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Drinking and driving accidents cause 37 deaths per day in the U.S. DUIs are serious offenses and typically come with steep penalties. After being convicted of a DUI in Maryland, you will likely see an increase in your auto insurance premium. Understanding DUI laws and how they affect your insurance could help you make educated decisions about your coverage.
DUI laws in Maryland
Under Maryland law, there is a distinct difference between a DUI and a DWI. The former is short for “driving while under the influence,” while the latter stands for “driving while intoxicated.” A dUI is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. The threshold for a DWI is slightly lower, a BAC of 0.07. Expectedly, the punishments for a DUI are typically more strict than they are for a DWI. For both a DUI and DWI, the penalties are significantly harsher if a minor is in your vehicle, if it is your third or higher offense or if you cause an accident or death.
In Maryland, DUIs carry the following punishments. In addition to the fines, jail time and license suspension period, you may also be required to complete a court-approved alcohol abuse program:
- First offense: If this is your first DUI offense, you may be assessed a fine up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. You could also have up to 12 points put on your driving record, and your driver’s license could be revoked for up to six months.
- Second offense: For a second DUI offense, you may have to pay up to a $2,000 fine and serve up to two years in jail (with a minimum requirement of five days). Twelve points can be put on your license and your license could be revoked for up to one year.
- Two convictions within five years: In this case, your license will likely be suspended, followed by your mandatory participation in Maryland’s Ignition Interlock Program. Ignition interlock devices require you to pass a breathalyzer test before you can start your engine.
DWIs typically carry slightly lower fines, shorter license suspension periods and less jail time:
- First offense: You could be fined up to $500 and be jailed for up to two months. You may have eight points added to your driving record, and your license could be suspended for up to six months. If you are under 21, your license could be suspended for up to a year.
- Second offense: You may have to pay a fine of up to $500 and could face up to a year in jail. You will see eight points put on your license, and your license could be suspended for nine months to a year. If you are under 21, your license could be suspended for two years.
Drivers under 21 found in violation of the state’s alcohol restriction will automatically have to enroll in the Ignition Interlock Program or have their license suspended. If it is their second underage alcohol violation within five years, they will need to stay in the Ignition Interlock Program for a longer period of time. The blood alcohol concentration minimum is lower for drivers under 21, with anything over 0.02 percent considered a DUI in Maryland.
How a DUI affects your car insurance in Maryland
A DUI on your record will likely result in a premium increase on your insurance policy. Car insurance rates are based partly on risk, and after you have a DUI on your record, you will likely be viewed as a high-risk driver by insurance companies. Some insurance companies may not extend coverage to high-risk drivers. You might also need to seek out an insurer that will file an SR-22 certificate on your behalf if your license was suspended or revoked.
Maryland drivers see an average annual auto insurance premium increase of 85 percent after a DUI conviction. Nationally, the average increase is 53 percent. Your personal rate increase could differ, as car insurance companies have their own underwriting guidelines, and rates are based on various factors, including your ZIP code, age, claims history and credit-based insurance score. The premiums in the table below are average annual full coverage rates for a 40-year-old driver with a single DUI conviction.
|Average annual full coverage premium before a DUI||Average annual full coverage premium in Maryland after a DUI||Percent increase|
Finding car insurance after a DUI in Maryland
Although you will likely be considered a high-risk driver after a DUI, there may be ways for you to find affordable auto insurance coverage.
Every insurance company may have different policies and rates for drivers with a DUI, so getting quotes from several companies may help you find coverage that fits your needs. Below are average annual full coverage premiums after a DUI from several major insurance providers in Maryland. Your rate will vary from their averages, so requesting a personalized quote is likely the best strategy to find the cheapest car insurance for your needs following a high-risk incident. These averages are for drivers with a single DUI conviction.
|Car insurance company||Avg. annual full coverage premium in Maryland before a DUI||Avg. annual full coverage premium in Maryland after a DUI||Percent increase|
Frequently asked questions
You will likely be able to find car insurance in Maryland after a DUI, though your options may be limited, and your quoted premium may be more expensive. Car insurance companies review your driving record, credit score, age, marital status, and several other factors before determining your eligibility or rate. This is why most insurance professionals recommend requesting quotes from multiple providers to find the best car insurance company for you.
Even if you have a DUI on your record, you may still be eligible for discounts on car insurance. While you may not be eligible for good driving discounts, you could still get other discounts, such as those for vehicle safety features or bundling. Each company offers different discounts, so researching discount options from different companies could help you choose a company with the most potential savings.
A DUI conviction in Maryland can stay on your record indefinitely, while points accessed will typically clear after two years. Maryland DUI laws do not allow for expungement on an offender’s criminal record. While alcohol-related charges stay on a driving record in Maryland for life, they will likely only impact your insurance rates for up to 10 years, depending on the company.
That will depend on your insurer. According to Bankrate’s analysis of premium data from Quadrant Information Services, the average cost of car insurance in Maryland for a driver with a DUI is $3,643 per year for a full coverage policy and $1,420 per year for minimum coverage. These DUI rates are about 85 percent and 74 percent higher than the statewide average, respectively. However, some insurers may offer more affordable car insurance for drivers with DUIs than others. For example, our research showed that Erie’s full coverage car insurance rates for drivers with a DUI are below the average DUI rate in Maryland and the standard average rate.
However, these are just average figures, and your exact rate will depend on other factors like your age, credit-based insurance score, the kind of car you drive, your marital status and your gender (to name only a small sample). If you are looking for car insurance after a DUI, many insurance experts recommend you shop around and compare quotes before you commit to a policy.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.
Incidents: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.