DUI Car Insurance: Finding Affordable Coverage
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, car insurance can be extremely challenging and expensive to find. In addition to finding a non-standard insurance policy, you’ll need to file an SR-22 as proof of continuing future insurance. Of course, the best way to avoid all this hassle is to avoid drunk driving in the first place. If you’ve already made that mistake however, here are some steps to take to get car insurance after your DUI.
Go to Court
If you have the resources, invest in a skilled attorney to represent you in court. Someone who is experienced at handling DUI cases can fight to minimize your sentence, which will likely result in lower insurance rates. A talented attorney may be expensive, but so is car insurance after a DUI should you choose not to hire one.
Create a New Image
After being convicted of a DUI, make the decision to be responsible in the future. You need to prove to insurance companies that you can be trusted not to make the same mistake again. Work toward creating a new image of a responsible driver by taking extra courses at a DMV approved traffic school. If part of your DUI sentence involves community service, approach it with a good attitude, and see if you can get a reference letter from the overseeing officer. Proving your dedication to being a responsible driver from now on may help you find more companies willing to insure you, as well as lower car insurance quotes.
Search for Insurance Providers
Try contacting your previous insurance provider, or use the internet to search for a new one. When speaking to potential providers, emphasize your new attitude towards being responsible. Be courteous and professional while collecting price quotes. You need to find a provider which can quickly give you an SR-22 policy, so be sure to inquire about the procedure for getting one.
Once you’ve chosen a car insurance provider which can give you an SR-22 form and insurance for what is hopefully a reasonable price, that provider can guide you through the process of setting up your new car insurance.
Reinstate your Driver’s License
Being convicted of a DUI may or may not have resulted in the suspension of your driver’s license. You need to file an SR-22 policy with the DMV in order to have your license reinstated. Your insurance provider can supply you with the form to be taken in to your local DMV.
Another option for getting insured after a DWI conviction is through a state-sponsored Assigned Risk Program. California, New York and Pennsylvania are just some of the states with Assigned Risk, which is designed to help drivers who have been denied coverage to get insurance. Many participating states include information about this alternative insurance program on their DMV websites.
Car Insurance and DUI Consequences
If you are convicted of a DUI, aside from arrest, fines, fees and license suspension, you also have, at the very least, a raise in car insurance prices to look forward to. Insurance companies almost always find out about a DUI, and consequently label you a high-risk driver. Insurance companies must provide a SR-22 form to the state that indicates you are insured. This, in itself, will raise your rates. In some states, insurers may raise the premiums of a driver convicted of a DUI by as much as 400 percent.
Many insurers do not offer SR-22’s, in which case you will be dropped from their ranks of insured drivers. Either that, or your policy will not be renewed when it expires. This forces you to find an auto insurer that does offer SR-22’s, but it is almost always at a higher price because you are deemed to be of a higher risk.
If your policy is cancelled due to a DUI, it is doubly disadvantageous. Not only is there a DUI on your record, but there is an insurance cancellation as well. You can still find insurance, but it will be more expensive, and you will no longer be a preferred customer.
It is possible, although not probable, that your insurance company will not detect your DUI conviction. The information is not sent automatically to insurers. Rather, they must request it, and they usually do so when checking a driving record. Car insurance companies check driving records whenever a policy is up for renewal, a new policy is purchased, or a driver changes companies. Your DUI may slip through the cracks of the insurance company, but don’t count on it.
How to Get Cheap Car Insurance for DUI Drivers
Finding cheap car insurance for drivers with bad driving records is a very challenging task. Expect a raise in your rates. The average raise in rates is about $7,500, which is an incredible increase.
Win your Case
Do whatever you can to get the most minimum sentence. Hire a good DUI attorney, because you will need it. You probably will not “win” the case, as in a dismissal, but you can try to get the least serious charge and request community service. The less severe the court penalty, the less severe the insurance hits will be. One problem with a conviction is that for as long as it stays on your record, it affects your insurance. In most states it’s 10 years, but some, like Florida, are as high as 75 years.
An SR-22 is required for DUI or DWI convicted drivers. It serves as proof of insurance. You must do this, but it will automatically notify your insurance company you have a DUI.
Get Your New Quote
It is time to get your Raleigh DUI insurance quote. Hopefully, your original provider can at least give you a quote, instead of simply dropping your insurance coverage. Once you get a quote, it is time to get it reduced. The more rehabilitation you undergo, and the more references you can receive from any community service you perform, the better you will look in the eyes of the insurance companies. The better you look, the faster you will clear your record and get lower prices for insurance.
