A fine and driver’s license suspension are not the only negative effects of an underage DWI. Many insurance companies will cancel auto insurance coverage entirely. Whether you stay with your current insurance company or have to find a new insurer, the insurance rates you pay will spike sharply higher.

An industry-sponsored website, Auto Insurance Center, has published an informative article that discusses these effects, and what parents can do to minimize the financial consequences of a teen DWI.

First, let’s take a look at the numbers. After an underage DWI, the magnitude of the increase in insurance premiums depends on whether the minor is covered by a family policy or a separate policy:

  • If your child is covered under your policy, insurance premiums typically double – from perhaps $100 per month to $200 per month.
  • If your child has a separate policy, he or she will have to pay $500 to $800 per month for insurance coverage.

These are staggering figures. But it may be possible for you to take steps today that can minimize the problem.

What you can do before a teen DWI

The easiest solution is simply to not let your child drive. But this can make it difficult, if not impossible, for the teen to work, go on dates, and socialize with friends. If you allow your child drive, don’t let him or her purchase and take title to a vehicle. Instead, let your child drive the family car. Because your child is driving your car with your permission, he or she will still be covered. This is true even after your child turns 18, as long as he or she lives in your home. Also, don’t let your insurance agent insist on putting your child’s name on your auto insurance policy.

What you should do after a teen DWI

If your child has been arrested for underage DWI, you may still be able to avoid catastrophic increases in insurance rates.

In Texas, a significant number of DWI arrests do not result in convictions. If the police made a mistake before, during or after the traffic stop, it may be possible to get the charge dismissed or reduced to a nonalcohol traffic violation. And if this type of outcome can indeed be obtained, there may be little or no effect on insurance rates.

If your child has been arrested for drunk driving, speak with an experienced DWI defense attorney as soon as possible.