DUI and Auto Insurance – Will it Go Up?

A DUI, also known as, driving under the influence is a serious offense. If you have had the unfortunate experience of receiving a DUI conviction, you are fully aware that the consequences can be humiliating and expensive. After paying the attorney fees, court costs, fines and license suspension, there are other consequences that you will be faced with, particularly changes to your insurance rates and coverage.

If you have been convicted of a DUI, most likely, your insurance company will find out about it. Insurance companies will deal with this conviction in one of two ways.

In the event of DUI, the insurance company can either:

  1. Increase your premium, substantially or
  2. Cancel your policy

If the company decides to go with ‘option 1’, the DUI offender will most likely be labeled as a “high-risk” driver. Most states require individuals who have been involved in a DUI to get an SR-22 Proof of Insurance Certificate. The SR-22 removes the suspension of the offender’s license by letting the state know that they will carry insurance.

While this may be plausible for many DUI offenders, it’s important to note that not every insurance company offers SR-22 policies. Therefore, an offender’s policy can be non-renewable or cancelled, just because the provider can no longer provide them with car insurance. However, some state laws don’t allow insurance companies to terminate a policy in the middle of the term, so you may want to check on the laws in your state.

It is less likely to happen, but sometimes the insurance company isn’t aware of the DUI, for whatever reason. In some cases, an insurance provider will keep the rates the same or keep the policy open, if you have had insurance with the company for a long time and if you have no other problems on your driving record. However, the probability of this happening is very low.

Drivers who have had their policy canceled or are unable to renew their policy due to a DUI offense can still find insurance. While an offender may not be eligible for an insurance policy with preferred companies such as, State Farm, GEICO or Allstate — there are several other insurance providers who will insure them (e.g. – Titan, Safe Auto, Progressive and Nationwide) provided that they have the necessary SR-22 documentation. Nevertheless, the rates will be unavoidably higher because a DUI violation can stay on a person’s record for three to five years (and sometimes for a lifetime), depending on their location.

Drivers with a DUI on their record can contact independent agents (who work with different insurance providers) to find the best rate. In addition, those who have been caught under the influence while operating a motor vehicle can verify which companies will offer coverage and compare the rates of these companies to find the cheapest rate.

A DUI doesn’t mean the offender will never drive again, but it can be a long-term process to restore a person’s insurance after a DUI conviction. If you want to keep your insurance rates low – always remember to practice safe driving and avoid drinking and driving, rather than paying the hefty (and expensive) consequences.

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