How long does a DUI on your record affect your car insurance?

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In a nutshell...
  • Drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence will pay more for their personal auto insurance
  • If you’re cited and arrested for DUI, your rates won’t go up right away
  • Insurance companies don’t surcharge you for a DUI until the term after you’ve been convicted of the offense
  • A DUI conviction can be surcharged for up to three years and it will be added to your policy when your policy renews
  • The DUI will show up on your driving record for up to seven years and it can affect your eligibility for coverage

Driving under the influence is a serious conviction. If you’re lucky enough to be able to keep your license after being arrested for drunk driving, you will still have to deal with the restrictions that come with your new driving privilege.

Not only will you be granted a restricted license, you’ll also have to deal with your insurer and mandatory rate increases.

Auto insurance already comes with a higher price tag than you’d prefer to pay. When you factor in being convicted of a major moving violation like a DUI, you have to pay exorbitantly higher rates than you were paying before.

Compare car insurance options to find the lowest rate possible for your situation.

Fortunately, there’s a limit to how long you can be surcharged for making a mistake in your driving past. Here’s what you need to know about DUI surcharges:

Your Driving Record Will Affect Your Rates

There are more than a dozen different factors that are used to set your rates for the term. One of the most popular factors that are used to determine if a household is eligible for coverage is your driving record.

It’s not just your driving record that matters, but also the driving records of all of the rated drivers in your home.

When you have a clean driving record, you can qualify as any of the following:

  • Preferred rating class
  • Standard rating class
  • High-risk rating class

Preferred policies have the best premiums but you can also find a good deal when you fall into a standard class.

It’s when you or a driver in your home is classified as a high risk that you’ll start to see a huge jump in your premiums.

How do insurance companies see your tickets?

Insurance companies will run your motor vehicle report when you first apply for coverage. This report is what helps the carrier set your final premiums and issue the policy.

Once the policy is in effect, the carrier won’t run your driving record again until it’s time for your policy to renew. Most reports are run about 30 days before the renewal date.

If you’ve been with your carrier for more than a few terms, there’s a chance that your insurer won’t even run your motor vehicle report every term in an effort to save money. It costs the insurer money each time a report is requested.

Cutting out the costs for safer drivers is one way to cut operational expenses.

When will a DUI show on your records?

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If you’re cited for driving under the influence, the citation will show on your driving record within days. While it will show up on your driving record, it won’t show a conviction date because the case is still technically pending.

So even though a DUI will appear on any up-to-date report, it won’t immediately affect your insurance.

In the eyes of the law, you’re not technically guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol until you’ve been convicted of the offense in court. You could be convicted of DUI fast if you plead guilty when you’re arraigned.

If you decide to fight the charge or garner a plea deal, it could take months before your record reflects that you’ve been convicted.

Your auto insurance company won’t be able to charge you for having a DUI or consider the offense for rating until you’ve been convicted.

If your renewal approaches, your motor vehicle record is run, and the report doesn’t show a conviction, you’ll be rated for the next renewal as if the DUI hasn’t happened.

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What is a surcharge for a DUI?

When you’re convicted of any type of moving violation, the insurer reserves the right to surcharge your premiums. A surcharge is a penalty charge that’s applied to the total policy premium.

Surcharges are applied for not just major moving violations, but minor infractions and at-fault accidents as well.

If you’re going to stay with your current insurer after you’ve had a DUI, you won’t see the charge on your policy right away.

Instead, you’ll see your classification change and the surcharge on your next renewal after the case has been settled. If you were to change insurer after the conviction, the DUI could be considered on the new policy.

What happens if the insurer has strict underwriting guidelines?


Most insurance companies in the standard marketplace will insure an experienced driver who’s been convicted of driving drunk.

Preferred insurers with more strict eligibility requirements, however, might not accept any driver on the policy that has a DUI. This risk of not being accepted can create problems for you when you’re renewing.

If the insurance company has decided not to renew your insurance because of your driving record, you’ll receive a notice of non-renewal in the mail before the renewal date.

The notice must tell you why you can’t continue your insurance and when the coverage will expire. If this happens, you’ll have to do business with another insurer.

How long will you pay the price?

If you have a DUI, you need to prepare yourself to pay some hefty fines. You’ll have to pay to enroll in a DUI class but you’ll also have to pay inflated insurance premiums.

The average policyholder pays about twice as much as they were paying after a DUI. If you have another citation, you’ll pay another 30 percent.

Fortunately, your rates won’t stay high forever. Most carriers are only allowed to surcharge rates for three years after a conviction date. Some states have extended the time period to five years for major convictions. You’ll have to check to see what’s allowed in your state.

Having a DUI on your record can still affect you after the violation is no longer chargeable. Insurers can look at DUI record for seven to ten years when they are determining eligibility.

If you’re not eligible for insurance through your current insurer, now is the time to get online auto insurance quotes so that you can find the best possible rate for high-risk coverage. Enter your zip code below to begin.

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