Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • A DUI conviction can affect your car insurance rates for three to five years, and sometimes longer depending on where you live
  • Drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence will pay more for their personal car insurance and are often classified as high-risk
  • Insurance companies don’t surcharge you for a DUI until the term after you’ve been convicted of the offense

One of the first things drivers will want to know after being convicted of driving under the influence is this: how long does a DUI affect your car insurance rates?

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 face a number of new challenges, including higher car insurance rates.

A DUI will generally affect your car insurance rates for three years. But depending on where you live, it could be much longer.

We get it. Car insurance already comes with a higher price tag than you’d probably prefer to pay. When you factor in being convicted of a major moving violation like a DUI, you can expect car insurance companies to respond by charging much higher rates than you were paying before.

Right now, we’re digging deeper into DUI convictions and car insurance rates. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you can also begin shopping for more affordable car insurance rates. Start by entering your ZIP code into our free car insurance comparison tool.

How a DUI Affects Your Car Insurance Rates

How does a DUI affect your car insurance? Let’s begin with the basics. There are more than a dozen different factors that are used to set your rates for the term.

It should come as no surprise that one of those factors is your driving record. This can include everything from tickets to car accidents to DUIs. This brief video breaks down some of what insurers are looking for, and why:

How much will car insurance increase after a ticket? Your car insurance may increase a few hundred dollars for violations such as speeding or reckless driving. It can also increase because you’re a teenage driver with little to no experience.

But here’s the deal: it’s not just your driving record that matters, but also the driving records of all of the rated drivers in your home.

When it comes to car insurance customers, drivers can qualify as any of the following:

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

Those who fall in the preferred class usually have the best driving records and, therefore, the best premiums. Those who fall in the standard class may have an average record, but can still find a good deal.

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you will be considered a high-risk driver. As a result, having a DUI will affect your rates.

The fact that insurers will charge higher rates for those convicted of a DUI should not come as a shock. After all, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes every single day. This breaks down to one person every 50 minutes.

When you or a driver in your home is classified as high risk, you’ll start to see a huge jump in your premiums. However, your insurer may not provide the option of insuring high-risk drivers. If this is the case, it will be critical that you find out what car insurance companies offer high-risk insurance so that you can ensure coverage as quickly as possible.

How do car insurance companies look for DUIs?

As you apply for car insurance coverage, insurance companies will run your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR). An MVR contains violations, such as traffic citations, accident reports, points, and convictions. As a result, this report is what helps the carrier set your final premiums and issue the policy.

So, in terms of how long a DUI will affect your car insurance rates, here’s what you need to know:

The information on an MVR can go back anywhere from three to ten years, depending on where you live and depending on the seriousness of the charge. As long as you have a DUI conviction listed on your MVR, this will affect your car insurance rates.

Once the policy is in effect, the carrier won’t run your driving record again until it’s time for your policy to renew, which is usually every six months or once a year, depending on the terms of your overage. Most reports are run about 30 days before the renewal date.

So if you are wondering when does a DUI get reported to insurance, insurers won’t find out until they run a report. 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.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI and had your driver’s license taken, you’ll likely have an administrative suspension on your record. A driving record check will show this to your insurer. Arrest records will also impact employment background checks for a period of seven years.

It costs the insurer money each time a report is requested. Read on to learn how long will a DUI affect insurance rates.

When does a DUI show up on your driving record to insurers?

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. However, 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 car 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.

Here’s another important question: should I report a DUI to my insurance company? Unless you’ve been ordered to get SR-22 insurance and convicted, there is no need to report your DUI. Stick with us as we continue to answer the drivers’ main question of how long will my insurance be affected with a DUI?

Will my car insurance rates go up if I get a DUI?

Before we get to how long a DUI will affect your car insurance rates, let’s talk about by how much this can affect your insurance rates — as in, your bottom line. It’s simple: any time you are convicted of a moving violation, the insurer reserves the right to surcharge your premiums.

