This article discusses How DUI Affect Your Insurance. Click on the links below to go directly to your topic of interest.
- How Does a DUI Affect Insurance Premium Amount
- Will a DUI Definitely Lead Up to Increased Insurance Rate
- How Long Will a DUI Affect the Insurance Cost
- Is It Necessary to Report About a DUI
- How Will Insurance Company Find Out About a DUI
- How to Avoid Possible DUI Insurance Increases
Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, commonly referred to as DUI and DWI, is one of the major causes of mortality among 15-29 year olds in Europe. In the United States it accounted for 31% of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2014. In California, there are around 200,000 arrests every year for alcohol-impaired driving. It may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, and the penalty varies from license suspension/revocation, probation or treatment program to county jail or state prison sentencing. Apart from the legal consequences, a driver has to deal with his auto insurance. One of the consequences of alcohol DUI or drugs DUI, is that the insurance company can cancel your insurance and or deny payment on policy if the DUI violates their policy terms. Here are some advices on how to deal with the insurance company after a DUI.
One of the common fears when facing DUI charges is that the insurance company will increase your premium. However, according to California insurance law, when you sign an agreement with your car insurance company, it agrees to provide insurance under certain conditions, and their policy must remain unchanged till the end of the specified term. It’s illegal to make any amendments midterm, thus your insurance rate stays fixed until the end of the contract validity.
After the expiration date your insurance carriers have the right to either set a new price or decline to renew your coverage. Reports show that average car insurance rate increases over 94% in the first year alone, and by the 2nd and 3rd year premiums on average are still over 63% higher. Often, upon renewal, the insurance company will also change coverage conditions so that certain coverage for damages and liabilities will be left out. Not all carriers like to deal with clients who have checkered pasts.
A DUI not necessarily causes changes in your premiums, though rather frequently it still does. Drunk driving charges is not the only factor to set higher premium costs. Insurance agents will weigh a number of conditions, such as:
- driver’s personal data, i.e. age, gender, marital status
- prior driving record and experience
- lapses in coverage
- previous and ongoing relations with car insurance company
- level of drunk driving offense and punishment measures, etc.
If you’re asked to submit a SR 22 document following your DUI arrest, you’ll often will be paying a higher rate for your car insurance as a “high risk” driver. However, because coverage conditions are very different among car insurance carriers even for drivers with DUI record, you are encouraged to call around for a better rate.
Each state establishes the period of a DUI record differently. In California alcohol DUI or drug DUI conviction will show up on your record for 10 years. Even though a DUI may remain on the criminal record for the rest of your life, insurance companies usually pay attention only to your state’s department of motor vehicle (DMV) record. After this 10-year period the DMV will remove not count this a DUI against you. After the 10 years your insurance rate will be same as a driver without a DUI on the record.
You are not required by the law to inform your insurance carrier about a DUI arrest. According to the Insurance Research Council, one of the five convictions for traffic related-offence never gets to the motor vehicle records, either because motor vehicle departments or courts fail to report the information. In addition, your can avoid rate increase associated with a DUI if you win your case or when the insurers miss the conviction, or when you are able to plea bargain your case to a different and lesser charge. However, because a DUI in California will stay on your record for 10 years, the insurance company has the entire time within this period to discover the conviction and increase your rate.
There are two possible ways for the insurers to find out about your DUI. First, the insurance company can find out about your DUI simply by checking your DMV record. It is a common practice for the insurance companies to request motor vehicle record check while you’re renewing your policy or applying for a new insurance. Secondly, when you ask for a SR 22 from your auto insurance carrier, the insurer might get suspicious and ran your DMV record as a matter of policy. The SR22 document is an insurance form produced by the insurance company that shows to the DMV that you meet the state’s minimum requirements for vehicle liability coverage. The DMV will request SR22 for the following reasons:
- Your driver’s license was suspended or canceled after a DUI conviction.
- You reinstate your driving privileges following an uninsured auto accident.
- You are deemed a “negligent operator” because you have bad driving record.
Though there are many reasons to ask for an SR 22 from your insurance company, you’ll still are might face difficulties explaining the reasons for your request. When requesting an SR22, the insurance company will learn about your DUI arrest and might retaliate against you by increasing your rate on renewal or canceling your policy.
The best way to avoid a DUI insurance rate increase is to fight your case so that you will not get a DUI conviction. If you can not avoid a DUI conviction, you can try to keep the insurance rate lower by doing the following:
- Do not volunteer information to your insurance company about a DUI arrest or conviction.
- Apply for a renew of your car insurance only close to the expiration of the policy period.
- Request a DMV hearing within the 10 day after being arrested, which could save the trouble of requiring a SR 22 document from your insurance company.
- Get your DUI charge reduced in a plea bargain.
- Shop for an insurance company with lower premium cost.
If you are facing a DUI case, please call Los Angeles DUI Attorney for free personal consultation about your case. Drunk Driving Defense Attorney can get the best result for you by negotiating a plea bargain offer that you will like or taking your case to a jury trial.
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