Getting charged with driving under the influence will hurt your wallet in more ways than one. Along with fines and court costs, car insurance after a DUI will probably cost a lot more once your driver’s license is reinstated. That could take at least several months depending on where you live and the nature of the offense.
According to a recent NerdWallet study, monthly premiums go up by an average of 75.3% after a DUI. Although none of this spells good news for finding cheap car insurance, here’s what you can do to make the best out of a bad situation.
Don’t delay your search for new car insurance
To get your driver’s license restored, most states will require your insurer to provide your local DMV with a SR-22 form proving you have car insurance. This means you’ll have to tell your insurer about your DUI, at which point they’ll either cancel your policy or increase your premium.
If you live in a state where filing SR-22 forms isn’t mandatory, your insurer will pull your driving record when your car insurance policy expires to determine whether to renew your policy. Upon seeing your DUI, they may decide to drop you altogether. If not, they’ll almost certainly increase your premium, as you will now be considered a high-risk driver.
The threat of having your policy canceled means you should look for new car insurance immediately after your DUI. Although it will be difficult to find cheap car insurance, at least you will have bought yourself some time to compare rates from various competitors. This will help you get a better idea of the cost of post-DUI coverage.
Use comparison tools
Although it will be up to you to find the cheapest car insurance, several tools can help you along the way. Factors such as where you live, your age and your credit score influence the amount of your premium, so take advantage of this personalized help.
NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool can give you a better idea of the premiums you can expect. As you sort through your options, start crossing out the most expensive offers before compiling a list of some of the more affordable ones.
Gathering quotes from competitors will help you decide whether to stick with your original insurer, provided they haven’t dropped you, or to seek cheaper solutions.
Getting back on your feet after a DUI will entail managing the accompanying financial repercussions, which could include finding new car insurance. Although you will almost certainly have to pay more, you can avoid paying more than you absolutely have to by researching your car insurance choices as early as possible and by using online comparison tools to see your options.