Some drivers wonder what would occur if they were to cause an accidental collision while driving under the influence of alcohol. There is a specific limit within each state for the amount of alcohol that a driver can consume and still legally be able to operate their vehicle.
However, if an accident or damage takes place after a driver has consumed one or more alcoholic beverages, it can impact their car insurance coverage.
Drivers should have insurance on their vehicles even after they’ve had a DUI or related charge on their record. While an incident involving driving under the influence will make the driver a high risk for insurance providers, it is still possible to get coverage for the vehicle.
Is There Such a Thing as DUI Car Insurance?
It’s important to understand that there is no specific coverage just for the risk of driving while under the influence. In addition, coverage and penalties vary from one insurance provider to the next – some providers may cover damage to the other vehicle(s) or driver(s) involved, according to the liability policy.
Other providers may not cover these damages and may even revoke a driver’s policy following a DUI charge.
In other instances, car insurance providers may even include a specific “drunken clause” that specifies additional damage fees and medical payment requirements for drivers charged with DUI.
Overall, it’s important to understand that any driver that has a DUI or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge on their record is considered high risk, and this will impact their insurance rates and potentially their overarching coverage.
What to Look For With DUI Car Insurance
Drivers who have liability insurance as part of their car coverage may benefit from this policy if they are charged with a DUI. Liability coverage can assist with some of the costs of damage to the other driver involved in the accident.
Because these policies treat a DUI as an accident that is the fault of the policyholder, this coverage will apply to the damage and medical expenses of the other driver only. Liability insurance does not cover vehicle damages or medical costs of the driver deemed to be operating their car while under the influence.
Rate Increase Level
In addition to selecting a car insurance provider that offers robust liability coverage, drivers concerned about coverage for DUI charges should also consider changes to their insurance rates following a DUI instance.
While any auto insurance provider will surely raise a driver’s rates following a DUI-involved accident or incident, some companies provide a smaller rate increase than others.
State Farm showed some of the lowest rate increases after a driver experienced a DUI – using an example profile of a 35-year-old driver with good credit and a clean driving record, it showed that State Farm’s rate rose to $2,180 following a DUI incident, where the rate for a similar driver from Nationwide increased to $2,867.
Drivers looking to obtain car insurance following a DUI should also consider the discounts the provider offers. A DUI incident can be very costly, not only in terms of legal penalties and court fees but also due to rate increases on the part of providers.
In order to combat the rising rate of car insurance following a DUI – which can include an 80% rise in rates or more – drivers should research the available discounts that they might be able to apply.
For example, some providers offer discounts for multiple vehicles, for bundling a car policy with coverage for a home or property, or for electric vehicles. Other providers like Progressive offer a discount for good driving habits.
The Snapshot discount through Progressive allows drivers to use the company’s mobile app or install a small device in their car that monitors their driving. Earning a discount on one’s policy for safe driving habits can be considerably beneficial for someone with a DUI or other charges.
Specialized Coverage for High-Risk Drivers
Some providers may not want to extend coverage for drivers after they’ve been at fault in a DUI or DWI accident. However, this niche market has also proved valuable for insurance companies that specialize in just this type of coverage. Providers like The General Insurance target drivers who need insurance but have a history of driving violations or accidents.
Obtaining insurance from a provider like this can also help drivers obtain a low rate for their policy following a DUI or other incidents.
Another Important Consideration: SR-22 Documentation
Even if drivers do not report a DUI-related accident to their insurance provider, chances are good that the company will find out through court-mandated SR-22 documentation.
SR-22 is an official form, also known as a Statement of Responsibility, that certain states require drivers to file following a DUI, DWI, multiple traffic citations, or license suspension or revocation. This form enables drivers to have their license and driving privileges reinstated after at-fault accidents like a DUI.
While the SR-22 (or FR-44, as it’s known in some states) is typically obtainable through the state Department of Motor Vehicles office, drivers cannot file this form on their own.
Their insurance provider must file the completed State of Responsibility with the DMV, and not all insurance providers offer this service. However, these providers support SR-22 documentation for drivers that need it:
- State Farm
Overall, it’s important for all drivers on the road to have insurance coverage for themselves and their vehicles. Even drivers who have been involved in a DUI or DWI should not operate their vehicle without a legal driver’s license and insurance.
While coverage rates and other factors will be greatly impacted by a DUI or other related incident, this does not mean insurance is out of reach for high-risk drivers.
The Bottom Line – DUI Car Insurance
Understanding the implications of a DUI charge on car insurance is crucial for drivers.
When an individual is charged with DUI, they are labeled as high risk by insurance companies. While there’s no specific coverage exclusively for DUI risks, the consequences, such as policy revocations or the introduction of a “drunken clause,” vary between providers.
Liability coverage can assist with damages to other parties involved in an accident due to DUI but won’t cover the at-fault driver’s expenses. Insurance rate hikes post-DUI differ across providers; however, some companies offer discounts to mitigate these increases.
Specialized insurance options exist for high-risk drivers, and the SR-22 documentation is essential for reinstating licenses post-DUI.
Ultimately, it’s paramount for every driver, regardless of their record, to ensure they have proper insurance coverage.