A DUI conviction upends your life. You will likely lose your license for at least several months, possibly longer. You may have to install an interlock ignition device on your car, which is a breathalyzer connected to the ignition. Before the vehicle can start, the driver must breathe into the device to show they have not consumed alcohol. Plus, you must pay for the installation of the interlock device and are charged monthly monitoring fees.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions drivers have after a DUI conviction:
1. Will My Insurance Company Deny Coverage for the Accident?
Depending on your state and insurance company, coverage for the accident in which you were convicted of the DUI may be denied. Auto insurance policies do not cover accidents caused intentionally, and the insurance company may claim that drinking and driving is an intentional act.
Consider hiring an attorney.
2. Will My Insurance Company Cancel My Coverage?
It is possible your insurance company will cancel your coverage after a DUI. Some insurance companies do not cover high risk drivers. Anyone with a DUI conviction falls in the high risk category.
However, if you fail to tell them about your DUI, it virtually guarantees cancellation of your insurance. Keep in mind that your insurer cannot drop you immediately upon learning about the DUI. Instead, once your policy expires, it is not renewed.
Your insurance company will find out about the DUI from your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you did not inform them about the DUI and your coverage is canceled, you may be in for a surprise. If you have let your coverage laps and you are ready to obtain new insurance down the road, you will end up paying higher premiums.
Stay on top of things, and don’t let your coverage lapse after a DUI conviction.
3. What is an SR-22 Form?
After a DUI conviction, you may have to file an SR-22 form with your state. Although the form is often referred to as SR-22 insurance, it is not actual insurance. Instead, it is a form filed by your insurance company with the state’s DMV confirming that you carry the minimum required liability insurance. If you cancel your insurance, your insurance company must notify the DMV immediately.
Not all states require SR-22 forms. When you are required to file the SR-22 also depends on state law. In some states, the filing is required right away, even if your license is suspended, while in others, no filing is needed until your license is active again.
Check your state’s law to learn if and when you need to file an SR-22 through your DMV.
4. How Much Can I Expect My Insurance Rates to Rise?
How much your insurance rates will rise after a DUI depends on several factors. Much depends upon your insurance company. The percentage of increase after a DUI conviction for major insurance companies generally ranges from 33 percent to 125 percent. Note that some increases are much higher.
In a best-case scenario, you can expect to pay a third more in premiums. A worst-case scenario will see your costs more than double. On average, insurance rates rise by about 80 percent.
After a DUI conviction, shop around to obtain the best insurance rates possible. Check out how much insurance would cost without a DUI on your record, and learn about the amount you must pay because of the conviction.
Always tell a new insurance company about your DUI. You cannot hide it from them as they pull your driving record to prepare a quote. What’s more, if you hide the fact that you have a DUI, the insurance carrier is unlikely to cover you. Should the insurance carrier only find out about your DUI later on, expect a voiding of the policy.
Be honest with your insurance provider to avoid further consequences.
5. Is There Any Way to Lower My Premium After a DUI?
There are ways to lower your premium after a DUI conviction. Consider whether you can raise your deductible to lower your insurance rate. Keep in mind that you must pay more out-of-pocket for repairs in case of an accident in this scenario.
If your car is older, think about dropping comprehensive and collision coverage. Note that that is not an option if your vehicle is leased or financed; the lessor or lender requires this insurance.
You may prove eligible for discounts even after a DUI conviction. Consider bundling your home and car insurance policies to save money. While a DUI is going to prevent you from receiving certain discounts, you should still qualify for others.
Ask your insurance carrier where you can save.
6. How Long Will a DUI Affect My Insurance Rates?
The bad news is that a DUI stays on your driving record permanently. The good news is that it should not affect your insurance rates for the rest of your life.
A DUI will raise your insurance rates for at least three years. Depending on the severity of the offense, rates could remain high for five years or more. After that, however, you should find coverage at lower rates granted that you don’t experience other traffic violations.
Depending on where you live, it is possible that a DUI will prevent you from receiving particular discounts for a specified period. For example, a good driver discount may not prove available for a decade after a DUI conviction under some state regulations.
Check with your insurance provider about their specific rules.
7. What is High Risk Auto Insurance?
After a DUI conviction, you’ll find yourself in the high risk category when it comes to auto insurance. Look for an insurance company specializing in providing affordable auto insurance for high risk drivers. The provider will also take care of your SR-22 filing for you and similar state-required filings such as the FR-44 form mandated in Florida and Virginia. Under the law, anyone convicted of drunken driving must carry more than the minimum required amount of liability insurance. The state-specific forms show that you are carrying the necessary limits.
At The General®, we offer the best rates possible for high risk drivers, including those with multiple DUIs.