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How much might a drunk driving charge increase your insurance costs?

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2021 | Criminal Law, NC

If a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) leads to a conviction, drivers may face a wide variety of new challenges. Time spent in jail or fulfilling the terms of their probation may keep them away from work. Fines and other costs can put strain on even carefully planned household budgets. License suspensions can make it difficult to travel freely, and relying on family and friends for transportation can put strain on those relationships.

One change that they may not expect, however, is how significantly a DUI can change the cost of their insurance as they move forward.

How much do insurance rates increase after a DUI?

Because insurance companies view drivers with drunk driving convictions as riskier, their insurance rates can increase significantly. This is especially true in North Carolina, where drivers see a 371 percent increase in their insurance rates, with an average increase of over $4,000 per year. That is the highest average increase in any state and more than triple the national average.

How long will this increase last?

While insurance rates can decrease in as little as three years after a conviction in some states, how long you experience a rate increase depends on how long the charge will stay on your driving record. In North Carolina, a DUI remains on your driving record for seven years, and that drunk driving charge could impact your insurance rates for just as long.

Like the other penalties drivers face with a DUI on their criminal record, the increase in their insurance rates can impact their life long after a conviction. As a result, it is important for drivers to begin building a strong defense as soon as possible after an arrest so that they can protect themselves from these challenges.