Getting Car Insurance After a DUI in California: Everything You Need to Know

Your insurer may cancel your policy after your driver’s license is suspended or revoked due to a DUI. But if they renew your policy, you can expect to pay premiums up to 185% more than the cost of your original policy. Drivers without a DUI in California only pay around $1,409 per year for a full coverage policy, while high-risk drivers pay around $4,016 per year for the same coverage.

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Last Updated: 9/28/2022

MoneyGeek found that Mercury is the cheapest car insurance company in California for drivers with a DUI for both full and minimum coverage policies. However, the best car insurance company in the state after a DUI is GEICO, for both full and minimum coverages.

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Car insurance is required in all states, but an insurance provider has the legal right to deny coverage to drivers with a history of DUI. After receiving a DUI, you’re seen as riskier to insure because you’re more likely to file a claim. Insurance companies follow different guidelines, so you’ll find that some companies are more likely to insure high-risk drivers than others.

In California, expect your rates to increase by 185% per year after a DUI. Additionally, your license will be suspended, during which time you’ll be given limited driving privileges. You’ll also be required to install an ignition interlock system on your vehicle.

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Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California After a DUI

Based on MoneyGeek’s nationwide comparison of auto insurance providers, Progressive and State Farm offer the cheapest car insurance companies for drivers after a DUI. However, in California, Mercury provides the cheapest premiums for drivers with a DUI.

Cheapest Companies for Full Coverage in California After a DUI

Your car insurance rates after a DUI conviction will depend on several factors, including your preferred coverage level.

MoneyGeek found that the cheapest car insurance providers in California for a full coverage policy after a DUI are:

  • Mercury: $2,377 per year
  • Esurance: $2,626 per year
Cheapest Car Insurance for Full Coverage After a DUI

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  • Rank
    Company
    Annual Premium
  • 1
    Mercury
    $2,377
  • 2
    Esurance
    $2,626
  • 3
    Progressive
    $2,710
  • 4
    Farmers
    $2,833
  • 5
    GEICO
    $2,984

Cheapest Companies for Minimum Coverage in California After a DUI

If you’re looking for the cheapest option for car insurance, you could go for a minimum coverage policy. This provides basic coverages that meet the state’s minimum requirements.

Based on our data, the following insurance companies offer the cheapest minimum coverage policies in California after a DUI:

  • Mercury: $948 per year
  • Progressive: $1,070 per year
Cheapest Car Insurance for Minimum Coverage After a DUI

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Although state minimum coverage is the cheapest option, it only includes basic coverages which may not provide enough protection. Car accidents can be very costly and you may end up paying more out-of-pocket expenses if you only have minimum coverage. We suggest that you carefully weigh all factors when choosing which policy to buy.

Top Car Insurance Companies in California After a DUI

MoneyGeek ranked the best car insurance companies after a DUI in California using composite scores on affordability, customer satisfaction, financial stability and more. According to our analysis, the top insurer in California for both full coverage and minimum coverage is GEICO.

Best Companies for Full Coverage in California After a DUI

DUI offenders in California will find that GEICO and Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group are the best companies providing full coverage insurance. More information about these insurers is included in the table below.


1
GEICOBest full coverage after a DUI
Score:4.4

4.5/5

Affordability

5/5

Financial Stability

4.5/5

User Satisfaction

4/5

Claims

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

Without a DUI, you can get a GEICO full coverage car insurance in California at around $1,270 per year, but this rate increases by almost 135%, which translates to roughly $2,984 per year, for those with a DUI.

More About GEICO

GEICO is one of MoneyGeek’s top-rated insurers due to its perfect score on financial stability and high ratings for customer satisfaction and claims. It also offers unique add-on coverages, such as mechanical breakdown assistance, and rare discounts. However, this insurer doesn't offer coverages for new or better car replacements.

2
Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group
Score:4.3

3.5/5

Affordability

4/5

Financial Stability

4.5/5

User Satisfaction

5/5

Claims

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

In California, the Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group offers full coverage DUI insurance for $4,103, which is slightly more expensive than the average cost in the state of $4,016.

More About Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group

The Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group compensates for the slightly above-average cost of insurance by providing superior customer service. Based on our analysis, the insurer also has a high claims rating and good financial stability, indicating that it’s able to invest more in its customer service for a better claims-filing experience.

Best Companies for Minimum Coverage in California After a DUI

Minimum coverage is the cheapest possible option for car insurance, but it might not be enough to cover all your expenses after an accident.

In California, the best car insurance companies providing minimum coverage for those with a DUI are GEICO and Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group.


1
GEICOBest minimum coverage after a DUI
Score:4

5/5

Stability

5/5

Satisfaction

4/5

Claims

5/5

Affordability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

In California, the average minimum coverage policy from GEICO costs an average of $521. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, the same policy becomes more expensive at $1,244 per year on average.

More About GEICO

GEICO also gets our nod as the top pick for minimum coverage insurer for drivers with a DUI. This is not surprising because GEICO is one of MoneyGeek’s top-rated insurers with a perfect score on financial stability and high ratings for customer satisfaction and claims. It provides cheap policies for all types of drivers, unique add-on coverages and rare discounts. However, this insurer scores average in terms of complaint resolution.

