Cheap Car Insurance with a DUI in California (2024)

Mile Auto is the cheapest insurer for California drivers with a DUI, with liability coverage as low as $111 per month.

Janet Berry-Johnson
Janet Berry-Johnson
  • 8+ years writing about insurance, taxes, and personal finance

  • Certified public accountant

Janet applies her experience in personal finance, taxes, and accounting to make complex financial topics accessible. Her byline has appeared on numerous web media.

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Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content
  • 10+ years in insurance and personal finance content

  • 30+ years in media, PR, and content creation

Evelyn leads Insurify’s content team. She’s passionate about creating empowering content to help people transform their financial lives and make sound insurance-buying decisions.

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Updated June 11, 2024

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Cheapest recent rates in California for drivers with a DUI

Drivers using Insurify have found quotes as cheap as $66/mo for liability only and $163/mo for full coverage in California.

*Quotes generated for Insurify users from California within the last 10 days. Last updated on June 1, 2024

Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from June 1, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

*Quotes generated for Insurify users from California within the last 10 days. Last updated on June 1, 2024

Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from June 1, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

A conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will increase your car insurance rates significantly for three to five years. Impaired driving is a leading cause of fatal accidents,[1] so insurers raise rates to compensate for the increased risk that you’ll file a claim.

In California, drivers with clean records pay an average of $277 per month for full-coverage car insurance. By comparison, drivers with DUIs see average rates of $411 for the same coverage.

But Golden State drivers cited for impaired driving can still find cheap car insurance from top insurers like Mile Auto, Sun Coast, and Mercury. Here’s how to compare car insurance quotes to find the most affordable coverage after a DUI.

Quick Facts
  • Nearly 28% of all fatal crashes in California in 2023 involved impaired driving.[2]

  • A DUI conviction in California has serious consequences, including losing your license, having your vehicle impounded, and spending up to six months in jail.

  • California requires drivers convicted of a DUI to file an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility with the state DMV.

Cheapest DUI insurance in California

A DUI conviction will increase your car insurance costs in every state. Some insurance companies won’t cover drivers with DUIs — they may even cancel your policy mid-term after a DUI conviction. But others specialize in insuring high-risk drivers.

In California, Mile Auto has the cheapest rates for drivers with a DUI. Its liability-only coverage starts at $87 per month. By comparison, State Farm, the largest U.S. auto insurer by market share, has average monthly liability rates of $268 for drivers with DUIs.

The following table shows the range of monthly rates California drivers can find with a DUI on their records.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Saturday, June 1 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyIQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
Full CoverageLiability Only
Bristol West2.6653323
Anchor3.0355155
21st Century3.0653306
National General3.4488206
Dairyland3.5457165
Direct Auto3.6574243
Mile Auto3.716387
Mercury4.0243129
Farmers4.2528247
GEICO4.4495233
Nationwide4.4805377
Allstate4.4512241
Travelers4.5599282
State Farm4.6571268
USAA4.7371174
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.
  • Our editorial team spent 350 hours developing the Insurify Quality (IQ) Score and scoring insurance companies. The IQ Score objectively analyzes and calculates a score for insurers using more than 15 crucial criteria. Criteria are weighted by importance to the consumer — factors such as customer reviews and affordability influence the score more than availability and third-party ratings.

    We rate each company on a 1 to 5 scale based on five categories: financial ratings, customer satisfaction, affordability, customer support and transparency, and availability. We update ratings once a year or as more recent information becomes available.

    • Third-party financial ratings: We use data from AM Best, S&P, Moody's, and more to compare insurance companies’ credit and ability to pay out future claims.
    • Customer satisfaction: To calculate this score, Insurify analyzed more than 20,000 customer reviews across 155 car insurance companies. We also considered third-party ratings from J.D. Power, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and Trustpilot.
    • Affordability: Our data scientists analyzed more than 90 million real-time auto insurance rates from our partners across the United States, as well as available discounts, to calculate an affordability score.
    • Customer support and transparency: This measures coverage options, ease of claims filing, and the insurer's transparency surrounding discounts, coverages, and claims process.
    • Availability and reach: Insurify identified the number of states in which insurers offer coverage and company size by market share to score availability and reach.

How much does car insurance cost in California with a DUI?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol poses a significant risk to the driver, passengers, and other motorists on the road. When a driver receives a DUI or DWI conviction, insurance companies view them as much more likely to get into car accidents, which leads to higher claims and payouts for the insurance company. Auto insurers pass these potentially higher costs to the driver by way of higher premiums.

The table below compares monthly average costs of car insurance for California drivers with clean records to the averages for Golden State drivers with DUIs on their records.

