Can I buy car insurance after a DUI?
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous and illegal. It can also cause car insurance premiums to skyrocket. Nevertheless, sometimes even the most responsible drivers can make a mistake. If you’ve ever been convicted of a DUI, it may be difficult to obtain low cost car insurance; in some cases, you may have a difficult time finding a policy at all. Luckily, there are several options for people who have been convicted of a DUI.
Will my car insurance policy be canceled after a DUI?
Your car insurance policy will not always be canceled after a DUI, but it is very likely that it will be. Depending on your state’s laws, a DUI conviction could lead to jail time and a suspended license. At the very least, your car insurance company will probably drop your coverage until your license is reinstated. If you are not the main policyholder, you may be excluded from the policy until you are able to drive legally once more.
Whenever the policy is canceled, your car insurance company will send you notification that the coverage has been dropped. This paperwork will explain the cause of your cancellation and provide a number to call with any questions.
If your policy is not canceled, your rates will be affected. You will receive a point against your driving record; depending on the details of the situation, you may receive additional points for the incident, such as if you were involved in an accident due to driving under the influence. Each point could take up to seven years to drop off your driving record and will continue to impact your car insurance until that time.
Any time you receive a quote from a car insurance company, that company will be able to see your driving history and know what each point against your record was for.
High-Risk Car Insurance
Some car insurance companies specialize in high-risk auto insurance. This type of insurance provides coverage to individuals who would otherwise be unable to receive a policy from another company. High-risk insurance is usually more expensive than a regular auto policy, and may not provide the same coverage.
Whenever you purchase high-risk insurance, you may be able to convert the policy to a standard policy after several years of safe driving. Most high-risk carriers also provide standard auto policies as well, so you can transition into a regular policy without giving up your agent or changing companies.
Assigned Risk Policies
In some situations, a high-risk carrier is not able to provide insurance for your vehicle. In this case, you may need to obtain coverage from an assigned risk policy. Essentially, all insurance companies share the financial risk for these policies; funds for this type of insurance are pooled from all companies, and you will be assigned a specific company to handle your claims or other services.
This differs from other types of insurance in that the company handling your claim is not the one underwriting the policy. Additionally, assigned risk insurance usually does not come with first-party coverage such as collision and comprehensive. The only way you can obtain full coverage insurance for an assigned risk policy is if you have a lien holder on your vehicle that requires you to keep full coverage; otherwise, you will only be able to buy a liability policy.
Obtaining Normal Insurance Once More
After several years of safe driving, you will begin to repair the damage to your driving history that the DUI has caused. First, you must take the steps necessary to reinstate your license. Once you have a license and have obtained some sort of high-risk or assigned risk insurance policy, you can begin to focus on your driving until you can qualify for a regular policy.
You can speak with your insurance agent to determine what you can do to qualify for cheaper car insurance. You may be able to get better rates if you agree to a driver’s education course in addition to whatever programs the state might require for your DUI parole. You might also be able to obtain cheaper insurance if you agree to install a breathalizer device in your vehicle.
Of course, the easiest way to keep your rates low is to focus on safe driving. Always have a designated driver available, and hire a cab if you are unable to find another driver. Avoiding driving under the influence not only prevents accidents and keeps your insurance premiums low, it also keeps the road safe for you and other drivers.