When it comes auto insurance, the best advice on a DUI is to not get one. I’m not being glib either.
A DUI is the source of one of the biggest increases in car insurance premiums you can have.
But if you do have a DUI, the next best advice is to minimize the damage. That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.
What Constitutes a DUI?
Each state has its own specific laws regarding DUI, which is referred to as driving while intoxicated, or DWI.
In some states, it’s the process of operating a motor vehicle while being impaired by alcohol.
“Impaired” has a specific legal definition in each state. Typically, this is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, if you’re 21 years or older.
The limit is usually lower for drivers under the age of 21, and can be as low as 0%. For commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04%. Blood alcohol concentration is determined by the administration of a breathalyzer test.
All states have what are known as implied consent laws, which means you cannot legally refuse to submit to the test. These laws have been upheld by the US Supreme Court.
If you refuse, penalties can be increased. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 10,497 deaths were attributed to drunk driving, accounting for 28% of all traffic deaths in 2016.
State Level Penalties for DUI Violations
For this reason, states take DUI offenses very seriously and impose strict penalties. The degree of severity in those penalties will vary by state.
For example, California has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country:
- Up to six months in jail
- $390 to $1,000 in fines and penalties
- License suspension for six months
- Interlock ignition device (IID)*** for up to six or 12 months
(***An IID is a breath test machine that’s connected to your vehicle’s ignition system. The vehicle won’t start until the operator breathes into the device with alcohol-free breath. The offender is required to pay the fees associated with the device. This can include installation fee, removal fee, and monthly fee, each ranging between $50 and $150.)
- 96 hours to one year in jail
- $390 to $1,000 in fines and penalties
- License suspension for two years
- Interlock ignition device (IID) for one year
- 120 days to one year in jail
- Up to $1,800 in fines and penalties
- License suspension for three years
- Interlock ignition device (IID) for two years
California is serious about trying to eliminate DUI completely.
Most other states are following a similar path, though the penalties may not be quite as severe as those listed above.
How DUI Affects Auto Insurance Rates
Nationwide, the auto insurance premium increase for a DUI offense is an average of 80%. But that’s only an average.
The actual increase you will experience varies widely from one state to another. For example, it can range from an average of 28% in Maryland, to a 371% increase in North Carolina.
In dollar terms, increases can be quite dramatic. In Michigan for example, an average annual auto insurance premium of $2,368 can increase by 249% – or $5,900 – to a total of $8,268.
Those are some scary numbers which should help to illustrate the gravity of a DUI offense.
Getting Auto Insurance with a DUI
If you have a DUI conviction, you’ll have to come to terms with the reality that your auto insurance premium will increase, perhaps dramatically.
Exactly how much will depend on a several factors. For example, there are different degrees of DUI offenses. If you’re involved in a low-speed accident in which no one was injured, the rate increase should be more modest.
You’ll need to make that case with any insurance company you make application with.
By contrast, if you’re involved in a high-speed accident, which results in either injury or death to a passenger or another driver, you’ll likely be charged the highest premium possible.
Your previous driving record will also be a factor. Obviously, if you have a previous DUI episode, your premium increase will be extremely high.
But it may also be affected by unrelated prior infractions, like speeding or reckless driving. A clean driving history can be one of your best advantages…….Read More>>