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Find the Best Cheap Car Insurance After a DUI

Feb. 4, 2020
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If you’ve been caught drinking and driving, you may think finding cheap auto insurance is impossible. After a DUI, car insurance rates typically go up more than 75%, according to a NerdWallet analysis.

That can mean hundreds of dollars more out of your pocket each year. For example, for a 40-year-old driver with no previous violations, the average annual cost of car insurance after a DUI is:

  • $2,531 for full coverage, an increase of $1,104.
  • $1,079 for minimum required coverage, an increase of $473.

Shopping around is the trick to finding affordable insurance after a DUI. Getting cheap car insurance with a DUI on your record will take diligence, but comparing quotes can help you find the best insurance options for you.

How much does car insurance go up after a DUI?

You’re almost certain to pay higher prices for auto insurance after a DUI, but the amount of the increase isn’t always easy to predict. Car insurance rates depend on many factors, including your driving history, what type of coverage you have and which insurance company you choose.

On average, car insurance after a DUI goes up $1,104 per year for full coverage and $473 per year for minimum required coverage. But where you live makes a big difference in those rates.

NerdWallet compared car insurance rates in every state for drivers with and without a recent DUI conviction. The differences among states were significant.

  • In Louisiana, Nebraska and Oregon, average rates go up less than 50% after a DUI.
  • In California, Hawaii, Michigan and North Carolina, average rates more than double after a DUI.

Here’s what that means in terms of dollars and cents:

  • At the low end, a 40-year old Nebraska driver with minimum required coverage might pay just $203 a year more for car insurance after a DUI.
  • At the high end, a driver buying full coverage car insurance in Michigan might pay an extra $3,476 a year after a DUI.

Car insurance rates after a DUI

Whether you have full or minimum coverage, you’re unlikely to escape a rate hike for car insurance after a DUI. Minimum required insurance is typically less than half the price of full coverage, which gives you broader protection. But average rates for both types go up more than 75% after a DUI.

While buying only the minimum required insurance coverage in your state is one way to keep car insurance rates low after a DUI, you may want or need to keep full coverage. Full coverage includes comprehensive and collision insurance, which are often required if you have a car loan or lease, and cover damage to your own car from most causes.

Full coverage car insurance rates after a DUI

Full coverage car insurance for a driver with one DUI costs $211 a month, on average. That’s $92 a month more than a driver with no violations would pay.

Here’s how average annual rates compare for a 40-year-old buying full coverage for a 2016 Toyota Camry LE, with and without a recent DUI.

StateAverage rate for full coverage with clean driving historyAverage rate for full coverage with one DUIAnnual difference
National average$1,427$2,531$1,104
District of Columbia$1,527$2,571$1,044
New Hampshire$1,056$1,866$810
New Jersey$1,759$3,013$1,254
New Mexico$1,241$1,954$713
New York$1,962$2,960$998
North Carolina$1,075$4,409$3,334
North Dakota$1,235$2,190$955
Rhode Island$1,684$3,346$1,662
South Carolina$1,458$2,203$745
South Dakota$1,245$2,186$941
West Virginia$1,307$2,090$783

Minimum required car insurance rates after a DUI

For a driver with one DUI, minimum required car insurance costs $90 a month, on average — $39 a month more than someone with a clean driving history would pay.

Here’s a comparison of average annual rates for a 40-year-old buying minimum coverage for a 2016 Toyota Camry LE, before and after a recent DUI.

StateAverage rate for minimum coverage with clean driving historyAverage rate for minimum coverage with one DUIAnnual difference
National average$606$1,079$473
District of Columbia$755$1,270$515
North Carolina$411$1,619$1,208
North Dakota$400$708$308
New Hampshire$415$780$365
New Jersey$994$1,681$687
New Mexico$484$765$281
New York$1,026$1,581$555
Rhode Island$820$1,625$805
South Carolina$656$993$337
South Dakota$312$546$234
West Virginia$504$790$286

The rates above reflect each state’s minimum required auto insurance coverage, which often has relatively low liability limits. But you may want a fuller policy. 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 in your state after a DUI

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 analysis:

  • Auto-Owners was the cheapest insurer for drivers with a DUI in South Carolina but the most expensive option in Indiana and Utah.
  • Progressive was the cheapest choice after a DUI in Iowa but the priciest in Louisiana.
  • Safeco was the cheapest for drivers with a DUI in Idaho, Illinois and Montana but the costliest in Oklahoma.
  • State Farm was the cheapest after a DUI in five states — Connecticut, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming — but the most expensive option in five others — California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina.
  • Travelers had the lowest rates for drivers with a DUI in Rhode Island but the steepest rates in neighboring Massachusetts.

In a majority of states, the least expensive insurer for a driver with a clean record is no longer cheapest after a DUI — sometimes by a wide margin. In Arizona, for example, Geico was cheapest for a driver with no violations but most expensive after a DUI, with prices more than six times as much as before.

To see which companies have the best rates after a DUI where you live, check our roundup of the cheapest car insurance in each state.

Cheapest car insurance companies after a DUI

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

Here are average monthly rates for the nation’s four largest auto insurance companies for drivers with a recent DUI, ranked from cheapest to most expensive for full coverage.

  • Progressive: $189 for full coverage and $81 for minimum coverage.
  • State Farm: $212 for full coverage and $93 for minimum coverage.
  • Geico: $229 for full coverage and $90 for minimum coverage.
  • Allstate: $275 for full coverage and $122 for minimum coverage.

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

NerdWallet found rates for each of these large companies in at least 48 states, but big companies aren’t your only options.

In many areas, smaller statewide and regional insurers have the cheapest rates. Our analysis found that in 23 states, the best rates for a driver with a DUI come from an insurer that doesn’t make the list of the nation’s 10 largest auto insurance companies.

So after a DUI, it’s vital to compare car insurance rates and find the cheapest company for you. Here are average annual rates for several of the nation’s largest auto insurers, for full and minimum coverage after a DUI, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Car insurance rates after a DUI by company

CompanyAverage rate for full coverage with a DUIAverage rate for minimum coverage with a DUI
*USAA is available only to active military, veterans and their families.
21st Century$4,633$2,069
American Family$1,397$666
Automobile Club Group$5,454$3,028
Auto Club of SoCal$3,042$1,291
Country Financial$1,619$586
Liberty Mutual$4,128$1,835
National General$2,653$570
State Farm$2,549$1,116
The Hanover$4,977$2,238
The Hartford$2,236$783

» MORE: The best cheap car insurance

How long does a DUI affect your insurance rates?

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 several years. 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.

Do you need an SR-22 as proof of insurance after a DUI?

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 auto 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.


For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in the state for 40-year-old men and women in all ZIP codes with 12,000 annual miles driven. A “good driver” discount was automatically applied, if offered. The policy includes:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

If required, minimum additional coverages were added. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.
  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.

We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all drivers. In all cases, a paperless discount, e-signature discount and electronic funds transfer discount were automatically applied.  These are rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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