A surcharge is a penalty charge that’s applied to the total insurance policy premium.

Below, we’ve compiled data comparing the average monthly rates drivers with the top car insurance companies will pay with a clean record, and with one DUI:

Car Insurance Rates with a DUI
Car insurance companyAverage monthly rate with a clean recordAverage monthly rate with one DUI
American Family$224$361
Liberty Mutual$398$634
State Farm$235$303
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The main takeaway we can see is that every single carrier’s rates go up as long as the driver has one DUI.

And no matter how you look at it, those monthly rates are high.

  • Even though GEICO boasts some of the lowest rates for drivers with clean records, that changes dramatically for those who have one DUI. In going from $179 a month to $406 a month, drivers will see a 127 percent increase.
  • Drivers with Liberty Mutual who have been convicted of a DUI will, on average, pay the highest monthly rates at a staggering $634. The next highest rates are with Allstate ($522) and Travelers ($478).
  • We also see that drivers convicted of one DUI are paying the lowest monthly rates with USAA ($292) and State Farm ($303).

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 insurance policy.

How long will you pay higher car insurance rates after a DUI?

So, the big question is this: how long after a DUI will car insurance companies have you paying higher rates? In most cases, a DUI will affect your car insurance rates for three to five years. However, this will vary depending on where you live.

This is because in some states, a DUI will remain on your driving record for much longer, which could enable insurers to charge for longer periods of time.

For instance, in the state of California, a DUI will remain on your record for ten years. In the state of Florida, a DUI will remain on your record for 75 years, or for life.

Here’s something else to keep in mind: if you have been convicted of a DUI, your state’s laws may require you to get an SR-22 certificate as a way of proving you’ve met the minimum car insurance coverage requirements. But here’s the deal — even though it’s a legal requirement for some, simply having an SR-22 on your record can result in higher rates.

How can I lower my car insurance rates after a DUI?

After a drunk driving offense, facing higher car insurance rates is sure to put a squeeze on any budget. Without a doubt, you’ll be wondering if there are ways you can manage, or even lower, costs. Here are a few tips:

  • Take A Defensive Driving Course: Many insurers will offer discounts if you take a defensive driving course. Be sure to check with your insurer beforehand to make sure the course is eligible.
  • Bundle Policies: Getting multiple forms from the same provider (i.e., renters and car) often results in discounts.
  • Increase Your Deductible: This may be advantageous if you have coverages like comprehensive or collision, but your car is much older. A lower deductible will often result in a lower monthly rate.
  • Lower Your Coverage: You may be wondering when should you remove collision from car insurance, or other forms of insurance, from your policy. Most experts agree one can make these considerations if you have a much older car.
  • Add Safety Features to Your Car: Many car insurance companies will reward certain safety features with discounted rates
  • Go Paperless: Choosing to receive electronic statements or enrolling in an auto payment plan often comes with a financial incentive.

Some other tips to remember? Drive less. As your daily mileage goes down, your rates can often follow. And of course, aim to drive better. Stay within the speed limit, avoid distracted driving, and never engage in reckless behavior.

Will my car insurance company drop me after a DUI?

Preferred insurers with more strict eligibility requirements 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.  Keep this in mind: even as a high risk driver, you have options.

If your insurer drops you, look at all of your choices – even the top-rated car insurance companies – to see who will be willing to work with you to provide coverage.

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How Long a DUI Affects Your Car Insurance Rates: A Final Word

Driving under the influence is an act that carries enormous consequences. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the answer to how long is a DUI on your insurance record. If you are convicted of the crime, you can expect to pay much higher car insurance rates for at least three years.

If you are unsure of how long does a DUI stay on your insurance in your state, check the local laws so you can determine the answer to how long does a DUI raise insurance rates in your area.

Needless to say, drivers convicted of a DUI need to take action immediately. Begin by comparing car insurance quotes so that you can find the best possible rates for high-risk coverage.

You can start your search for cheaper DUI insurance now by plugging your ZIP code into our free car insurance comparison tool.