If you have recently been convicted of driving under the influence, you may be concerned about what may happen to your auto insurance policy. Will your rates be affected? How long until you can get back your insurance? Even if you have never driven while intoxicated before, it’s good to know how your insurance policy works in this regard. Understanding the way that car insurance rates are calculated is one more good reason to always find a designated driver when you go out.

What happens when you get a DUI or DWI?

Known in some states as a DWI or OWI, the offense of driving while intoxicated is one of the most serious traffic violations a person can obtain. Drunk driving results in thousands of deaths and injuries each year; it also causes massive amounts of property damage. In order to discourage people from taking the risk of driving under the influence, the government has very strict laws regarding drinking and driving.

In most states, driving over the legal limits for blood alcohol content will lead to a hefty fine and a suspended license; it can also lead to imprisonment and permanently revoke your license, especially for repeat offenders. Additionally, your insurance rates will suffer tremendously.

Why is my car insurance damaged by a DUI?

Your car insurance company is responsible not only for paying damage caused to your car in an accident but also any other vehicle or property you damage. This means that car accidents can become very expensive for an insurance company, especially if the accident is severe. In order to off-set the cost of paying insurance claims, companies must collect higher premiums from those who are at the highest risk of being involved in accidents.

Car insurance companies calculate rates based on how much risk a driver poses to the company. Those who are at highest risk of being involved in an accident pay the highest insurance rates. Risk is calculated based on a driver’s previous history of accidents and traffic violations. Serious accidents and violations can cause a driver to be listed as high-risk, which will dramatically increase the insured’s rates and even limit what type of insurance he has available.

How much will my car insurance rates increase after a DUI?

Car insurance premiums differ from one person to the next, so exact figures are impossible to guess without obtaining a personalized quote. An individual’s driving record is not the only thing determining insurance rates; the type of vehicle, the location a person lives, his age and marital status all factor in to car insurance rates. Without knowing what your rates currently are, it’s impossible to know what will happen in the event of a DUI.

If you previously had an excellent driving record, you may see your rates change more dramatically than if you were already a high-risk driver. For example, a DUI could cause you to lose any safe driver discounts that you receive, which would result in substantially higher premiums. If you are convicted of a DUI, your policy may double or even triple in cost.

Depending on the situation, your insurance company may even drop you altogether. Your policy might be canceled if you have a repeated history of bad driving, or if your license is permanently revoked due to a DUI. It may also drop you if you are in an accident caused by drunk driving and are responsible for significant damage because of it.

Many car insurance companies will drop an insured for a suspended license, regardless of the cause of that suspension. Because you are not allowed to drive while your license is suspended, you should not need car insurance. Continuing to drive with a suspended license will not only lead to being arrested, it can also cause any claims you are responsible for to be denied by the insurance company.

Your rates will usually not be affected until your policy renews. Usually, if the insurance company plans to drop you, they will wait until your renewal date and then refuse to renew the policy. Therefore, if you are involved in an accident or receive a DUI, it could be up to six months before you see your rates change due to the incident.

How do I get my car insurance rates back to normal pricing?

Once your auto insurance policy is affected by a DUI, you may have to keep the high rates for some time before the premiums begin to decrease. In many cases, a point against your license can take up to seven years to drop off. This means that you would need up to seven years of perfect driving to counteract the damage done by a single DUI, depending on the laws in your state and the specific requirements of your company.

In order to keep your premiums affordable, you may need to drop coverage on your policy or increase your deductible. You can also see if there are any programs you can take part in that will help reduce your rates. You may be able to receive a discount if you take additional driving courses, for example, or if you agree to install a breathalyzer device in your vehicle.

Ultimately, your rates will begin to drop over time as long as you maintain responsible driving habits. Over time, you can repair the damage caused by poor driving by partaking in safer practices. As you become less of a risk to your insurance company, it will reward you by reducing your rates accordingly.