Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs increases your chances of being involved in a car accident, and if you’re caught driving under the influence you may face a license suspension and increased car insurance rates. A DUI can stay on your driving record for up to 10 years, depending on the state where you live. Learn more about what happens after a DUI conviction, including how it can affect your car insurance premiums.
How long does a DUI affect your insurance?
Insurance companies generally take into account the last three to five years when calculating your insurance premium, so if you’ve had a DUI in that time frame you can expect to pay more for insurance. The exact time frame depends on the individual insurance company.
When you are charged with a DUI, your state department of motor vehicles (DMV) will generally add points to your driver’s license. The amount of points added varies from state to state. Some states have a time limit for the points, so they will expire after a certain amount of time on your license. Other states will decrease points each year you drive without being issued any driving violations.
Drivers in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, and Rhode Island will have their DUI on their driving record for 5 years. But there are a handful of states that will keep it on your record for 10 years or more. Florida, for example, keeps a DUI on a driver’s record for 75 years, and New Mexico will keep it on record for 55 years. And in some states, like Ohio, Illinois, Texas, and Vermont, the DUI will be on your record forever.
When insurance companies issue new policies or renew existing ones, they will look at your driving record to determine how big a risk you pose. In general, drivers with a higher number of points on their license are seen as more risky to the insurance company than drivers with a clean record. These drivers will notice their insurance premiums increase after one or several violations, including a DUI.
How much does a DUI affect your car insurance cost?
While a DUI will usually cause your insurance premiums to rise, the exact amount depends on several factors, including the state where you live and the number of points on your license. To get a more accurate idea of how long a DUI will affect your insurance costs, it’s a good idea to contact your car insurance provider. They can tell you exactly how much your premiums will rise and for how long. Some insurance companies may refuse to cover a driver who has a DUI on their record, so it’s also important to ask your insurer provider whether they will even continue to offer you insurance now that you’ve been caught driving under the influence.
Research shows that car insurance can increase anywhere from 75 to 80 percent after a DUI. That huge increase in insurance costs may mean you aren’t able to continue driving; and that’s if you can even find an insurer who will cover you. If you need to continue driving after a DUI but your insurer either won’t cover you or increases your premiums drastically, there are a few things you can do in order to find coverage.
First, it’s a good idea to shop around different insurance companies to see if any will cover you. If you can’t find any coverage, you can look into nonstandard car insurance, which isn’t widely offered and tends to be expensive. Failing that, you can purchase coverage through your state’s assigned risk pool for auto insurance. This coverage is costly and should generally be your last resort after exhausting all other options.
How to get a DUI off your driving record
In most cases, you will need to wait a certain amount of time before the DUI is removed from your driving record. The amount of time depends on where you live. But you may be able to get a DUI charge reduced or removed from your criminal record by working with a lawyer who is familiar with DUI law in your state. But remember, there are some states that will keep a DUI on your record for decades, and others that will keep it on record forever.
When it comes to car insurance rates, a DUI that’s been expunged from your criminal record will not have an effect on your premiums. Since the DUI will still appear on your driving record, your car insurance rate will continue to be high until the DUI is removed, or until it’s older than the time frame that the insurer looks at when calculating car insurance rates. If you have a DUI on your record and live in a state that keeps it on record for a long time, your best bet is to demonstrate responsible driving behavior and avoid speeding and other bad driving habits to help your record stay clean, which will in turn decrease your car insurance premiums.
How to check your driving record
If you’re curious whether an old DUI is still on your driving record, you can check to see exactly what shows up and what doesn’t. To find out the exact method in your state, it’s best to contact the DMV to ask how to check your driving record.
To go about this, you’ll first need to go to your state DMV’s website. You can search “[state] department of motor vehicles” to find the website, but make sure it ends in .gov so you know it’s the official site. Once there, you can search the site for a driving record page, which may be listed under “documents” or “records.” You may need to login and verify your identity in order to view the information, and there may be a fee involved in order to view a full driving record. The exact steps and fee will depend on where you live, so contacting the DMV directly is the best way to check your driving record to see exactly what is on it.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is irresponsible behavior that could cause injury or death. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, it can stay on your record for decades or longer, and it can increase your car insurance rates. The best way to avoid dealing with this scenario is to drive responsibly, and call a rideshare or taxi to take you home if you’ve been drinking.