Does Full-Coverage Insurance Cover DUI Accidents?

Whether an insurance company covers a DUI accident depends on the insurance provider and the situation—in most cases, it may be partly covered.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
Most insurance companies will cover a DUI accident, but it’s not always guaranteed. How much coverage is provided depends on your car insurance provider, your auto coverage options, and where you live.
  • Most insurance companies will cover damages from a DUI-related accident, but that can vary based on your provider, location, and coverage.
  • If you do get a DUI, your car insurance rates will go up.
  • Some insurers may drop your coverage or refuse to renew it after a DUI.

Does full coverage car insurance cover DUI accidents?

In most cases, car insurance will cover a DUI accident, but it depends on your auto insurance company, your coverage level, and your state’s laws.
For example, if you have a full-coverage insurance policy with
, you are covered up to the limits of your car insurance policy for any accident, regardless of whether you are at fault or were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That includes damage to your vehicle or someone else’s property and injuries.
Full coverage car insurance generally means carrying both
and physical damage coverages (
collision coverage
), but there’s no clear consensus on what "full coverage car insurance" means. For instance, some providers will include personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, although most won’t.
That said, full coverage may or may not cover accidents resulting from drinking and driving. In some states, like
New York
, insurers are explicitly allowed to exclude DUI-related incidents from certain insurance policies. Generally, these exclusions apply to anything beyond liability coverage, meaning that if you’re involved in an at-fault DUI accident, your insurance company can reduce to only cover injuries and damage you inflict on other drivers and their vehicles up to your policy’s limit.
That said, if you cause an accident while under the influence and your insurer denies coverage based on a policy exclusion, you’ll want to get a written copy of your policy and ensure that the exclusion applies to your situation.
Also, remember that while most insurers will pay for DUI damages, they’ll only accept claims for unintentional events. So, while most DUI accidents are unintentional, your insurer could deny your claim because you knowingly got behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, making it an intentional act. If your claim is denied, you may have to hire a law firm to fight the decision.
But even if your drunk driving accident is covered under your full-coverage insurance policy, there's still a good chance you’ll face serious repercussions from your provider. At the least, you’ll see a significant increase in your insurance premium from being labeled a
high-risk driver
—but there’s also the potential that your insurer may drop you altogether. However, in some states, such as
North Carolina
, insurers are prohibited from doing so before the policy’s expiration.
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How will a DUI impact your insurance rates?

If you’ve been nailed with a DUI, there’s one thing that’s certain—your car insurance rates will increase. That’s because having a DUI offense on your record automatically puts you in the “high-risk driver” category, which means you’re more likely to file an insurance claim than the average road-goer with a
clean driving record
. On average, a DUI can increase your insurance rates by more than 50%, but the amount depends on your insurance provider—and unfortunately, there’s no way around this.
First, some auto insurance companies are unwilling to extend coverage to a driver with a DUI on their record, which means they’ll cancel your policy or won’t renew it when it expires.
Second, if you can get coverage, you’ll need to
file an SR-22 form
, which shows your state DMV that you meet at least the
minimum car insurance requirements in your state
. You’re required by most states to file an SR-22 after a DUI conviction in order to have your license reinstated—but not all providers offer SR-22 forms.

How long does a DUI stay on your driving record?

A DUI is a serious offense with several legal and financial consequences. If you’re charged with driving under the influence, it will stay on your driving record for anywhere from five to ten years—and sometimes forever—depending on where you live.
For example, a DUI charge in New York remains on your record for 15 years, while in
, it’s permanent.
But it’s not just a soiled driving record that results from a DUI—you’re also liable for the conviction fine, court fines, possible jail time, probation fines, license suspension and reinstatement fees, ignition interlock devices charges, and attorney fees. Depending on where you live, you could also have to pay driver responsibility fees to your state, which range from $1,000 to $2,500.

How to get auto insurance coverage after a DUI

Even with a DUI on your driving record, you can still find car insurance for an affordable—but expect your rates to increase dramatically compared to what you were paying before. Here’s how you can find coverage: 

Compare quotes

Not all car insurance companies treat DUI convictions the same, which means certain providers will offer you better rates than others. That’s why it’s worth your time to shop around for insurance quotes and compare rates from several providers before committing to a policy. In most cases, however, you will have to file an SR-22.

Look into non-standard insurance

High-risk auto insurance
is specifically designed for high-risk drivers, such as those with a DUI on their driving record. Here, you have two choices: name-brand insurance companies, which may or may not approve you for coverage, and non-standard insurance companies specializing in high-risk car insurance. In either case, you can expect to pay a higher rate, but non-standard companies increase your chances of being approved.

Wait it out

Depending on your state, a DUI can stay on your driving record for anywhere from five years to indefinitely. In most states, your rate will be directly surcharged for 3 years following the conviction. If you can go that long without driving, you can avoid paying the surcharge—although insurers may still raise your base rate or even deny you coverage based on your DUI for 5-10 years.
Some insurers will also offer cheaper rates if the conviction happened several years ago instead of recently. In such cases, waiting can be worth it.
MORE: How to get car insurance with a bad driving record
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The main difference between liability and full-coverage insurance is that liability only covers damage to other vehicles or injuries to other people from an at-fault accident, while full coverage provides coverage for your car. Liability insurance is a requirement in almost all states, while full coverage is only required if you lease or finance a car.
Liability insurance includes
property damage liability
bodily injury liability
, while full coverage varies between insurers but usually includes collision, comprehensive, and full liability coverage. Some insurers may include personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist coverage.
Shopping around is the best way to find the cheapest insurance rates after a DUI, but in general,
tend to offer the most competitive rates for drivers with a DUI on their record.
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