Being convicted of DUI at any age has many negative effects. But for a minor, these effects can be especially severe. In addition to a criminal record, a fine, and a driver's license suspension, the minor will face the prospect of sharply higher insurance premiums. The insurer may cancel insurance coverage entirely, even if the minor is covered under a family policy.
An article published on the insurance industry website Auto Insurance Center provides valuable information on the effects on insurance coverage after an underage DUI. It also outlines measures parents can take to minimize the potential financial impact of a teen DUI.
These are some of the most important points discussed in the article:
- After a DUI, a minor with a separate insurance policy could see his or her insurance premiums increase to $500 - $800 per month. This could make it financially prohibitive for the minor to drive.
- If a minor is listed on the family auto insurance policy, the monthly insurance premium could double or even triple.
- According to one independent insurance agent quoted in the article, about half of insurance companies will drop coverage entirely after an underage DUI.
How to minimize the financial impact of an underage DUI
Of course, the best way to avoid the legal and financial effects of a teen DUI is to not let your child drive your vehicles. But this could make it difficult, if not impossible for your child to work, attend school events or date.
If you decide to let your child drive the family car, leave his or her name off your policy. As long as the child lives in your home, he or she can drive and still be covered. But if your child has title to a vehicle, he or she will have to have a separate insurance policy - and face significantly higher insurance premiums than an adult, even if your child has a perfect driving record. If your child does need separate transportation, keeping the vehicle's title in your name can minimize insurance premiums.
What if your child has already been arrested for underage DUI?
Keep in mind that a significant percentage of DUI arrests in Colorado do not result in a conviction. And if an underage DUI charge is dismissed or reduced to a nonalcohol driving offense, there will be little, if any, effect on insurance rates.
If your child has been arrested for DUI, seek counsel from an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.