Nobody intentionally plans to be arrested for driving under the influence. However, according to the Insurance Information Institute, there is a drunk driving fatality occurring somewhere in this country every forty-five minutes. Those are alarming statistics that communities and law enforcement agencies are desperate to bring down.
Part of that reduction strategy involves imposing hefty fines, classes, jail time and community service on those offenders even for a first DUI offense. The goal is to convince you not to make the same mistake twice. Unfortunately, automobile insurance companies will not be as forgiving.
Heavy increases in premiums
If you have been convicted of a DUI then you can anticipate a heavy increase in your automobile insurance premiums. The minimum increase could be doubling your rates yet some companies will also triple your rates.
You might think that you can shop around for a better rate on your DUI insurance but you will be hard pressed to find a lot of options. The bottom line is that with a DUI conviction you are now considered a liability and you’ll have to pay for that until your record is clear.
Many states require persons who have been convicted of a DUI to obtain a SR-22 form from their auto insurers. This is proof you have liability insurance. You will need the SR-22 form if you want to get your license back and be allowed to drive again.
Not every automobile insurance company offers SR-22 policies. In fact, they are under no obligation to do so. That means if your state requires you to get that form but your insurance company doesn’t carry that policy, your coverage can and will be dropped. Such companies as AAA, AllState and Geico don’t offer these policies.
The SR-22 form policies vary from state to state. For instance, Delaware, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania don’t require SR-22 insurance if you are convicted of a DUI. You will probably still face huge rate increases. However, if you are convicted of a DUI in a state that does require SR-22 and move to these other states, you still need to maintain the policy. New York and North Carolina are the only states who don’t require any SR-22 filings at all.
When you are convicted of a DUI, it goes onto your DMV record. An insurance company can only review your DMV record once every three years. You might think that your conviction can slip through the cracks of the red tape and not be picked up by your insurance company but that’s a very rare occurrence.
Typically, a DUI conviction stays on your record for anywhere between 3 to 5 years and in some states it is there permanently. If you are acquitted of a DUI then the record is removed.
Rates may fall over time
Over time, as your driving record remains clean you may find that your auto insurance company could begin to lower your premiums. That’s certainly an important factor for any policy holder to consider when shopping for an auto insurance company. It goes without saying that the best way to avoid the pitfalls of DUI insurance is not to put yourself in a DUI situation to begin with. Drive smart and drive safe.