The costs of drunk driving are often calculated in the emotional costs of fatal accidents and the physical destruction of property. Both of which should be enough to deter any sane-minded individual from getting behind the wheel with alcohol on their breath – or so one would think. In 2016 alone, more than 1 million arrests were made of individuals driving under the influence. And according to the CDC, this was just a fraction of the self-reported incidents, which topped out at a staggering 111 million incidents.
When asked, what are the costs of these DWIs, one answer is: over 10,000 needless deaths and $44 billion in damages due to alcohol-related accidents.
What’s often not included in the conversation are the personal expenses one must endure when convicted of a DUI, part of which is the car insurance rates with a DUI. How much these rates increase depends on both the charge and the state where the DUI conviction occurred. To understand all the information surrounding your insurance rate after a DUI, read ahead.
Full Extent of the Charges
Before diving into the specifics of higher insurance rates, it’s important to note that these are only a small subset of the consequences you will face as a result of a DUI. These consequences are typically broken down into a few different categories:
- Initial charges, penalties, fees – Upfront, most courts will have a standard minimum fine to pay for the conviction of the DUI. These typically range from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the level of intoxication. Obviously being a point over the legal limit (at 0.09 BAC) will be handled differently than a blatant disregard for the safety of the public (a 0.25 BAC). In addition, most DUIs are typically combined with other traffic violations, including:
- Unsafe lane changes
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Endangering the public
The reason for the dual infraction is that with only one violation on your driving record, you could avoid points on your license by attending traffic school. However, traffic school only negates one DUI charge. The dual infraction ensures some permanency is enacted from a DUI.
- Possible jail time – For first-time DUI offenders, jail time, if any, typically amounts to 24-48 hours. However, in extreme violations, these sentences can extend anywhere from 6 months to a year.
- Suspended or revoked license – Most states will immediately suspend the license or place the license on probationary use. However, depending on the state’s individual laws and the severity of the DUI, your license could be revoked, taking away driving privileges altogether.
- Insurance rate hike – The national average insurance rates after DUI convictions typically increase by 87%. This drastically depends on both the state’s individual laws and whether the DUI is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.
- Mandatory ignition interlock device – Many states are starting to mandate ignition interlock devices (IIDs) on vehicles after a DUI conviction. These IIDs come with a car breathalyzer inside the vehicle that has to be used before the car will start.
Insurance Premium Hikes: Why DUIs Affect Your Insurance Policy
As mentioned above, the average insurance cost after DUI includes a price hike of around 87%. To put this in perspective, if you pay just $100 a month for your auto insurance, that’s an increase of over $1,000 in insurance premiums annually just to be insured. You might consider this one-time error in judgment to be inadequately priced here, but there’s a little-known fact that car insurance companies are aware of.
Roughly one-third of DWI convictions each year are done by repeat DUI offenders. This staggering propensity to repeat this behavior is what makes car insurance companies hesitant to offer anything less than a substantial insurance hike.
Driving while intoxicated can cause extensive damage to each vehicle involved (or property in certain circumstances), and the fault will almost always be on the intoxicated driver. This damage totals on the tens of thousands of dollars per accident, and considering each insurance provider is a for-profit business, the premium hikes are justified.
Premium Increases State by State
Of course, the extent of these premium hikes is adjusted state by state. As a general rule of thumb, the further East you live, the higher the premium hikes will be, with some states reaching above a 400% increase.
The states with the highest insurance rate increases include:
- North Carolina – annual increase of 409% after a DUI
- Hawaii – annual increase of 315%
- Vermont – annual increase of 283%
- Ohio – annual increase of 243%
- New Hampshire – annual increase of 230%
The states with the lowest insurance rate increases include:
- Colorado – annual increase of 117% after a DUI
- Maryland – annual increase of 123%
- Wyoming and Louisiana – annual increase of 127%
- Idaho – annual increase of 131%
Installing a Countermeasure: How Low Cost Interlock Can Help Prevent DUIs
As more states catch on to how increasing fees and penalties aren’t preventing first-time DWI offenders nor repeat offenders, new solutions are starting to rise. A more efficient countermeasure against DUIs comes from a device that can prevent an intoxicated person from starting their car. We’re talking, of course, about an ignition interlock device.
While an IID is typically enacted as a penalty for drinking and driving, it can be used proactively to prevent DUI offenses and avoid those costly insurance premium hikes. While waiting for a breathalyzer can take up to 30 minutes, Low Cost Interlock’s patented design allows for a quick analysis in only 5 minutes, so you can check your blood alcohol content quickly and avoid reckless driving.