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The consumer advocacy site NerdWallet has done a study on the effect a drunk driving conviction will have on your insurance rates in this country, and the results may surprise you –especially when it comes to Houston.

According to the NerdWallet report, there were 10,322 alcohol-related crash deaths in the U.S. in 2012 alone, and Houston had the most fatal alcohol-related crashes in the nation between 2010 and 2012.

Even so, the financial costs of DUIs in Houston are nowhere near as high as some other cities.

Insurance premiums in Houston only increase by an average of 60 percent as a result of a DUI, compared to more than 139 percent in Los Angeles, for example.

That means a good driver paying $1,300 a year for insurance would pay just under $2,100 after getting a DUI.

Drivers in Greensboro, N.C., saw the biggest jump with a 159 percent increase, meaning an average driver would go from $812 a year to $2,100.

And be glad you don’t live in Detroit, where an average driver pays $5,200 dollars a year for car insurance — before a DUI. Afterwards, the premium will cost you $11,000.

Drivers in some cities are disproportionately affected by these costs. For example, you are more likely to encounter a drunk driver in Tulsa, Oklahoma, than in San Francisco, California. Even so, the cities with the highest number of fatal alcohol-related vehicle crashes per capita aren’t the cities where drivers see the steepest auto insurance increases after receiving a DUI.

Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NerdWallet analyzed the 150 largest U.S. cities and found the places with the most fatal alcohol-related car accidents per capita. We also used NerdWallet data to find the average car insurance premium increase drivers will have to pay after receiving a DUI. At the national level, we found no correlation between cities with high rates of fatal crashes involving alcohol and cities where drivers experience steep car insurance increases after they receive DUIs.

Key findings:

  • Six of the 10 cities with the most fatal alcohol-related car crashes per capita are cities where drivers see relatively lower car insurance rate increases after they receive DUIs.
  • The national average annual car insurance premium increase after receiving a DUI is 75.3% a year. However, the range of percentage increase varies greatly. For example, drivers in San Bernardino, California, see a 135.06% increase each year, but drivers in Omaha, Nebraska, see a 3.76% increase.
  • The national average dollar increase for insurance premiums after a DUI is $857.53 a year, but the extra cost can range from $5,996.20 in Detroit, Michigan, to $45.26 in Omaha, Nebraska.
For a full ranking of the 150 cities analyzed in this study and to download the raw data, click here.

In a list of cities with the most alcohol-related fatal crashes per capita, Houston ranked 22nd out of 150. NerdWallet’s report shows we had the highest number of alcohol-related fatal crashes (247) between 2010 and 2012, which is 0.1172 fatal DUI-related crashes per 1,000 residents.

The city with the next-highest number of fatal DUI-related crashes was Jacksonville, Fla., with 108.

CLICK HERE to see NerdWallet’s complete report and the cities with the most alcohol-related fatal crashes per capita.

DUIs, Deaths and Insurance: Houston Among ‘Most Dangerous Cities’  was originally published on

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