2
Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group
Score:4

4/5

Stability

5/5

Satisfaction

5/5

Claims

3/5

Affordability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

The average cost of minimum coverage DUI policy from Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group is $1,987, slightly more expensive than the average cost of a minimum coverage DUI in the state of $1,858 per year.

More About Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group

Based on our research, Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group is the second-best insurer for minimum coverage DUI policies in California. Though more expensive than other insurers, it provides superior customer service and responds quickly to policyholders’ claims.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in California After a DUI?

A full coverage policy in California for someone with a DUI costs an average of $4,016 per year. This is a 185% jump from the average premiums paid by drivers with a clean record, which is priced at $1,409 annually.

MoneyGeek goes deeper into why your premiums increase after a DUI.

How long does a DUI affect the cost of your car insurance?

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Average Cost

Full Coverage

$1,409
insurance2
Average Cost with DUI

Full Coverage

$4,016
Full coverage policy premiums after a DUI cost::$2,607 more

This is 185% more expensive.

After a DUI conviction, insurance companies will classify you as a high-risk driver. This dramatically increases your car insurance rates. Use MoneyGeek’s auto insurance calculator below to get a personalized estimate of how your car insurance rates in California may change after a DUI based on your driver profile.

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The financial toll of a DUI goes beyond an increase in your car insurance premiums. The total minimum cost of a DUI can run into thousands of dollars and this includes the following:

  • Fines, court and attorneys' fees: You’ll need to pay fines and various court fees, including paying for the services of a DUI attorney to help you post bail or fight an unfair charge.
  • Towing/impound fee: Following an arrest, you cannot drive and would need to have your car towed and impounded.
  • Drug education and treatment: Most DUI convictions will require you to undergo an alcohol or drug education program. After your first DUI offense in California, you will be asked to complete either a 30-hour, 44-hour or 60-hour program based on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time you were pulled over.
  • DMV reinstatement fee: You’ll need to pay a fee to reinstate your driving privileges after your license is suspended due to a DUI.
  • Damages: If you’re found at fault for an accident, you would need to shoulder the cost of property damages and medical care in excess of your insurance coverage.

Getting Car Insurance in California After a DUI

Getting car insurance can be very tough after a DUI. Most car insurance companies may deny coverage to high-risk drivers. This practice is legal since insurance companies are private businesses that aim to make a profit.

To make matters worse, California has a 10-year look-back period. During this period, any subsequent offense will incur steeper penalties.

On top of this, you will also face huge increases in insurance premiums. MoneyGeek recommends that you shop around for the best and cheapest insurers that offer coverage for high-risk drivers and compare quotes from multiple providers to find the best rates.

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California drivers convicted of a DUI must have an SR-22 insurance form filed by their insurer to confirm that their policy meets the state’s minimum requirements. SR-22 insurance in California has its associated costs, such as filing fees and loss of discounts. MoneyGeek identified the best and cheapest companies for drivers with a DUI.

California DUI Laws

If you’re convicted of a DUI in California, you could lose your driving privileges, pay steep fines, pay for and have an interlock ignition device (IID) installed and even get jail time. The broad range of penalties depends on the number of previous convictions a driver received.

MoneyGeek gives a rundown of California’s DUI laws in the table below.

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    Driving with a BAC at or above 0.08 is considered a DUI

    The amount of alcohol circulating in your bloodstream is measured in terms of the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level.

    In California, it is considered a criminal offense to drive with a BAC of 0.08. However, you can still get arrested if your driving is noticeably impaired even if your BAC level is lower than this threshold.

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    Driving with a BAC of 0.15 will result in increased penalties

    California drivers convicted of a DUI with a BAC of 0.15 will have their license suspended for 10 months. These drivers can apply for a restricted license after one month and upon completing a nine-month DUI education and counseling program.

  • This is an icon

    License suspension for a first offense

    California’s administrative license suspension program, also known as “Admin Per Se” or ASP, authorizes the DMV to suspend or revoke the driving privileges of anyone arrested for DUI. For first offenders, this period lasts four months.

  • This is an icon

    Limited driving privileges during license suspension

    You will get limited driving privileges after 30 days following the date of your suspension.

  • This is an icon

    Ignition interlocks

    An ignition interlock system is mandatory in California for all repeat and injury-involved offenses, first-time injury and vehicular manslaughter offenses.

  • This is an icon

    Open container laws

    California’s open container laws prohibit you from having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Finding the best car insurance after a DUI in California can be very stressful and confusing. But you don’t have to go through the process alone because MoneyGeek answered the most frequently asked questions about getting car insurance after a DUI.

Methodology

To determine the top companies for individuals with DUIs in California, MoneyGeek analyzed each company’s financial stability, customer satisfaction, claims and affordability based on data and information obtained from state insurance departments and Quadrant Information Services. The rates above are based on a 40-year-old male with and without a DUI driving a 2010 Toyota Camry LE with 12K annual mileage.

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