Coverage TypeClean Driving RecordOne DUI% Increase After DUI
Liability only$130$17132%
Full coverage$264$34832%
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

What happens after you get a DUI in California?

Although it’s considered a misdemeanor offense, getting a DUI in California can have serious consequences. If the police pull you over, and your blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches or exceeds 0.08% (0.01% if you’re younger than 21), they can arrest and charge you with a DUI. The police officer will also immediately notify the department of motor vehicles (DMV).[3]

Your driving privileges will be suspended for a minimum of four months following your first DUI. At the end of the suspension period, you’ll have to pay a $125 fine and show proof of insurance to reinstate your driver’s license.[4]

Number of DUI ConvictionsFinesPenalties
First$390 to $1,000
  • 6-month license suspension from criminal court and 4-month administrative suspension from DMV (can overlap)
  • 3–5 years probation or 48 hours to 6 months jail time
Second$390 to $1,000
  • 2-year license suspension from criminal court and 12-month administrative suspension (can overlap)
  • 96 hours to 1 year in jail, but may be served on house arrest or in an alternative work program; probation for 3–5 years
Third or more$390 to $1,000
  • 3-year license suspension from criminal court and 12-month administrative suspension (can overlap)
  • Jail sentence of 120 days to 1 year; 3–5 years of probation

How long will a DUI remain on your record in California?

In California, a DUI conviction will remain on your record for 10 years from the violation date.[5] While that may seem like a long time if you struggle to find affordable car insurance, many other states also keep DUIs on drivers’ records for seven to 10 years or longer. In some states — including Massachusetts, Indiana, New Mexico, Vermont, and Maine — DUIs stay on driving records permanently.

Despite remaining on your record for a decade, your DUI won’t necessarily result in higher insurance rates for that whole period. For example, someone with a DUI conviction from seven years ago who has since had a clean record will likely pay lower rates than someone who received a DUI within the last year.

What penalties do underage drivers with a DUI face?

California has a “zero tolerance” policy for drivers younger than 21 who drive while impaired, meaning that any detectable amount of alcohol in their system can result in a DUI charge.

If a driver younger than 21 years of age is detained or arrested for a DUI and has a BAC of 0.01% or higher (or refuses to take a test), they’ll face license suspension or revocation.[6] As a result, their driver’s license will be:

  • Suspended for one year for a first offense

  • Revoked for two years for a second offense in 10 years

  • Revoked for three years for three or more offenses in 10 years

In addition to legal consequences, underage drivers with a DUI conviction may also face challenges when it comes to obtaining affordable car insurance. Insurance companies see underage drivers with a DUI as high-risk and may cancel their current policy or significantly raise their rates, making it difficult for them to find affordable coverage in the future.

Best DUI insurance companies in California

A DUI conviction on your record can make finding affordable car insurance in California difficult. While cheap rates are important, the insurer with the lowest prices might not be the best option for all drivers.

It’s a good idea to compare factors like available coverages, discounts, claims processing, and customer service when you look for an insurer after a DUI. Here are three of the best, most affordable options for California drivers with a DUI. Each will file an SR-22 for drivers required to have one.

Best insurer overall: Mercury

Compare personalized, real-time quotes
IQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
4.0
JD Power
J.D. Power data measures overall customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction based on a 1,000-point scale.
827
Liability Only
Liability-only insurance, sometimes called minimum-coverage insurance, pays for bodily injury and property damage to others in an accident the policyholder causes. It does not pay for the insured’s own damages.
$91/mo
Full Coverage
Full-coverage car insurance generally includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, and may include other optional coverages such as uninsured motorist coverage. Collision covers a policyholder’s repair or replacement costs in case of an accident. Comprehensive covers damages caused by non-accident events. The average quote displayed here reflects policies with the following coverage limits: $50,000 bodily injury liability per person; $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident; $50,00 property damage liability per accident; $1,000 collision deductible; and a $1,000 comprehensive deductible.
$171/mo

Mercury car insurance is a regional company that operates in just 11 states, including California. Although its rates aren’t the lowest in California for drivers with a DUI, they’re competitive. And the insurer’s optional coverages, like roadside assistance and rideshare insurance, and an array of discounts could make it an appealing option for drivers looking for savings and a higher level of coverage. Because Mercury also sells home, condo, and renters insurance, auto policyholders could realize significant savings from bundling.

Pros
  • Eight advertised discounts, including multi-policy and good student discounts

  • Competitive rates for California drivers with DUIs

Cons
  • Higher-than-average number of complaints with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)

  • Claims processing can be slow, some policyholders report

Read our Mercury review
Steven - June 11, 2024
Verified

Satisfied

Average.

David - June 10, 2024
Verified

Average Support

The customer service was good at making changes to a policy, but not at explaining why rates increased or decreased.

