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Auto Insurance Options After A DUI Conviction

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Getting a DUI is a serious offense, and outside of major injury or death, it is one of the worst things that can happen to a driver on the road. The consequences can also be unbelievably expensive. Besides the legal fees, jail time and license suspension, there will be other long-term effects, including the negative impact on your car insurance premiums. Your premiums will go up once your insurer finds out about the DUI—you can count on it. Fortunately, there may still be ways to obtain an affordable auto insurance quote after a DUI conviction.

Once your insurer finds out about the DUI, there are two actions it can take. Normally, your rates will go up; however, your insurance company may choose to cancel your policy outright. In the case where the insurer simply raises your premiums, you will be classified as a high risk. This classification will be hard to remove and will come along with some of the highest premiums on the market. If your policy is canceled, you will be effectively black-listed, and few other insurers will consider offering you a new policy. Driving without insurance after a DUI conviction is probably the most dangerous course of action because most states will suspend your license, and may even charge you with additional criminal offenses, if you lack the necessary proof of insurance.

One DUI may or may not result in a high risk classification. Multiple DUIs, or a DUI along with other moving violations, certainly will. Once classified as a high risk, there’s not much you can do about it. You’ll pay a high premium and be able to secure only the minimum liability insurance required by law.

While a DUI will stay on your criminal record permanently unless expunged, most car insurers will only look at your state DMV records when making decisions about insurance applications. Once the DUI is cleared from the DMV records, your rates should return to normal as long as you haven’t accrued other accidents or violations in the interim. How long this process takes varies from state to state. In some states, your record may be cleared in as short as five years, while other states may keep the record active for 10 years or more.

Thus, whether you end up labeled a high risk driver and how long the DUI remains on your record will depend on your insurer and your state. While your car insurance premiums will most likely increase substantially after your DUI, there is still a chance that you will be able to retain your original policy (at an increased price) or receive an auto insurance quote from a provider willing to work with you.

Drunk Driving Effects On Car Insurance

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Thinking about driving home after knocking a couple back at the bar? Think again. Drinking and driving can not only have devastating effects on yourself and other drivers, it can wreak havoc on your insurance premiums; making it almost impossible in some instances to even become insured. Whether your state call it driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, if you are convicted of drunk driving you can expect your insurance rates to rise. But how much of an effect will it have?

It Varies.

One of the biggest effects a drunk driving conviction has on your insurance premiums has a lot to do with the state you live in. At the very least you can expect to have your driving privileges suspended for 30 days for a first offense and even longer for a second or third. Some states even require mandatory jail time. After the suspension period many states will require you to give your licensing agency an SR-22 form which proves that you carry the policy. The insurance agency is also required to inform the state if your insurance in suspended or cancels at any time. SR-22 insurance involves a lot more hassle for your insurer and can be very expensive.

How Expensive?

When you file an SR-22 form with your insurance company you will automatically be considered high-risk. If you have been convicted of drunk driving even a previous preferred status with your insurance company will not save you. If you are able to keep your present insurance company you can expect to pay at least double, if not triple, what you previously paid for insurance premiums. Many auto insurance companies refuse to carry SR-22 insurance policies, however, and in this case you will have to look for a new insurer and expect to pay even more because you now have a cancellation on your record as well.

When Will It End?

Like driving and insurance laws, every state is different when it comes to how long the effects of a drunk driving conviction will stay on your record. Generally, you can expect it to affect your insurance premiums for your first offense and even longer for subsequent infractions. Other states also incorporate enhanced penalties for circumstances where another person was injured, underage drinking, an exceptionally high blood alcohol level or when a child was in the vehicle.

The easiest way to avoid these issues is to not drink and drive. Unfortunately, everyone makes mistakes and if you have been convicted of drunk driving you may want to consider public transportation or walking. Even if you do not own a vehicle you are still required to purchase a non-owner policy and have an SR-22 form on file. Does it seem like a big hassle? Use a designated driver or call a taxi if you have been drinking. A 20 dollar cab ride is a cheaper alternative than years of fines and high premiums.

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