How DUIs Impact Your Driving Record and Insurance

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Of course you want to have fun when you’re traveling. But when you’re traveling by car and you decide to have a few drinks, it’s important to have a designated driver. A DUI can have many negative consequences for not only your life, but also for others as well. 

The laws about insurance and driving following a DUI vary from state to state. We’ll discuss the negative impact of getting a DUI, including how long it stays on your driving record and how long it affects your car insurance.

What is a DUI?

The terms DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) are interchangeable but mean the same thing. Both occur when you are operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For alcohol, this means your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit, which is 0.08 in the U.S. 

How does a DUI affect insurance? 

One consequence of a DUI is the negative impact it has on your insurance. It may be more difficult to find auto insurance coverage after a DUI if your insurance company doesn’t renew your policy. You may need to find a new insurance provider, and your insurance rates can greatly increase. 

One question many people have is how long does a DUI stay on your insurance? The average amount of time that a DUI affects your insurance rates is five years, but varies state by state. A DUI adds anywhere from $500 to $1,600 yearly to your insurance rates for this time period. 

You will also need to submit an SR-22 form, which certifies that you have liability insurance policy coverage. It does cost a small fee and usually has to be valid for five years. 

How long does a DUI stay on your driving record? 

The amount of time that a DUI stays on your driving record varies from state to state. It can be anywhere from a few years to up to 10 years for this offense to come off your driving record. Some states leave a DUI offense on your record forever. 

Other Negative Consequences of a DUI

A DUI can affect your insurance and driving record, but there are also several other problems that result. A DUI can affect your finances, personal life, and career. 

If you get a DUI while on a road trip, it can put a quick stop to your travels. You could also injure yourself or other innocent passengers or drivers. 

You might face a lawsuit if there were injuries or deaths from an accident caused by impaired driving.  You could also lose your driver’s license for as short as a few months or up to years, depending on the severity of your DUI or if it’s your second or third offense. To get your driver’s license back, you have to complete a series of state-specific requirements. 

It could also result in damage to your car. Many insurance companies won’t cover the cost of damage to vehicles from a DUI, which means you have to pay for any damages to your vehicle or other vehicles. If you damage any other property, you may also have to pay for repairs to that property.

A DUI can also cause non-vehicle related insurance rates to increase, such as life insurance. If you get too many DUIs, you may be labeled high-risk and your life insurance rates could increase as much as 200%.

A DUI can also cause you to lose your job, especially if it depends on a valid driver’s license. A DUI is a criminal offense and will come up on a criminal background check as well. It will stay on your criminal record for a number of years after the offense. 

Jailtime is another possibility, especially if you had a high BAC or are a repeat offender. In some states, multiple offenses are considered a felony and may result in a jail or prison sentence. 

Getting a DUI is also very expensive. You will have to pay for an attorney and court costs, which could be several thousands of dollars. If there was damage to your vehicle or property, this will usually come out of your own pocket to fix.

A car accident on vacation can be caused by drinking and driving. Drunk driving can ruin a vacation if it happens while you are traveling. 

Prevent DUIs

There is one easy way to avoid DUIs: If you have had too much to drink, use a ride sharing service, use public transit, find a designated driver, or stay sober. By doing this, you are keeping yourself and others safe, and you are getting the best rates for your car insurance. 

Melissa Morris writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, She is a college professor and enjoys researching safe driving in her spare time.

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