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How does a Wisconsin OWI affect auto insurance?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Driving under the influence in Wisconsin can affect more than just legal penalties. One area where its impact is noticeable is auto insurance.

When someone receives an OWI, his or her auto insurance rates typically skyrocket.

Higher premiums

Following an OWI, people often experience a notable increase in auto insurance premiums. Insurance companies view OWI convictions as red flags for risky behavior on the road. As a result, they adjust premiums to mitigate potential financial losses. These premium hikes can persist for several years, depending on the severity of the offense and the individual’s driving history. For some, the increased cost of insurance may become a financial burden. It can impact the ability to maintain coverage or afford other necessities.

SR-22 requirements

Those convicted of OWI may need SR-22 certificates as proof of financial responsibility. An SR-22 is a form that proves a driver has the minimum necessary auto insurance coverage. Courts often mandate this requirement as part of the OWI sentencing process. Failing to maintain an SR-22 can lead to further legal consequences. For example, it may lead to license suspension or revocation. Insurance companies may also charge higher premiums for policies that include SR-22 filings.

Long-term consequences

The impact of an OWI on auto insurance can extend beyond immediate financial implications. A conviction remains on a driving record for several years, influencing insurance rates during that time. Even after completing any mandated rehabilitation programs or probationary periods, individuals may still face elevated insurance premiums. This long-term effect serves as a reminder of the consequences of driving under the influence. It also underscores the importance of making responsible choices behind the wheel. reports that the average Wisconsin driver with a first-time OWI sees insurance rates rise by 46%, or an average of $527 per year. Many Wisconsin residents with drunk driving convictions find that they face elevated insurance rates for about five years after a conviction.