Getting car Insurance after a DWI can be scary

Getting insurance after a DWI can be scarier than a 1950s driver’s ed film

Drinking and driving is a costly enterprise. The risk of impaired driving to life and limb is well-documented. Recently commissioned a survey to study the costs of DWIs and other moving violations on one’s insurance premiums. The results are almost as scary as those 1950’s films about road safety.

North Carolina dumps a pretty strenuous insurance burden on unsafe drivers. If you’re caught speeding 31mph or more over the limit, your insurance bill goes up by about half. The national average is just over 29%, making North Carolina an especially bad place for lead-footed drivers. A reckless driving conviction will almost double your rates: you’ll be paying, on average, 94% more.

But here is where it gets truly frightening. Get a North Carolina DWI, and you can expect to pay 337% more for auto insurance afterwards. That’s more than three times the national average of 92.5%. So if your car insurance policy costs $1,000 per year now, expect to be billed an extra $3,370 after your DWI conviction.

Of course, many factors affect your insurance rate – your age, driving record, where you live, and what type of vehicle you drive. The litigation climate in your area makes a difference too. But DWIs are notoriously stubborn things: insurance companies know what they mean, and they don’t allow drivers much wiggle room. Your bill will skyrocket.

Is it fair that North Carolina DWI offenders pay such high insurance? The actuaries (those who determine risk) say yes. DWIs are considered high-risk drivers. They made a decision to drink and drive, a move that showed a willful disregard for safety. The insurer cannot ignore such behavior.

The good news is that, unlike many rate rises, these ones are avoidable. Stay within the speed limit, drive carefully, and of course, never drink and drive, and you can forget you ever read about the added costs of driving badly in North Carolina.

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