Everyone has heard that getting a DWI can be expensive. Besides the court costs, fines, attorney’s fees, potential ignition interlock device charges, license reinstatement fees and other expenses, drivers face years of increased insurance rates. Though you may know that insurance rates can go up after a DWI conviction, few people understand specifics about how much this increase really is and how long it lasts.
If you’ve been convicted of drunk driving and are ready begin the process of restoring your driving privileges, one step in the process will involve reaching out to your insurance agency. There’s no way to shield the insurance company from the reality of your situation; you are obligated to tell them and even if you didn’t, they’d find out on their own.
So how bad is it? Bad. The truth is that a drunk driving conviction is one of the worst things a person can do in terms of insurance rate hikes. According to experts, a previous history of impaired driving is one of the costliest factors for premium ratings. This explains why most people familiar with DWIs say that the biggest single expense associated with a DWI conviction is the increase in insurance rates that can last for years into the future.
What’s the total?
Though it’s understandable that those impacted by a DWI would like to get concrete numbers about what this could cost them, insurance rates are totally dependent on the specific facts at issue and can vary wildly depending on the particular person. Too many factors go into the calculation to come up with one number across the board. That being said, there are some important rules of thumb that can help give you an idea of what to expect.
Though there is no uniform charge for a DWI, the general idea is that a driver can expect to pay between two and three times as much as their previous insurance premium. That means that if you were paying $1,000 before your DWI, expect that to jump to between $2,000 and $3,000. Those with DWIs on their records are deemed “high risk,” a label that justifies the steep increase in premium pricing.
Though this is certainly not good news, there is a chance that you may fall into a lower tier of the high-risk drivers. If you previously had a spotless driving record and a good credit score, it is possible that you might see your premiums increase as little as 50 percent. Again, these are just rules of thumb, the specifics all depends on the facts of your case.
How long does it last?
Now that you know what you can expect to pay, how long will the increased costs last? Experts say that you can expect to pay the increased premiums for at least three years, but potentially up to ten years in certain states. In Minnesota, most drivers will be eligible for lower rates after five years. Though the drunk driving conviction itself will never fall off your record, you will eventually be able to secure those better rates.
Source: “After DUI Conviction, Insurance Premium Hikes Can be Sobering,” by Ryan Hurlbert, published at FoxBusiness.com.