How does a DUI affect car insurance rates?

4 minute read Published on Jan 16, 2020 by BrokerLink Communications

If you've recently gotten stopped for driving under the influence (DUI), or are just wondering what the penalties are, it's no real surprise that car insurance goes up after a DUI. In Canada, driving while intoxicated is a serious offence and the legal penalties are severe. These can include driving suspensions, expensive fines, and the cost of taking mandatory classes. Your punishment often depends on the seriousness of the incident and your driving record. Multiple arrests for driving while impaired will result in higher fines and can even get your license revoked permanently.

Once you've gotten a DUI, you may have difficulty getting car insurance. Many insurance companies won't cover someone with a DUI on their record for a long time. It’s also important to note that if you do have a DUI, you should contact a broker in order to find insurance.

Having insurance is still mandatory in Canada. So if you're going to drive again, it's necessary that you find a policy to cover you.

Factors That Influence Your Car Insurance After a DUI

There are a few factors that impact the rate of your car insurance after a DUI. While the best course of action is not to drive after drinking in the first place, that advice doesn't help once you've already made the mistake. Knowing the factors that impact your insurance rate can help you find the right insurance and limit the cost. Here are some things to consider:

  • Driving Record. If you have a clean driving record prior to your DUI and maintain a clean driving record after, it can help you lower your insurance rates.
  • Classes. Taking classes recommended for those with a DUI shows that you're interested in improving your safety record and committed to staying sober while behind the wheel.
  • Make and Model of Your Car. The type of car you drive impacts the rate of your insurance.
  • Area Where You Live. Your province is a consideration in the cost of your insurance.
  • Increase Your Deductible. Policies with higher deductibles cost less, saving you a bit of money while you maintain a clean driving record.
  • Time. Every year that passes without an accident, claim or DUI will help you reduce the cost of your insurance.

What Happens When Car Insurance Companies Find Out About a DUI?

When your insurance carrier finds out you have a DUI, there are a number of things that can happen. Your insurance has the right to cancel your policy in many cases. Some insurance companies will maintain your coverage but raise your rate, but many will decline to cover you.

Your insurance company has the right to refuse to cover your claims if it finds out that you have a DUI that you did not disclose.

Will Insurance Companies Ever Lower Your Premium Again?

While the punishment for DUI can seem like a lifelong affliction, the truth is that you can remedy this situation. You will not need to pay the heightened rates for insurance forever. If you can maintain a clean driving record without filing claims, your insurance rates will continue to decrease each year. After several years, you'll be able to purchase the car insurance of your choice at a normal rate for your area. But this does take some time.

In Ontario, for instance, the conviction will remain on your record for three years. A license suspension from a DUI conviction stays on your record for at least six years. If you've maintained an otherwise clean driving record for six years, you should be able to purchase an auto insurance policy at the standard rate for your area. You also do not need to tell a new insurance company about the DUI if it's more than six years old.

A DUI Can Raise Your Car Insurance Rates

In virtually all cases, a DUI will raise your car insurance rates. Many drivers need to find policies from insurance companies that specialize in covering those who are high risk, such as drivers with a DUI on their record. These policies are usually at a much higher monthly/annual premium.

Someone with a DUI on their record can expect to pay up to five times more for car insurance than drivers with a clean record. The exact premium amount depends on the other surrounding factors, such as the area where you live and the number of claims you make. Each subsequent DUI will increase your car insurance rate further, not to mention the legal fees, fines, and suspension of your license.

Frequently asked questions on DUIs & Car Insurance:

How much does car insurance go up after DUI?

Your rate after a DUI conviction will depend on your driving record and other factors but typically, rates for those with a DUI are three to five times higher than those without a blemish on their driving record.

Do I have to tell my insurance company about a DUI?

Yes. If your insurance hasn't been informed and you have a claim later, they are within their rights to void your insurance. As a result, it would be similar to not being insured at all.

How long does a DUI stay on my driving record?

A DUI is a very serious offence. How long it stays on your record depends on the province you live in. However, regardless of where you live in Canada, a DUI will have long lasting consequences.

Should I get a lawyer to help with my DUI case?

Because of the serious consequences of being convicted for a DUI, you should be prepared to handle your case by hiring an experienced DUI lawyer to advise you. Seek legal advice from the moment you have been accused of violating the law. Your lawyer might be able to protect you from serious penalties.