Driving under the influence (DUI)’s or driving while intoxicated (DWI)’s are no laughing matters which put people at a deathly risk on the road. Yet, hordes of people each year continue to drive drunk or high, and many are convicted. According to Statistic Brain, around 1,500,000 people are arrested annually just for drunk driving. This does not include marijuana or other prescription pill convictions.
For the ones who were blessed to survive the tribulation, police conviction and the cost repercussions induces immense stress. Other than going to jail for a night, the costs following are a pretty penny.
According to QuoteWizard, an online insurance comparison tool and ‘think tank,’ the average of costs of a DUI are rough on the wallet:
What Should I Do After A DUI?
First of all, it is highly recommended that a person charged with a DUI gets a lawyer, as the cost-benefit trade-off of having a DUI lawyer on the case is much more favorable in the long-run. According to a driving under the influence lawyer cost-benefit study conducted by QuoteWizard, having the charge dropped with a lawyer can save:
- $3,400 in insurance costs
- Reducing a DUI charge to reckless or negligent driving saves you $1,900 in insurance
- Court fees and fines for DUI average $3,600. For negligent or reckless driving charges, that number drops to $1,600.
Insurance Costs after a DUI – Higher Risk Drivers
One of the largest factors of added cost following a DUI is the insurance rate on row 3 on the cost analysis above (table 1). It can rise above $5000 per year! This makes it difficult for those to get back on the road as the rates can increase up to 5 times more than usual, a heavy burden for many.
When a person has a DUI on their record, insurance companies considers those convicted as ‘high-risk’ drivers for an average period of 3-7 years following. Since they were recklessly driving drunk or high, insurance companies are going to be wary of covering the person because his or her driving records shows that they are statistically more prone to get into an accident due to poor past choices.
This is opposed to a person with a clean driving record who requests to be insured. For clean drivers, the insurance company takes on the risk because there are chances that the person will never get into an accident in their lifetime, making them an ideal customer to take on. Essentially, this segment of prospective insurance customers are assumed to be good drivers, and not those labeled a criminal, until proven otherwise.
Since insurance companies are a business that need to make money and be profitable, it is much more risk to take on a person to insure who will likely need to the use the insurance. Paying out claims to people insured and in an accident is one of the major expenses for insurance companies. Since the person convicted of a DUI is considered a higher risk driver, there are fewer companies out there who will take the person’s policy on. Some will not even consider it.
Then, he or she will need to file for an SR-22 at the local Department of Motor Vehicles.
This creates a seller’s market for the situation, which ends up giving all the leverage and bargaining power to the insurance company. Expect the rates to significantly increase through this, due to lower supply. Since most people need to drive to live functionally such as driving to work, the demand is high (general law of economics apply).
Exactly determining the insurance cost is hard to calculate because there are many factors that play into it such as varying state laws. Secondly, all the insurance companies have different standards and policies regarding high-risk drivers. Insurance companies have common factors that play into the added costs.
Variables That Affect Insurance Cost after DUI
- Driver’s Age – Younger drivers likely pay more
- Location – Rural vs Urban rates vary
- Car Model – New cars will typically cost for insurance coverage
- Driving History – Violations compound on each other
After the DUI case is over, he or she will need to update the current policy or shop around if dropped. Insurance companies do not offer “special” DUI insurance policies. Even though they market them as so. This policy is essentially a normal insurance plan with stricter standards and a much higher monthly premium.
Then, he or she will need to file for an SR-22 (except the few states that don’t require it) at the local Department of Motor Vehicles. This essentially states proof of financial responsibly, showing a minimum liability coverage for the state where the person convicted of DUI lives. With the SR-22, it may state that the driver was involved in a major car incident, in which additional paperwork needs to be filed. This all adds more expenses to monthly premiums
When Will My DUI Insurance Rate Go Back to Normal?
After the 3-10 years, the insurance rates should go back down to normal. If the rates do not go down after that time, request to have the driver’s record expunged or have the incident listed under the ‘sealed records’ in which only the courts and police officers have access to. By doing so, insurance companies will not be able to see your DUI, which will mitigate any impact on insurance costs in the future.
After that time, be safe, and drive sober. It is not worth going through the process all over again and have to pay even more the next time. Take a taxi, walk, or get a ride home from a designated sober driver and live a safe and healthy life.
This post is not legal advice from the Law Offices of Jay Leiderman. It is a guest post that was edited only for grammar and spelling. If you need advice about how to handle you DUI case, consult with a lawyer capable of defending a DUI. Jay Leiderman will be happy to discuss these cases with no charge for an initial consultation.