Approximately 26 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2019 were caused by people driving under the influence of alcohol, and 290 people died. Given the amount of people that are killed every year by drunk driving, it is no surprise that insurance companies are hesitant to insure drivers with a prior DUI conviction. Tennessee does require all drivers in the state to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance, but a DUI conviction can make it more challenging for some motorists to obtain it. So, if you have a DUI conviction on your record, how can you find car insurance?
The Law On DUIs In Tennessee
Tennessee, like all other states, has very strict laws regarding driving under the influence. It is against the law for anyone in the state to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above. A first DUI conviction comes with penalties of between 48 hours to one year in prison, a maximum $1,500 fine, a one-year suspension of your driver’s license, and mandatory enrollment in an alcohol or drug treatment program. Penalties for subsequent DUI convictions include maximum fines of $10,000, an eight-year revocation of your driver’s license, and possible seizure of your vehicle.
Anyone that causes another person’s death due to a DUI will face a class B felony charge, and may have their license revoked for up to ten years. When minors are convicted of a DUI, they rarely face jail time, but they may have their driver’s license suspended until they are 18 years of age.
How Does A DUI Affect Car Insurance?
Impaired driving is a very serious offense and while you may face criminal penalties, a conviction will also make it more difficult to obtain affordable car insurance. Insurance companies take a number of factors into consideration when determining whether to insure you, and your driving record is given the most weight.
Insurance companies will look for red flags, such as a prior DUI conviction, to determine if you are eligible, as well as to determine the annual premium you will be responsible for paying. If you do have any marks on your driving record, insurers will view you as high risk and may decide not to provide you with insurance.
On average, the cost of full coverage auto insurance across the country is. $1,674. Once a driver is convicted of a DUI, that total can increase to $3,336. In Tennessee, motorists with a DUI conviction on their record pay on average, $2,805 for full coverage. It is important to know though, that insurers set their own rates so purchasing auto insurance after a DUI conviction can cost below this amount, or well above it. Unfortunately, certain insurance providers refuse to insure drivers with a prior DUI conviction and may even cancel a driver’s policy if they are convicted of a DUI.
How To Find Auto Insurance After A DUI Conviction
It is not uncommon for insurers to reject policy applications when a driver has a prior DUI conviction on their record. Likewise, your provider may also choose not to renew your term once it ends. However, it is not impossible to purchase auto insurance. You just may have to pay a little bit more for it.
Some insurance carriers specialize in providing coverage to high-risk drivers, which includes motorists with a DUI conviction on their record. With this type of insurance, not only will you have to pay more for it, but you also may not get to pick certain options and your coverage will likely only provide for the bare minimum. It is advised that you obtain quotes from several insurance companies any time you are purchasing auto insurance, but particularly if you have a DUI conviction on your record.
It is also important to know that if you drive very safely, over time you can improve your driving record and eventually obtain lower insurance rates. If you do not get into any accidents or have any other convictions, in a few years you may even be eligible for discounted auto insurance, allowing you to save even more.
Our Tennessee Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help With Your DUI
The easiest way to obtain car insurance after a DUI arrest is to speak to a Knoxville criminal defense lawyer that can help you beat your charges. At The Barnes Law Firm, we know there are several defenses to driving under the influence and will use them to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at 865-805-5703 or contact us online to schedule a free criminal defense consultation.