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Find the Best Cheap Car Insurance After a DUI

April 29, 2019
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If you’ve been caught drinking and driving, your car insurance rates will go up — and getting the cheapest car insurance you can after a DUI will take diligence. Even if your DUI was the result of a mistake that will never happen again, insurers will consider you “high risk,” or more likely to file an insurance claim than most people, for at least a few years.

But shopping around for auto insurance quotes can help you find relatively cheap car insurance after a DUI.

Cost of car insurance after a DUI

Where you live makes a big difference in how much your car insurance costs — especially after a DUI.

NerdWallet compared rates for the minimum required car insurance coverage in 10 states for drivers with a recent DUI conviction. Those 10 states contain more than 50% of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimates — and they’re also among the most and least expensive states for car insurance in general.

Average prices varied dramatically for a 40-year-old driver with a DUI, as the range between two states shows:

  • $614 per year in Ohio, on average.
  • $4,848 per year in Michigan, on average.

Michigan is typically one of the most expensive states for car insurance, even for drivers who don’t have a DUI, and Ohio is typically less expensive. However, the gap widens after a DUI. For drivers with a clean record, average rates for the minimum required coverage in each state are about five times as high in Michigan as in Ohio. After a DUI, average rates are about eight times as high in Michigan as in Ohio.

In the 10 states we analyzed, here’s how average annual rates compare for a 40-year-old with a recent DUI who’s insuring a 2016 Toyota Camry LE.

Car insurance rates after a DUI by state

StateAverage annual rate for driver with DUI
New York$1,460
North Carolina$1,493

The rates above reflect each state’s minimum required auto insurance coverage, which often has relatively low liability limits and no collision or comprehensive coverage. A policy with more than the bare minimum coverage will cost more, and it may be required if you have a car loan or lease. You may also want a fuller policy because if you cause a bad crash and the damage or injury costs exceed your liability limits, you’ll have to pay the rest out of pocket.

» MORE: How much liability insurance do I need?

Cheapest car insurance after a DUI from large companies

To find the cheapest insurers for drivers with a recent DUI, we looked at large companies that are available in many states and can serve the most consumers.

The nation’s five largest private auto insurance companies are Allstate, Geico, Progressive, State Farm and USAA. However, USAA only insures active military members, veterans and their families. Since it’s not available to everyone else, we didn’t include USAA in our ranking.

We’ve ranked the largest companies, excluding USAA, from cheapest to most expensive based on average annual prices. For drivers with a recent DUI:

  1. Progressive had an annual rate of $967, on average.
  2. State Farm had an annual rate of $1,154, on average.
  3. Geico had an annual rate of $1,267, on average.
  4. Allstate had an annual rate of $2,058, on average.

NerdWallet found rates for each of these large companies in all 10 states, with one exception: The analysis doesn’t include rates for Progressive in California.

But big companies aren’t your only options. In many areas, smaller statewide and regional insurers have the cheapest rates.

» MORE: Allstate, Geico, Progressive or State Farm: Which one is best for you?

Cheapest car insurance after a DUI by state

The car insurance company that was cheapest for you before your DUI may not be the cheapest one for you afterward.

And the cheapest car insurance company in one area may not be the cheapest in another. For instance, in NerdWallet’s 10-state analysis, State Farm was the cheapest company for drivers with a DUI in Florida, on average, but it was the most expensive of the insurers we compared in California and Georgia.

So after a DUI, it’s vital to shop around and find the best auto insurance rate for you.

Here are the five companies in each state with the cheapest average annual rates we found in NerdWallet’s 10-state analysis. Rates are for a 40-year-old driver with a recent DUI who’s insuring a 2016 Toyota Camry LE.

Cheapest car insurance companies after a DUI by state

CompanyAverage annual rate for driver with DUI
*USAA is not ranked because it is only available to active military, veterans and their families. However, in this analysis it was the cheapest option in Georgia and the second cheapest in Texas.
State Farm$837
Direct General$2,542
Georgia Farm Bureau$902
State Farm$1,379
State Farm$558
American Family$908
The Hanover$3,036
State Farm$3,959
National General$570
North Carolina Farm Bureau$1,231
State Farm$1,237
New York Central Mutual$1,110
State Farm$1,195
State Farm$367
State Farm$598
Southern County Mutual$544
State Farm$1,108

» MORE: The best cheap car insurance

How long a DUI affects your rates

You’ll have to endure higher car insurance rates after a DUI for at least three to five years in most cases, and possibly longer.

States vary in how long they require DUI offenses to stay on your driving record, and companies vary in how much and how long they charge more for the blemish on your record. In California, for instance, a DUI stays on your record for 10 years. During that time, you will not be able to earn a good driver discount.

Car insurance plus an SR-22

In many states, your insurer will have to file a form with the state’s motor vehicle or insurance department proving you have car insurance after your DUI.

In most states the form is called an SR-22, and it proves you have purchased at least your state’s minimum required auto insurance. An FR-44 is a similar form, found in Florida and Virginia, that applies to convictions including DUIs. If you’re ordered to file this form, you must purchase more than the state minimum.

Not all insurers will file this form for their customers. If you are required to have an SR-22 or FR-44 form, you’ll need to find an insurance company that provides this service.

How to shop for cheap insurance after a DUI

After a DUI, your car insurance company considers you a high-risk driver. Your premium will almost certainly increase, and your current company might even decide to drop you. Here’s what you can do.

  • Start your car insurance search quickly. The threat that your policy might be canceled means you should start getting auto insurance quotes immediately after your DUI. This gives you time to compare rates.
  • Use comparison tools. Factors such as where you live, your age and your credit score will affect your premium. NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool can help you compare your options.
  • Get multiple quotes. Companies vary greatly in how they price policies. The only way to find the cheapest rate is to get car insurance quotes from several competitors.
  • Shop again three and five years later. Rates after a DUI tend to drop after these milestones, and other insurance companies might be cheaper than yours at those points.

» MORE: The best car insurance companies for high-risk drivers

Alternative car insurance after a DUI

Some companies may deny coverage to drivers they consider too risky, including those with a DUI.

Many big insurance companies have subsidiaries to serve high-risk drivers, and some smaller companies cater especially to this market. After a DUI, it’s a good idea to get rates from these specialty carriers as well as from the big guys — if they’ll provide you one.

If you can’t find a company willing to insure you because of your driving record, you can turn to your state’s high-risk insurance pool. These programs exist to provide coverage to people who have trouble buying auto insurance through normal channels. To start, find your state in the directory of the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office.

NerdWallet’s roundup of the cheapest car insurance in each state also provides details about alternative coverage options.

NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a DUI within the past six months from up to eight of the largest insurers in 10 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The policy includes the minimum coverage required by law in the state.

We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE in all cases. Rates are generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.


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