How much is car insurance after a DUI?

Last Updated: Feb 2021 | Categories: Car Insurance

Man driving car while holding phone

Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a serious and dangerous offence. Not only does it put lives in danger, including your own, it will also affect your driving record and insurance premiums for years to come if you’re charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence).

A question people commonly ask is how much their car insurance price will increase because of a DUI. This is a bit of a loaded question as insurance prices are based on a number of factors, such as driving experience, insurance history, the year, make and model of your vehicle, where you live, etc. There is not one set “DUI insurance price” – each person’s price will be different based on these factors.

We’ve outlined the answers to a number of frequently asked questions about impaired driving laws in Nova Scotia and setting up insurance after getting a DUI below.

Frequently Asked Questions - DUIs and Insurance in Nova Scotia

How do impaired driving laws in Nova Scotia work? What are the legal BAC (blood alcohol content) limits?

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is illegal. Getting caught driving with blood alcohol content (BAC) over a certain limit will result in fines and a license suspension.

  • Newly licensed drivers are not permitted any alcohol at all in their system. If they are caught with a BAC over 0.00 they will lose their license and must start their graduated license (GDL) again from the beginning.
  • If you are caught with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08, your license is immediately suspended for 24 hours and additional fines may apply.
  • If you are caught with a BAC over 0.08, your license is immediately suspended for 90 days and additional fines may apply.
  • Note: you can get a DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08. Alcohol affects people differently, and you can still be considered impaired while under the legal limit.

Drivers and passengers are also not allowed to consume drugs or alcohol in a vehicle, whether or not it is moving. If you are carrying any alcohol in your car, it must be in a closed, sealed package and out of reach from anyone in the vehicle. Your best bet is to keep all alcohol in the trunk of your vehicle.

Remember that alcohol is not the only substance considered when driving under the influence – illegal substances, marijuana, and even some prescription medications can impair your ability to drive and result in a DUI.

How does driving impaired affect your ability to operate a vehicle?

Here are a few of the ways impaired driving affects your ability to operate a vehicle:

  • Affects motor skills
  • Slows reaction time
  • Impairs short term memory and concentration
  • Causes drivers to vary speed and to wander
  • Reduces the ability to make decisions quickly or handle unexpected events
What are the fines for drinking and driving in Nova Scotia?

There are some hefty fines and penalties in place if you are convicted of drinking and driving. Here is the breakdown.

First offence:

  • Fine of $600-$2000
  • License suspension for 1 year
  • Completion of an addiction/dependency program at your own cost ($455)
  • License reinstatement fee at your own cost ($124.60)

Second offence:

  • Fine of $600-$2000
  • Possible prison term of at least 14 days
  • License suspension for 3 years
  • Completion of an addiction/dependency program at your own cost ($455)
  • License reinstatement fee at your own cost ($124.60)
  • Requirement to re-take driver’s tests

Third offence:

  • Fine of $600-$2000
  • Prison term of at least 90 daysIndefinite license suspension (minimum 10 years)
  • Completion of an addiction/dependency program at your own cost ($455)
  • License reinstatement fee at your own cost ($124.60)
  • Requirement to re-take driver’s tests

Fourth offence:

  • Permanent license suspension in addition to penalties listed above

CHEEP TIP: If you refuse a breathalyzer without a reasonable excuse, the courts will find you guilty. Can you think of a good excuse to refuse a breath sample? We can’t either, so you’re always better off taking the test.

How much does my insurance go up after a DUI?

Many insurance companies will not offer a new policy to someone who has had a DUI in the past 3-5 years. This means that you will only have a couple of insurance companies to choose from, and their prices are probably going to be quite high. Since prices vary based on your other personal details, there’s not a set amount or percentage your policy will go up by because you have a DUI. You will need to call an insurance broker to get a quote.

The good news is that Cheep Insurance works with almost all of the insurance companies in Nova Scotia, so we can insure you no matter what your driving history looks like. Depending on how recently you received your DUI, or if you’ve also had other convictions or accidents, you may only be eligible for a policy through the Facility Association. The Facility Association offers high-risk car insurance for drivers with any combination of convictions, accidents, or license suspensions on their record, which make them ineligible for other insurance policies. The other good news is that Cheep Insurance has some of the most flexible payment plans, and can offer a monthly payment plan even if you’ve had previous cancellations.

What is an interlock device? How can an interlock device help me get my license back sooner after a DUI?

If you’ve lost your license because of a DUI, you may be eligible to have an interlock device installed in your vehicle in order to get your license back sooner. An interlock device is like a breathalyzer for your car – before it will start, the driver has to blow into the device to check their blood alcohol level. To find out if you are eligible, you’ll need to first contact Access Nova Scotia and go through their application process. It is called the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program (AIIP) and you can find more info here:

If you have enrolled in the interlock program and are setting up an insurance policy, you will need to send your broker a copy of the paperwork showing the device is installed.

DON’T FORGET: Make sure you have made your appointment to install the interlock before you set up your insurance policy. If you set up the policy and can’t get the interlock installed in time, your policy will be cancelled, which means even more fees and costs to set up a new policy.

How long does a DUI stay on my driving record?

An impaired driving ticket, whether for alcohol or cannabis, is always visible on your driving record. It will typically affect your insurance price and policy eligibility for at least 5 years, and up to 10 years, depending on the insurance company.

How do I set up insurance after my DUI?

If you have an impaired driving conviction and you’re looking to set up an insurance policy, give us a call at 1-866-922-4337 or request a quote online and we’d be happy to put together a quote for you!

More resources on impaired driving

Here are some additional links and resources: