Figuring out the cost of your Alcohol Interlock Device can be difficult when there are so many types of fees being thrown around. It doesn't help that fees are based on state, provider, and type of vehicle. The rough cost for an entire program of 6 months including removal will range from $1,300 - $1,700. In this article we'll try to break down all the costs so that you know which questions to ask.
Pay once and strike off the list.
This will be the greatest upfront cost for you. Make sure to consider whether your vehicle has any features which may increase the difficulty of installing an alcohol interlock. Non-standard, hybrid, and push to start vehicles are subject to higher installations costs.
At the end of each program, you'll be wanting to get your interlock removed. This is where you can get taken by surprise, because not many people think this far ahead at the start of their program.
Most people won't have to transfer their interlock to another vehicle during their program, but it does happen occasionally. If your vehicle's been struggling for a while, or maybe if your relationship with the vehicle's owner has been struggling, ask about this just in case.
These are fees you must pay every month, so you'll want to multiply this by the length of your program (typically 6, but this can be extended indefinitely).
This is the fee that your service provider charges for a) leasing the interlock equipment and technology and b) your regular service including recalibration, downloading user data, and transmitting that data to state authorities. These two costs are usually folded together into your service/lease fee, which is paid at each service. Sometimes this will also include a fee collected on behalf of the state.
These ones are the fees for situations that arise from breaking the conditions of your program, even unintentionally (see blog post: Never clock a false reading again).
When your device records a certain amount of violations (bad behaviour), it will begin a seven-day countdown. Before this countdown expires, you must attend an unscheduled service. If the countdown expires your device will lockout and your engine will not start.
If your device locks out then your only options will be to either have your car towed to the nearest service centre, or to call your interlock provider for a temporary unlock code. Temporary unlock codes will allow you to drive a car that has been locked out for 6 hours, so that it can be brought to a service centre for an unscheduled service. Because of legislation, you won't find any difference between service providers on the cost of an unlock code.
If you hold a valid and current concession card then you're probably eligible for a concession discount. The discount you receive will depend on your state. Just remember to bring your current concession card and let your service centre know that you're eligible for the concession discount.