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When a law enforcement officer stops your car and suspects you have been drinking, you may have to submit to a breath test. Depending on circumstances, you may wind up facing an operating while intoxicated charge, and if it leads to a conviction, it may cost you a considerable sum.

In addition to having to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and finance other expenses relating to your arrest and conviction, reports that your insurance rates almost always rise after you have an OWI in your driving history. How much of an insurance increase should you anticipate in the wake of an OWI conviction?

A Notable Rate Increase

The average Wisconsin motorist who gets his or her first OWI conviction sees annual insurance premiums increase by 46%. If you had a fairly typical driving record prior to your OWI charge, you may have paid somewhere in the ballpark of about $1,147 a year for full insurance coverage.

After that OWI conviction, though, your annual premium may inch closer to $1,674 per year, which makes for an annual difference of $527. You may, too, have to pay the elevated rate for about five years.

The Argument for Shopping Around

Each insurance company has its own way of determining premiums. So, it may benefit you to secure quotes from several different companies once you have an OWI. Sometimes, the insurer that offers the most favorable rate when you do not have an OWI conviction is not the same company to do so afterward.

You may also find that your current insurer no longer wants to cover you once you have an OWI conviction. In this scenario, you may want to get quotes from two or three other companies before deciding to sign on with one.