Driving under the influence (DUI) and being involved in an at-fault accident are two major driving offenses that can significantly impact your ability to find affordable auto insurance. These offenses are considered high-risk behaviors by insurance companies, making you a less desirable policyholder. As a result, you may face higher premiums, limited coverage options, or even denial of insurance altogether.
Understanding the Impact of DUI and At-Fault Accidents on Auto Insurance
A DUI conviction can have a devastating effect on your auto insurance rates. The average premium increase for a DUI conviction is 41%, but it can be much higher in some states. Additionally, your insurance company may impose restrictions on your coverage, such as excluding you from collision or comprehensive coverage.
Being involved in an at-fault accident, even without a DUI conviction, can also increase your premiums. The severity of the accident and your driving history will determine the extent of the increase. However, even a minor at-fault accident can result in a premium increase of 10% to 30%.
Finding Auto Insurance After a DUI or At-Fault Accident
Despite the challenges, finding auto insurance after a DUI or at-fault accident is not impossible. Here are some steps you can take to find the best possible coverage:
1. Shop around for quotes:
Don’t just go to your current insurance company. Get quotes from multiple insurance companies to compare rates and coverage options. Be prepared to explain your DUI or at-fault accident and any other relevant driving history.
2. Consider high-risk insurance companies:
High-risk insurance companies specialize in providing coverage to drivers with poor driving records. While their premiums may be higher than traditional insurance companies, they may be your only option.
3. File an SR-22 certificate:
In some states, you may be required to file an SR-22 certificate, which is proof of financial responsibility, after a DUI or at-fault accident. An SR-22 certificate can help you secure auto insurance, but it will also increase your premiums.
4. Take defensive driving courses:
Completing defensive driving courses can demonstrate your commitment to safe driving and may lead to lower premiums.
5. Consider pay-per-mile insurance:
Pay-per-mile insurance, also known as usage-based insurance, charges premiums based on how much you drive. If you drive less than the average driver, you may save money with pay-per-mile insurance.
Additional Tips for Finding Auto Insurance After a DUI or At-Fault Accident
Here are some additional tips that may help you find affordable auto insurance after a DUI or at-fault accident:
- Make a larger down payment: Increasing your down payment can lower your monthly premiums.
- Increase your deductible: A higher deductible will lower your premiums, but you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you file a claim.
- Choose a less expensive car: Driving a less expensive car will automatically lower your insurance premiums.
- Avoid driving violations: Any new moving violations will only make it more difficult and expensive to find auto insurance.
Finding auto insurance after a DUI or at-fault accident can be a frustrating and expensive process. However, by following these steps and shopping around, you can find the best possible coverage for your needs. Remember, driving safely and responsibly is the best way to keep your auto insurance premiums low.