consequences of a DUI Conviction

When most people talk about the consequences of a DUI conviction, they rarely mention its impact on your car insurance policy.

Rather, they focus on the legal fees and their possible loss of driving privileges.

Without a doubt, the legal fees and pending fine and jail time can be expensive and even a bit scary.

Losing driving privileges can be even worse.

After all, who wants to rely on a friend, family member, or cab driver to go anywhere?

Helpful Information about a DUI/SR-22

Helpful DUI / SR-22 Articles
Cheap Insurance w/ a DUI
Changing Auto Insurance to Save
What EVERY DUI Offender Should Know
Ignition Interlock Devices
Top DUI Auto Insurance Companies
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Legal Fees and Fines

As bad as the legal fees and loss of driving privileges are, they pale in comparison to the high costs of car insurance following a DUI.

With just one DUI conviction, you’ll be subjected to the much higher DUI rates for car insurance.

You could be stuck paying $1500 or more extra on your car insurance premium each year that the offense stays on your record.

And that’s if you’re lucky.

This graph illustrates how much a drivers auto insurance increases after a drunk diving conviction.

If your driving record prior to the DUI wasn’t squeaky clean, you may find yourself being cut off and left to dry by your current auto insurance provider.

That’s right – a few accidents, driving infractions, and a DUI will put you in the category of being way too risky to insure.

Your car insurance provider will want nothing to do with you, and they’ll cancel your policy.

Other auto insurance providers will see both the DUI conviction, and the car insurance cancellation, and then either decline to offer you a policy, or make you pay ridiculously high rates.

And you thought $1500 more per year was bad!

How Much Damage Does a DUI do?

Added Insurance Costs$2500 - $5,000
DUI Lawyer$800 - $2,500
Court Fines$400 - $1,000
Alcohol Treatment / Education$400 - $1,000
Towing and Impound$100 – $1,000
Bail$150 – $2,000
Ignition Lock$150 - $250
Licensing Fees$50 - $150
Total$4,550 - $12,000+
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Learn about California DUI Insurance Here

The good news is that it typically takes insurance companies as long as 12 months after your DUI conviction to review your records and either bump your rates or cancel your insurance policy.

The bad news is that the DUI charge will stay on your record for up to 5 to 10 years depending on the state.

Staggering Statistics of Impaired Driving

The following table shows the percentage of drivers who were under the influence of alcohol from 2014 to 2016.

The statistics include the amount of drivers under the legal limit to drive.

16 to 2018%20%20%
21 to 2434%32%28%
25 to 3430%28%28%
35 to 4425%24%24%
45 to 5421%24%20%
55 to 6414%14%12%
65 to 748%8%8%
Over 745%5%5%
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How to reduce coverage after a conviction?

Now that you know that your car insurance rates will soar after a DUI conviction, you’re probably asking yourself one question: “what can I do to bring my car insurance rates back down?”

If you’re a repeat offender, then there’s not much you can do about it.

You’ve slipped up one too many times, and now you have to pay for it.

However, if this is your first DUI conviction, then you may be in luck.

Affects of a DUI

Company*Without DUI**With DUI***
The Hartford$1,721$2,451
National Avg.$2,287$3,364
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Believe it or not, there have been many instances where a person convicted of a DUI experienced only the slightest of increases in their auto insurance rates.

So, what can you do to keep your car insurance rates down following a DUI?

Your Prior Driving Record

Well, for starters, it’s important that you have a clean accident and infraction record.

The cleaner your record, the greater leniency an insurance company is likely to offer when it comes to hitting you with their costlier DUI rates.

Your squeaky clean record is a strong indicator that you DUI conviction may have been the exception rather than the norm.

You’ll still pay a higher auto insurance rate, but the increase won’t be nearly as bad as it could be.

This graph illustrates how much a drivers car insurance goes up by insurance company when convicted of a DUI or drunk driving charge.

More Policies

If you have more than one policy with your auto insurance provider, you’re likely receiving a discount.

That discount will help offset any rate increase you may experience following the DUI conviction.

Other possible policies that you may hold include home insurance, rental insurance or even motorcycle insurance.

This chart illustrated top insurance companies offering coverage for a DUI and how much a drivers insurance can go up when convicted.

If you have another insurance policy besides auto insurance, contact your insurance provider to see about merging the two to get a discounted rate.

Increase Your Deductible

One of the easiest ways to reduce your insurance rates, whether you have a DUI conviction or not, is to increase your deductible.

By making that change and adjusting other limits on your car insurance policy, you’ll be able to significantly reduce the increase in your rates after being convicted on a DUI charge.

Here are typical percentage savings with a deductible increase:

  • 7 percent if you increase your deductible from $250 to $500.
  • 9 percent if you raise your deductible from $500 to $1,000.
  • 16 percent by hiking your deductible from $500 to $2,000.

Be careful not to increase your deductible to an amount that you wouldn’t be able to afford should you get into an accident, as they could wind up setting you back even further.

If you are considering increasing the deductible amount, you should calculate how much you could realistically pay, and make that your limit.

Be Proactive & Get Your Rates Lowered

The very best way to limit the increase in your auto insurance rates after a DUI is to be proactive in seeking out methods to save.

Most insurance providers will offer you discounts if you take classes that promote safe driving.

An example of one of these classes is Defensive Driving. Although the class may ruin your Saturday, it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your car insurance rates low after a DUI charge.

Defensive Driving Courses

A Defensive Driving class isn’t the only way to save on your auto insurance rates following a DUI.

You should be comparing auto insurance quotes at least once each year to find out if you can get a cheaper rate with a different provider.

Some insurance policies may be more forgiving than others, particularly with respect to one’s first DUI offense.

Affects of Driver’s Ed Courses

An initial $600 investment could save you this much over time:

Yearly PremiumWithout Defensive Driver Course With Defensive Driver CourseDifference
1st Year$6,870$5,181$1,689
2nd Year$6,465$5,007$1,458
3rd Year$6,196$4,784$1,412
4th Year*$5,764$4,389$1,375
5th Year$5,583$4,218$1,365
Total / Savings$30,878$23,579$7299**
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*At the fourth year another defensive driver course was taken. Total investment would be $1,200 for two (2) courses.

**The amount of savings is $7,299 – $1,200 (for two defensive driver courses) which equals $6,099.


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By entering your zip code into our advanced quote platform, you’ll be able to see what you’d pay and how much you’d save if you switched to another car insurance provider. 

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