This is the most important part in the process to get cheap insurance. Take advantage of every little discount they offer. First is a defensive driving course. This 5 hour program teaches safe driving techniques, and is good for an insurance reduction of at least 10 percent (some states as high as 20 percent). That will be your largest discount available. You can also get multiple policies from the same company for other things you own, such as your house and boat. The same concept is a family plan, where you get multiple people on one plan, and that is much cheaper than having a few different separate plans. Another discount available is having a safe car, both in accidents and for anti-theft. Installing safety features like sensors and alarms lower your likelihood of having your car stolen. Having a car with electronic stability control makes the car much safer.
In order to have your drivers’ license suspension lifted, you need to send proof of auto insurance to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state. To prove that you are in fact insured, your insurance company must file an SR-22 form with the DMV.
What is the Timeframe Involved?
A DUI conviction immediately places you in the high risk category, which will increase your insurance premiums. As each state has its own rules with regards to the duration of a DUI on your record, you will have to continue paying a high DUI auto insurance premium up until the conviction is off your record, after which your premiums will return to normal again.
The timeframe during which you are charged DUI auto insurance rates depends on the insurance provider’s policy, as well as your state’s laws. Each state has rules regarding how long a DUI conviction remains on your record. Once the conviction is off your record, your insurance premiums will go back down.
How do I get my License Reinstated?
You need an SR-22 policy to get your license reinstated. A SR-22 policy is also sometimes the only way to get your license back if it has been suspended due to too many outstanding parking tickets, or even failure to pay child support.
How do I get a SR-22 Policy?
In order to get an SR-22 policy, contact your insurance company to inquire about SR-22 auto insurance.
What if my Insurance Company does not have a SR-22 policy?
Many insurance companies do not offer an SR-22 policy. You need to contact a licensed SR-22 insurance broker to obtain this type of insurance.
How long do I need to have a SR-22 policy?
After getting your SR-22 policy, you need to carry it for at least 3 years, without allowing your policy to be terminated, cancelled or lapsed. Once you have obtained SR-22 auto insurance, you will be issued a certificate, which you need to carry with you at all times.
3 years from the date your SR-22 policy was issued, your driving privileges will be reinstated.
When a Spouse Gets the DUI
Even if it’s your spouse who has the conviction, it will affect your insurance if you’re both on the same policy. Being found guilty of driving under the influence is bad for everyone in the family.
In some instances, this can lead to cancellation of the insurance policy or non-renewal. At the very least, it means that rates will rise dramatically.
They’ll stay high for a number of years, usually between 3 years and 5 years. Since most families share an insurance policy for automobiles, that means your insurance will go up, too. That increase can be huge.
What to Do
Start by giving your insurance broker a call. If you work directly with an insurance company and not a broker, call the company. Tell them about your spouse’s DUI and ask for a review of your insurance. Ask questions. Learn how DUI auto insurance works, and what impact it will have financially.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to obtain what’s known as an exclusion on your car insurance. This isn’t available in all states, so you need to check with your insurance company. It’s a way of protecting you from DUI auto insurance rates when you’ve done nothing wrong. It allows you to have your spouse’s name taken off your auto insurance. This means you’ll keep on paying the rate you always paid.
Where an exclusion isn’t possible, you have no choice but to accept paying higher rates because of your spouse’s conviction. The DUI auto insurance rates will affect you all.
If you’re able to obtain an exclusion, your spouse will be left without auto insurance. That means they’ll have to obtain DUI auto insurance, which will cost a great deal. Still, this will end up being a great deal less than paying inflated premiums for everyone in the family, especially if there’s also a young driver on the policy. Your spouse should still be able to obtain insurance, either in a special policy from the same carrier, or from another insurance company.
What to Avoid
Make sure your spouse doesn’t drive until he or she has insurance. If they do so and are caught, it will result in a longer suspension of their license and another fine. Also, if your spouse is driving without insurance and with your knowledge, the company will probably cancel your policy, too.
Getting a DUI is a stain on both your criminal and driving record. It is not uncommon for a person to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees, state fines and increased car insurance premiums after a DUI–and that is only if no one is injured. There will be consequences to pay in terms of car insurance coverage if you get a DUI, whether it is drastically increased rates or outright cancellation.
For more information about DUI insurance, give ACF Insurance a call at 919-878-7786 today!