Jason - June 6, 2024
Verified

Rude and too expensive

Every time I have contacted customer service for any reason, from resetting my online password to adding a vehicle to the policy, they have been very rude. I'm paying them $400 a month, which is 100% profit for the company since I've never filed a claim in the 3 years I've been a customer. Yet, I get treated like I'm bothering them any time I've needed their assistance with something.

Best insurer for low-mileage drivers: Nationwide

Compare personalized, real-time quotes
IQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
4.4
JD Power
J.D. Power data measures overall customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction based on a 1,000-point scale.
815
Liability Only
Liability-only insurance, sometimes called minimum-coverage insurance, pays for bodily injury and property damage to others in an accident the policyholder causes. It does not pay for the insured’s own damages.
$238/mo
Full Coverage
Full-coverage car insurance generally includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, and may include other optional coverages such as uninsured motorist coverage. Collision covers a policyholder’s repair or replacement costs in case of an accident. Comprehensive covers damages caused by non-accident events. The average quote displayed here reflects policies with the following coverage limits: $50,000 bodily injury liability per person; $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident; $50,00 property damage liability per accident; $1,000 collision deductible; and a $1,000 comprehensive deductible.
$508/mo

Nationwide’s rates aren’t the lowest available for California drivers with a DUI, but its pay-per-mile program, SmartMiles, may bring costs down considerably for low-mileage drivers. The program charges a monthly base rate that starts at $60, plus 7 cents for every mile you drive in a month. A DUI will likely affect your base rate, but if you drive fewer miles than average each month, your variable costs could be comparatively low. Nationwide is a well-established company with nearly 100 years in business and has an AM Best financial strength rating of A.

Pros
  • Good array of optional coverages, including gap insurance

  • SmartMiles program offers savings opportunities for low-mileage drivers

Cons
  • Rates aren’t the lowest for California drivers with DUIs

  • Some discounts and programs aren’t available in every state

Read our Nationwide review
Huy - June 10, 2024
Verified

Excellent

Excellent

Bernadette - June 7, 2024
Verified

Very Patient and Understanding

They accommodate you if you have issues with paying your bill.

Dusty - June 4, 2024
Verified

My Experience

Pay on time and everything's great.

Best insurer for very high-risk drivers: National General

Compare personalized, real-time quotes
IQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
3.4
JD Power
J.D. Power data measures overall customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction based on a 1,000-point scale.
829
Liability Only
Liability-only insurance, sometimes called minimum-coverage insurance, pays for bodily injury and property damage to others in an accident the policyholder causes. It does not pay for the insured’s own damages.
$130/mo
Full Coverage
Full-coverage car insurance generally includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, and may include other optional coverages such as uninsured motorist coverage. Collision covers a policyholder’s repair or replacement costs in case of an accident. Comprehensive covers damages caused by non-accident events. The average quote displayed here reflects policies with the following coverage limits: $50,000 bodily injury liability per person; $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident; $50,00 property damage liability per accident; $1,000 collision deductible; and a $1,000 comprehensive deductible.
$308/mo

An Allstate company, National General specializes in insuring high-risk drivers. So if you’ve been turned down for coverage elsewhere due to a DUI, it may be worth applying with National General. In addition to filing an SR-22 on your behalf, National General offers standard coverages, like liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist. Optional coverages, like roadside assistance and auto protection plans, are also available. Drivers who download National General’s DynamicDrive app may get rewarded with lower rates if they practice safe driving habits.

Pros
  • Insures higher-risk drivers that may not be able to find coverage elsewhere

  • Numerous discounts available, including for DynamicDrive

Cons
  • Rates for California drivers with DUIs are merely average

  • High rate of customer complaints with the NAIC — six times higher than expected

Read our National General review
Yannika - June 3, 2024
Verified

Payment Increased Midway Through Policy

I was displeased when I was audited midway through my policy and my payment increased to three times what I was originally paying. I am not satisfied with this.

April - June 1, 2024
Verified

Got Cheaper Insurance

It's very upsetting that I was a loyal customer and they charged me $220 per month. I just got the same exact coverage for $75 per month. I highly do not recommend them.

Janice - May 31, 2024
Verified

Great Insurance Company

Good.

When you need an SR-22 insurance form

Not technically an insurance policy, an SR-22 certificate of insurance proves to the state that a driver has liability insurance coverage. Drivers who have had their license suspended or revoked due to a DUI conviction, reckless driving, or an at-fault accident without insurance typically need to file one.

Your insurance company will need to file the SR-22 form and send it to the DMV. The insurance company essentially confirms you have insurance and agrees to notify the DMV if you change vehicles, cancel your policy, let it lapse, or stop paying your premiums.

