Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated in New Jersey can have severe consequences beyond legal penalties. An area that significantly feels the impact is auto insurance.
Understanding how a DWI or DUI conviction influences auto insurance rates is important for drivers in the Garden State.
Immediate rate increases
Upon receiving a DWI or DUI conviction in New Jersey, drivers can expect immediate and substantial increases in their auto insurance rates. Insurance providers view individuals with such convictions as higher-risk policyholders. As a result, they adjust premiums to offset the increased likelihood of accidents or claims associated with impaired driving. The spike in rates is a direct consequence of the perceived greater financial risk that comes with insuring a driver with a history of impaired driving.
SR-22 requirement and high-risk classifications
In addition to elevated premiums, a New Jersey DWI or DUI conviction may trigger the need for an SR-22 form. This document is necessary to demonstrate that a driver meets the minimum auto insurance requirements. The SR-22 is typically necessary for high-risk drivers, and its requirement further emphasizes the financial consequences of a drunk driving conviction.
Long-term impacts on premiums and eligibility
A DWI or DUI can have lasting effects on auto insurance premiums. Insurance providers may classify individuals with such convictions as high-risk for an extended period. This extended high-risk classification translates to ongoing elevated premiums. Some insurance companies may also decide not to renew policies for individuals with recent DWI or DUI convictions. This can make it challenging for affected drivers to secure affordable coverage.
Per Insure.com, New Jersey drivers see some of the nation’s highest insurance rate hikes after a DUI or DWI, with rates increasing by an average of 132%. As a result, the typical New Jersey driver with a first-time DUI or DWI pays $1,873 more per year for insurance coverage.