Driving under the influence (DUI) is dangerous but a DUI charge can also negatively impact your car insurance premiums, perhaps more than any other driving violation. Along with fines, legal fees, and court costs, your car insurance premiums will almost certainly go up if your insurance company doesn't drop your coverage altogether.
Rates for new or existing auto insurance will almost certainly be much higher than they would be before the DUI. While amounts differ depending on the circumstances, for a one driver policy an average premium could increase by several hundred dollars or more. Your rate hike could even be double what it was before the conviction.
The rate at which premiums increase will depend on whether you're a first-time or repeat offender and the state in which you live. In New York, for example, average increases are 30%. So you could end up paying up to $3800 extra annually for car insurance. Regardless of which state you receive the conviction in, the rate at which your auto insurance will increase depends solely on your home state.
DUI convictions can be extremely costly and not just in the short term. Since insurance premiums are determined based upon risk, drivers convicted of a DUI will be required to pay higher premiums for many years after the conviction.
Required Forms For Securing Auto Insurance
Depending on which state you reside in, before you can drive again you may be required to file a proof of financial responsibility form proving that you carry the mandatory minimum coverage for auto insurance. In some cases, drivers may be required to carry an insurance policy with higher than state minimums. The court will let you know if you need to fill out one of these forms.
The most common form is the SR-22, or statement of responsibility. This is a document that must be filed with the state DMV to provide proof that you are carrying the appropriate amount of coverage. Maryland and Delaware drivers could be required to file an FR-19 and Florida and Virginia drivers may need to fill out the FR-44. Some insurance companies will file these forms for a fee. Be sure to ask your insurance company if they provide this service as not all insurers will file this form for you.
Keeping Your Insurance Coverage After A DUI
The odds are high that your license will be suspended after a DUI. It's imperative that you maintain continuous coverage during this time. Whatever you can do to keep your policy from lapsing will ensure that you pay lower rates even after a DUI. If you wait until after your suspension is lifted, your quotes could be astronomically high.
If you already have insurance, be sure to ask your insurer if you can add another person to your insurance as the primary driver. Since the policy is still under your name, your coverage will remain continuous.
How Long Will a DUI Affect Your Insurance Rate?
How long a DUI remains on your record will depend on the state you live in. For example, in New York or California, a DUI can remain on your record for ten years. If you live in Iowa, you can expect a 12-year wait until the conviction is cleared. Depending on the company, insurers could look as far back as three, five, seven, or ten years.
The average rate across the country is seven years; and during the time a DUI stays on your driving record, you will not be able to earn a good driver discount. Although your DUI could potentially affect your rates for as long as it appears on your driving record, you can rebuild your driving record by keeping it clean. After a time, your rates will begin to fall.
While there's no such thing as cheap auto insurance after a DUI, you can find affordable insurance. It's important to shop around extensively for the best premiums after a DUI. Some insurance companies have subsidiaries that specialize in high risk or "nonstandard" drivers.
Author Bio:Frank Acocella Esq., leads the New York DUILegalNY defense team. Frank fights for the rights of drivers charged with DWI, DWAI and other intoxicated driving charges throughout the State of New York.