Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, research investigative pieces…

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states…

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Reviewed byRachael Brennan
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UPDATED: Sep 4, 2020

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Are you confused about the difference between a DUI vs. a DWI? If you get pulled over for driving under the influence, the difference between these two offenses can make a serious difference for your insurance costs.

Generally, a DUI is considered less severe and carries lesser penalties. This is because driving under the influence (DUI) means having any intoxicating substance in your system while driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI) means having enough of such a substance in your system to impair your ability to drive.

If you find yourself convicted of either offense, it can make your insurance rates increase. In that case, you may need to find cheap auto insurance to offset the rise in car insurance costs.

Enter your ZIP code to compare DUI insurance quotes online with our FREE auto insurance comparison tool.

DUI Car Insurance – DUI vs DWI

DUI, known as “Driving under the influence”, can also be referred to as “Driving while intoxicated/impaired” or in some situations, “operating while impaired” (OWI). Basically, if you consume alcohol and/or drugs and get behind the wheel, you put yourself at risk for a DUI/DWI. And the drugs don’t have to be illegal, either; even a seemingly innocent dose of strong cough medicine or legitimate prescription medication can impair you enough to get you pulled over and ticketed. DUI is usually considered a lesser offense compared to a DWI, especially if the charge is based on alcohol consumption.

DUI Auto Insurance Legend: DUI Conviction Clean Record California Florida Illinois New York Texas 15 30 45 60 75 90 105 120 135 150 165 180 195 210 225 $164 $64 $225 $126 $49 $34 $153 $93 $145 $105

Some states, such as New Jersey, Minnesota, and Virginia do not recognize any distinction between a DUI vs. a DWI; both carry equal weight. Usually, however, a blood alcohol level below .08 is considered a DUI and anything above that threshold is a DWI. For impairment from drugs, DUIs are often issued.

DUI vs. DWI Car Insurance Legend: DUI Conviction DWI Conviction California Florida Minnesota New Jersey Virginia 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270 300 330 360 $164 $170 $225 $320 $49 $75 $253 $381 $127 $239

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DWI Car Insurance

No matter what sort of citation you get, however, your insurance rates will rise substantially. Impaired driving puts you and everyone else on the road at a significantly higher risk of collision, injury, and death. It is also a sign of risky behavioral patterns which, according to insurance company data, means you will eventually get into an accident after a certain amount of time. This will cost your insurance company money, and they will adjust your premiums accordingly to compensate for that risk. Compare DWI car insurance rates.

Car Insurance for DUI and SR-22

After your DUI, odds are your license will be revoked. In order to get it back, you will need to file an SR-22 to prove financial responsibility. This form serves two purposes: it keeps the reckless driver in question from either dropping their insurance coverage due to a post-DUI premium spike or trying to avoid the rate hike by conveniently neglecting to inform their auto insurance company of the offense.

Finding auto insurance after a DUI

There are three typical types of car insurance. Standard Market describes policies for low-risk drivers. Secondary Market policies are policies for drivers who pose a nominally higher risk, but still may be profitable to insure. And the Assigned Risk Pool classifies motorists with DUIs or SR-22s, customers who pose a significantly higher risk of filing expensive claims.

These companies may not sell you an insurance policy (or cancel an active policy if they are your current insurance company):

  • USAA
  • Auto-Owners
  • Infinity
  • Encompass
  • Liberty Mutual
  • State Farm
  • And Many More

If you had Standard Market insurance before your DUI, odds are they will either cancel your policy or refuse to renew it. Your only option will be to search for insurance after your DUI conviction in the secondary market or the high-risk pool, and you may see premiums 3-4 times higher than what you were paying before.

D.U.I. Auto Insurance

But there are some ways to save money on your D.U.I. auto insurance after a DUI conviction. If you shop around, there’s a chance you’ll find a palatable rate with a new provider. Also, you may want to trade in whatever vehicle you have now for something less expensive, older, and unlikely to require collision or comprehensive insurance coverage.

Keep track of when the DUI will expire from your record; the second it does, you will be eligible to save money in your DUI insurance policy. Also, try and keep your record as clean as possible in the meantime. If you want to see if you could save with another insurer, use our FREE auto insurance comparison tool to see quotes from multiple companies now.