In California, drivers required to file an SR-22 must maintain it for at least three years. If you cancel your insurance or let your coverage lapse during this time, the state can immediately suspend your driver’s license.

In California, some insurance companies specialize in providing coverage for drivers who need an SR-22. You should shop around and compare car insurance quotes to find the best option for your needs and budget.

The Complete Guide to SR-22 Insurance

The Complete Guide to SR-22 Insurance

How to get cheaper car insurance with a DUI in California

Finding cheap auto insurance can be difficult after getting a DUI, but you can still take steps to find more affordable car insurance:

  • Maintain safe driving habits. A reliable way to qualify for more affordable coverage involves practicing safe driving habits. Avoiding additional traffic violations, such as speeding or reckless driving, can help improve your chances of finding better rates.

  • Utilize discounts. Many auto insurance companies offer discounts to help reduce premiums for policyholders. These discounts may include savings for bundling your home and auto policies, paying your premium in full, or equipping your vehicle with safety equipment or anti-theft features.

  • Take a defensive driving course. In California, you may be required to complete a three-month DUI school program as part of the terms of your probation. Taking this course or another defensive driving course may offer several benefits, including reducing the number of points on your driving record and decreasing your car insurance premiums. Before enrolling in any non-required class, contact your insurance company to see if a course will allow you to qualify for a rate reduction.

  • Compare quotes. Shop for quotes from different insurers to get the best rates available. Some insurers may offer more competitive rates or discounts to drivers with DUIs than others, so it pays to compare rates from multiple companies.

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California DUI car insurance FAQs

In addition to anxieties about increased premiums and potential difficulty finding coverage, you’ll likely have many questions when dealing with auto insurance after a DUI.

  • Will insurance cover your vehicle if you got a DUI in California?

    Not usually. Most auto insurance policies have exclusions for illegal activity and intentional acts, including a DUI conviction. If you cause injury or damage while driving under the influence, your insurance company likely won’t cover these costs. In fact, if you were driving while intoxicated, you may be personally responsible for any damage or injuries you caused yourself and others.

  • What is the best car insurance company for a DUI in California?

    Regional insurer Mercury offers some of the cheapest rates for California drivers with a DUI and has a strong IQ Score of 4.0. The insurer will file an SR-22 for drivers who need one and offers a respectable variety of coverage options and discounts, including for bundling with another Mercury insurance policy, such as homeowners or renters insurance. Mercury’s average monthly cost for full coverage is $243 for California drivers with a DUI and $129 for liability-only policies.

  • Do you need to let your auto insurer know if you get a DUI?

    Though not strictly required, you should call your insurer to tell them about your DUI and discuss whether they might choose to not renew your policy in case you need to find an affordable alternative.

    Most states don’t have laws requiring drivers to notify their insurance companies after a DUI, but that doesn’t mean your insurance company won’t find out about the DUI. Insurance companies typically have access to your driving record, which they may check periodically or prior to policy renewal. You may also need to contact your insurance company to get an SR-22, so it’ll find out about your DUI when you call to request one.

  • How much do car insurance rates increase after you get a DUI in California?

    A DUI in California pushes average monthly rates from $135 for minimum coverage and $277 for full coverage (what drivers with a clean record pay) to $200 and $411, respectively. Your increase may be higher or lower than those averages, depending on other factors, including the insurer.

  • Can your insurer cancel your coverage after a DUI?

    Yes, an insurer can choose not to continue covering you after a DUI. But in California, as long as you continue paying your premium, insurers can’t cancel your policy mid-term for a DUI (although other states allow this). But they can opt not to renew your policy at the end of the term. If this happens, you’ll need to find a new insurer before your current policy expires so that you can avoid a lapse in coverage.

Sources

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Alcohol and drugs."
  2. University of California Berkeley. "Transportation Injury Mapping System."
  3. State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. "California Driver's Handbook."
  4. State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. "Driving Under the Influence (DUI)."
  5. State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. "Retention of Driver Record Information."
  6. State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. "Immediate Driver License Suspension: Drivers Under Age 21 0.01% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Zero Tolerance."
Janet Berry-Johnson
Janet Berry-Johnson

Janet Berry-Johnson, CPA is a freelance writer with a background in accounting and income tax planning and preparation. She's passionate about making complicated financial topics accessible to readers. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and son and their rescue dog, Dexter. Visit her website at www.jberryjohnson.com.

Evelyn Pimplaskar
Edited byEvelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content
Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content
  • 10+ years in insurance and personal finance content

  • 30+ years in media, PR, and content creation

Evelyn leads Insurify’s content team. She’s passionate about creating empowering content to help people transform their financial lives and make sound insurance-buying decisions.

Featured in

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