Auto Insurance for Impaired Drivers

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Impaired drivers are often classified as high-risk drivers
  • High-risk drivers are considered a different driver type and are subject to higher insurance premiums
  • DUI and OWI convictions can stay on your record for up to 10 years, depending on your state
  • A car insurance comparison tool can help you find a high-risk car insurance policy you can afford

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one million drivers were arrested in 2014 for driving while impaired, and 111 million individuals self-reported that they drove drunk at least once in 2014.

Unfortunately, being arrested while driving drunk and/or causing a car accident while driving drunk can result in your becoming categorized as a high-risk driver, and your previous car insurance policy may be canceled.

Once you find yourself in the high-risk pool, you may have difficulty finding an auto insurance policy that you can afford because the car insurance premiums for high-risk drivers can be three times higher than a standard risk policy.

If this situation sounds like what you’ve been experiencing, you need the services of a car insurance comparison tool. These insurance policy tools can find affordable policies even if you’ve been convicted of a DUI or OWI.

Comparison shop today to find the coverage you need at the best price.

Benchmarks for Driving While Impaired


The benchmarks for driving while impaired vary depending on the substance. If you have consumed alcohol, having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or 0.08 or higher for a driver 21 and older is illegal and can result in a DUI conviction.

Other substances in your system that can result in a DUI conviction include:

  • prescription pain pills
  • narcotics, like heroin or cocaine
  • other illicit substance

A blood or urine test can be administered to detect the presence of drugs in your system.

If any drugs of illicit substances are found in your blood or urine, you can be convicted of operating a vehicle while impaired.

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Refusing DUI or OWI Testing After Being Pulled Over by a Police Officer

If you are caught driving while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or an illicit substance, you could face severe consequences, including civil and criminal penalties as well as higher insurance rates.

In order to avoid these penalties, you may think that refusing a breathalyzer test, blood test or urine test is a good idea, but refusing to be tested for impairment could result in immediate penalties.

For example, the state of has an “Implied Consent Law” that states that the say you sign your driver’s license, you agree to be tested for drugs and/or alcohol if a police officer suspects you of driving under the influence.

If you refuse to take the test, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended for one year. If you get caught a second time and refuse the test, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for a year and a half.

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Car Insurance Claims After an Impaired Driving Conviction

If you caused a car accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your car insurance company may refuse the claim. Many, if not all, insurance companies exclude coverage if you get into an auto accident while impaired by an intoxicating substance.

This type of ruling by your insurance company would leave you responsible for 100 percent of the damages caused by the car accident, including the damages suffered to the driver you hit.

In some instances, your car insurance company may agree to pay the claim and the damages to the other driver’s vehicle and any related medical expenses and/or funeral costs, if your accident resulted in a death.

Unfortunately, your car insurance company cannot help you if you are sued for intentional misconduct, and you would be left to pay for those damages from your own personal finances.

High-Risk Drivers and Car Insurance Rates


Once you get put into the high-risk category for car insurance, your current insurance policy may be canceled.

Not all insurance companies can write policies for drivers that are at an increased risk for getting into a car accident or incident and causing damage, which means you may have to quickly find a new insurance policy.

What’s important to understand is that it does not matter if your current car insurance company writes you a high-risk policy or you find a new insurance company that can write high-risk policies, your rates will increase significantly.

Some drivers could see as much as a three or four-fold increase in their premiums amounts. If you need a cheaper high-risk policy, you can use a comparison tool to quickly compare rates and coverage levels.

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Impaired Driving Convictions and Car Insurance Rates

When you are caught and convicted of driving while impaired, your insurance rates will increase because you will be categorized as a high-risk driver.

The exact amount of the increase will depend on whether your conviction is a felony or a misdemeanor and the circumstances surrounding the conviction.

However, once the insurance company calculates your new rates based on your conviction, you will pay higher premiums, and those inflated premiums could last as long as ten years.

Some states mandate that a drunk driving or impaired driving conviction stay on your record for an entire decade.

Shopping for Car Insurance After a DUI or OWI Conviction


If you have a DUI or OWI conviction on your record, do not despair, a car insurance comparison tool can help you shop for a new car insurance policy.

To get started, all you have to do is input the following:

  • your personal information
  • your vehicle’s information
  • information about your driving record, accidents, and convictions while operating a motor vehicle

When you input your information, do not lie or omit information as this could result in your new policy being canceled.

Once you have entered all the applicable information and made sure that it is as accurate as possible, submit it. The tool will search all of the insurance carriers and available policies to find car insurance that meets your needs.

After you have the results, all you have to do is choose the policy that provides the right amount of coverage for a price you can afford. Enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool to get started right away.

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