Car Insurance and Car Rental after a Michigan Drunk Driving or DUI Conviction

by baronedefensefirm on August 26, 2009

Many of our clients faced with the reality of an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) conviction have a substantial concern about the effect that a conviction will have on their auto insurance rates, and their ability to rent an automobile.  The purpose of this memo is to address those concerns as much as possible and provide our clients with a more clear understanding of what collateral consequences may arise after an OWI conviction.


What effect does an OWI conviction have on auto insurance rates and the ability of an individual to rent a vehicle?


Auto Insurance Rates 

After contacting many of Michigan’s large and small auto insurance companies it is this writer’s opinion that narrowing down exactly what changes will be made to an individual’s auto insurance rate after an OWI conviction is difficult, if not impossible, to do.  Nevertheless, it may be useful for our clients to understand what goes into an auto insurance quote and what the worst case scenarios may be after an OWI conviction.

When an auto insurance company underwrites an individual’s application for coverage they consider a wide range of variables in coming up with the yearly premium.  As a partial example, the individual’s gender, age, address, vehicle type, vehicle safety, vehicle age, credit history, marital status, occupation, claim history, as well as driving record all come into the calculation of the yearly premium.  For this reason it is difficult to predict the impact that an OWI conviction will have on an individual client.

However, it can be definitively said that an individual convicted of OWI will see some type of changes to their auto insurance coverage.  Rates could be increased from as little as 10%, to as much as 400% depending on the severity of the conviction and all of the other multiplying factors involved.  Our clients should carefully read their current policies and determine what, if any, the consequences of an OWI conviction will be on their specific policy.

In some instances the individual may be labeled a “High Risk Driver” and their insurance policy cancelled altogether or not renewed at the end of the current policy term.  At which point it would be necessary for that individual to contact an insurance company that specializes in covering “High Risk Drivers.”  As a “High Risk Driver” an individual can expect to pay substantially more for insurance coverage as many insurance companies will not insure a driver that has been convicted of OWI within the last three (3) years.  If an individual has a difficult time finding a company that is willing to insure them they should contact the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility and they will direct them to “High Risk” insurers.

Unfortunately, the nature of insurance underwriting makes it difficult to advise an individual of exactly how an OWI will impact his auto insurance policy.  It is clear though, that when an individual’s insurance company finds out about an OWI conviction, that individual can expect to have significant changes to his current policy.  Those changes may be in the form of a rate increase, or as drastic as an outright cancellation of the policy.  Therefore, it will always be in the best interest of our clients to delay their insurance company from finding out about the conviction as long as possible.  In other words, our clients should make every attempt to stay current and make no changes to their policy to avoid the insurance company checking their driving record and discovering the convictio

Car Rental

An OWI conviction can also have an effect on an individual’s ability to rent a car.  This can be of particular importance to clients that must rent vehicles as part of their employment.  Most rental companies have their policies posted on their website, and those policies are summarized in the attached spreadsheet.

As with the impact of an OWI conviction of insurance rates, it is clear that an individual’s ability to rent a vehicle will be impinged.  While many of the rental companies may decide to rent to the individual anyway, it is clear that all companies have reserved the right to deny a rental to someone recently convicted of an OWI.  It would be wise to contact the companies in advance, to determine if they will be eligible to rent in consideration of their driving record.


This post was written by...

– who has written 204 posts on Michigan Drunk Driving Lawyers.

Patrick T. Barone is the author on two books on DUI defense including the well respected two volume treatise Defending Drinking Drivers (James Publishing), and The DUI Book – A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding DUI Litigation in America. He is also the author of a monthly DUI defense column for the Criminal Defense Newsletter, published by Michigan’s State Appellate Defender’s Office. Mr. Barone is an adjunct professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School where he teaches Drunk Driving Law and Practice. He is also on the faculty of the Criminal Defense Attorney’s of Michigan’s Trial Lawyer’s College where he provides trial skills training to Michigan’s criminal defense practitioners. Mr. Barone lectures nationally on various DUI defense topics, and he has appeared in newspapers, on television and on radio as a drunk driving defense expert. Mr. Barone has been certified as an instructor and practitioner of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and has also attended a 24-hour certification course at National Patent Analytical Corporation (the manufacturer of the DataMaster) and has thereby been deemed competent by the manufacturer to operate, perform essential diagnostic verifications and calibration checks on the DataMaster. Mr. Barone is a Sustaining Member of College for DUI Defense. Mr. Barone is the principal and founding member of The Barone Defense Firm, whose practice is limited exclusively to defending drinking drivers. The Firm is headquartered in Birmingham, Michigan.

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