Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that has consequences that can follow you for years and years. One thing that is guaranteed to be affected is your car insurance premiums.
Car insurance premiums after a DUI conviction can get crazily expensive. Luckily, there are still some ways to save money on insurance. While not every discount will be available to you after a DUI, some can help catch you a little bit of a break on your premiums.
How Does a DUI Affect Car Insurance?
Not only will you have legal penalties to face following a DUI, but issues will also arise with your car insurance coverage. Your insurance provider may drop you altogether, especially if this is not your first major traffic violation.
If you get lucky and your coverage isn’t canceled, your insurance premiums are bound to increase. Your monthly premiums could jump hundreds of dollars following a DUI. Typically, these increased rates do not stick around forever, but they can still be damaging financially.
SR22 Insurance After a DUI Conviction
There’s a strong chance that following a DUI conviction, you will be required to obtain SR-22 vehicle insurance. SR22 insurance isn’t a type of insurance but documentation that proves to the state you carry at least the mandatory minimum amount of insurance. It is typically required for drivers labeled as high-risk.
Being convicted of a DUI is just one way you can be hit with an SR22 filing requirement. Should this be the case for you, you will need to alert your insurance company, and they will file it for you. If your insurer does not offer this service, you will need to shop around for one that does. An extra fee can come with an SR22 filing, so you should be mindful of that.
Insurance Discounts For Drivers With a DUI
Following a DUI conviction, any good/safe driver discount your insurer offers is immediately off the table for you. This is probably obvious given the fact that getting behind the wheel while under the influence is the opposite of safe driving.
However, there are still several discounts you may be eligible for. It could take some shopping around to find ones that fit you, but it will be worth it since insurance premiums skyrocket after a DUI. Outlined below are some car insurance discounts you can utilize even with the DUI blemish on your driving record.
Many insurance companies reward you for being a customer with them for a prolonged period of time.
How many years you have to be with a provider to receive a loyalty discount varies by company.
Some start after five years whole others require you to wait a decade. Some insurers also do not give out traditional discounts and instead will provide long-time customers with accident forgiveness on one accident, but this may not be on the table given your DUI conviction. Regarding monetary discounts, savings range from 2% to 10%.
Bundling is the process of purchasing two or more insurance policies with the same company. For example, if you are a renter and own a vehicle, you may opt to buy renter’s insurance and auto insurance from the same provider.
In doing so, insurance companies will give you a break on your premiums. This is still a viable option for you, even with a DUI on your record, since you need insurance no matter what. Bundling can also help you save in a big way.
If you bundle your homeowners and car insurance, you could see a discount as high as 25%.
If you are financially able to do so, try to pay your premiums up front after signing onto a policy.
Sometimes insurers will give you a small discount for paying the premiums in full. This route also takes away the worry of having to pay your premiums monthly, leaving less of a chance that you will fall behind on payments.
Missing payments is one of the main reasons insurance providers drop customers, so by taking away this risk, you will not have lapses in coverage. Paid-in-full discounts may only be about 15%, but it’s still worth trying to do.
Safety and Anti-Theft Features Discount
Installing certain safety and anti-theft features in your vehicle can help you save some money.
Insurers like to see these features because they believe they will lead to you making fewer claims. Installing things like alarms and GPS systems can get you a bit of a discount. How much you will save varies by company, and not every provider offers such a discount, but savings can be as high as 25%.
Having your vehicle identification number (VIN) etched onto your windows (a process known as VIN etching) can also save you some money as it deters thieves. Regarding safety feature discounts, installing an anti-lock braking system (ABS) in your vehicle will let you receive a discount on your collision coverage.
Doing all these things and more shows your insurance company that you are taking steps to be a safer and smarter driver after a DUI.
Defensive Driving Discount
Some insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who take a defensive driving course. Defensive driving courses share a number of valuable driving tips like how to manage road risks, being aware of other drivers, and ways to approach extreme weather.
If this option seems like a good route for you, ask your insurance agent about your eligibility.
Many insurers only offer this discount for mature and senior drivers, but a number of other providers encourage drivers convicted of a DUI to complete a driving course. You could save up to 15% following the completion of a defensive driving class.
If you are an active-duty military member or veteran, you will most likely be eligible for a military discount.
Nearly every insurance company offers discounts for military personnel and veterans. You can also look for insurance companies that specialize in providing military members and veterans with a variety of insurance policies. These providers typically have the cheapest rates around.
If you have coverage with a traditional car insurance company, military discounts may be as high as 15%. Make sure you speak with your insurance agent to see if your military status qualifies you for this discount.
Affiliation with a specific organization or holding a certain job can qualify you for a discount. Insurers typically give discounts for members of trade organizations or university alumni groups.
Sometimes a company will offer you this type of discount if you hold a federal government position. A complete list of what organizations and jobs are recognized by your insurance company can be found by speaking with your insurance agent.
How much you can save varies, but it tends to be on the lower side, with average savings ranging from 2%-10%. Still, it is nothing to overlook.
Other Ways to Save After a DUI
A DUI conviction can stick with you for years. While it will eventually go away, you still want to save money during this unfortunate time.
Insurance discounts can only help to a certain point, so it’s best to look at other ways you can save on coverage after a DUI. Listed below are some tips and tricks for saving on your car insurance premiums:
- Shop around – The best way to find affordable car insurance is to shop around and pull quotes from both local and national companies. Local companies may benefit you best as they tend to cover high-risk drivers, which you will undoubtedly be considered as following the DUI conviction. Make sure you do not wait around to shop for car insurance. Your provider can drop you, and you want to obtain a new policy as soon as possible. Lapses in coverage will not go over well with your new provider.
- Practice safe driving – If this is your first offense, try to keep it your only offense by practicing smart and safe driving habits. This can help build back your insurance provider’s trust. Your rates will also eventually decrease, and you want to keep them low. Good drivers pay some of the lowest insurance rates in the country. Safe driving means obeying traffic signals, being aware of other drivers, and removing all distractions.
Consider adjusting your insurance policy – Reevaluating your insurance policy can help you reduce your premiums.
Maybe your vehicle is getting up there in age, and you no longer would benefit from collision coverage.
You can easily drop it, and your rates should go down. You can also adjust coverage limits but make sure to keep them above the state-mandated minimums. Raising your deductible can also help your premiums.
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