While a DUI (driving under the influence) and a DWI (driving while intoxicated) are both serious and frequently expensive charges, they’re essentially the same—an offense of operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content above the state’s legal limit.
When you’re charged with either of these offences, you may wonder how you can legally and safely move forward. We’re here to help you by answering three of the most common questions about car insurance after a DUI:
How do car insurance companies find out about a DUI?
A DUI appears on your driving record, making it impossible to hide. So, it’s best to inform your insurance carrier about your DUI/DWI as soon as you’re able. Unreported convictions can result in your carrier dropping your policy during renewal time when they review your driving record. If you’re policy is going to be dropped, it’s best to know this information upfront so you can begin searching for another policy.
How does a DUI affect my insurance?
After a DUI/DWI, insurance carriers consider you a high-risk driver. If you stay with your current insurance carrier, your premiums will likely increase due to the increased risk. Additionally, not all insurers provide high-risk coverage, so they may drop you as a customer. There’s some good news, however: increases and pricing vary from one insurance company to another, so shopping can help you get coverage at the best rate.
If you can’t afford to pay an increased rate, you have additional coverage options. Each state has its own minimum car insurance requirements. Check out what coverage you’ll need to stay legal on the road.
To drive legally after a DUI, you may be required to have a certificate of insurance on file with your state that proves you meet your state’s car insurance coverage requirements. These certificates are known as SR22s (or FR44s in Florida and Virginia). At a minimum, you’re required to purchase liability coverages to get the certificate filed. At that time, your insurance company will give you the certificate and send a copy to the state.
Some insurance companies charge you for this filing. However, some insurance companies do it for free.
There are other factors that can affect your auto insurance rate, such as your age, the amount of time that’s passed since your DUI, the number of convictions on your record, and the insurance carrier you use.
How long will a DUI affect my policy?
After a DUI, insurance companies typically consider your driving record and policy costs for the previous three to five years. If you’re a first-time DUI offender, most states mandate a probationary period of approximately three years. However, in some states, your conviction could remain on file longer.
A DUI is a serious offense with longstanding consequences. We’re here to help you navigate your car insurance and get you back on the road with coverage that protects you and keeps you legally able to drive. Contact us today to learn more.