You can expect your car insurance rates to go up quite a bit if you have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). However, not everyone with a DUI conviction experiences the same hike; some people pay higher rates than others. Below are some of the steps you can take so that you can be one of those with minimum rate hikes.
Do Your Research
A DUI conviction marks you, at least in the eyes of the insurance company, as a risky driver. This is because insurance companies use your past behavior to predict future behavior, and driving while intoxicated increases the risk of a crash. How much your rates will climb after a DUI depends on various factors, including your insurance company. Some insurance companies place more weight on DUIs than others. Therefore, one of the first things that you need to do after a DUI is to shop for insurance coverage. An insurance agent can help you with the shopping so that you can, hopefully, land a company with a minimal rate hike.
A DUI conviction will stay on your driving record for many years. However, the effect will wane with the passage of time. For example, an 8-year old DUI might not affect your insurance premiums as much as a 2-year old DUI. However, state laws and insurance companies determine how much an old DUI can affect your rates, and for how long. Thus, the cheapest insurance carrier today might not be the cheapest carrier three years from now. As such, it's advisable to shop for coverage every year after your DUI.
Avoid Further DUIs
The number of DUIs on your record determines how much your rates can hike. The more DUIs on your record, the higher your premiums can get. In fact, if you keep getting DUIs, there might come a time where you can't get coverage from any insurance company. Therefore, it's critical to avoid further DUIs if you already have one in your record.
Focus On Other Factors
You might not be able to erase a DUI from your driving record, but there are other things you can do to improve your rates. Don't forget that the DUI is not the only factor that affects your rates. Other driving infractions, discounts, the type of car you have, and even your neighborhood still affect your rates. Thus, focus on the things you can improve so that you can enjoy reasonable rates. For example, you can switch to a cheaper car and take a defensive driving lesson to improve your rates.