An auto insurance company looks at a number of factors when determining your premiums: your age, credit score, the city where you live and your claims history (the frequency and amounts of auto insurance claims you’ve filed). Plus, they take a careful look at the most important variable of all: your driving record.
Drivers without accidents and traffic violations typically get the lowest rates, while people with driving histories marred by a DWI conviction can expect to pay the highest rates.
A first DWI offense can result in harsh penalties that include potential jail time, a driver’s license suspension of up to a year, an assortment of hefty fines and more. When you add to that punishment, the financial pain of significantly higher auto insurance bills, it’s easy to understand the importance of fighting a DWI charge with the help of a skilled legal professional.
Insurance companies view drivers convicted of drunk driving as extreme risks to insure. To offset that risk, insurers charge those drivers much more for coverage.
Those drivers with two or more DWIs face even steeper rate hikes – and sometimes struggle to find insurance at any price.
According to bankrate.com, the average rate increases Texans face are lower than the national rate hike averages. Nationally, the average annual insurance premium for people before they have a DWI conviction is $1,674. Afterward, their insurance premium soars 99 percent, up to $3,336. Compare that to Texas, where a pre-DWI driver pays an average of $1,823 per year, which then goes up 55 percent after a DWI to $2,831. (All of those figures are for full-coverage policies.)
Different insurers assess the risk of drivers with a DWI in different ways. Look at the difference in premiums cited by bankrate.com for minimum coverage for some insurers popular in Texas:
- Allstate: $557 (average before DWI) and $963 (average after DWI)
- California Casualty: $678 (before DWI) and $1,858 (after DWI)
- Geico: $391 (before) and $593 (after)
- MetLife: $662 (before) and $1,550 (after)
- USAA: $395 (before) and $594 (after)
- White Mountains: $424 (before) and $537 (after)
Of course, full coverage costs significantly more, as does coverage for drivers with multiple DWIs in their history.