If you have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), it is likely that car insurance prices soar through the roof.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), every 45 minutes occurs a traffic accident related to alcohol in the United States. Besides risking your life and the one of other people, a drunken driving conviction carries a serious penalty of your auto insurance company.
Insurance companies can review records of DMV only once every three years or when applying for a new policy. It is possible that accidents, fines and DUI never appear on your official record of DMV. However, if your insurer will discover a DUI it will be classified as a “high risk driver.” Purchase a new insurance at the time of renewal is the best strategy, because rates vary greatly among companies of auto insurance. Moreover, an increase in rates may be the least of your problems, as your policy may be canceled or not renewed, especially if you are in a class of preferred rate. Then you’ll be forced to seek new car insurance with a double burden for DUI.
The laws relating to DUI and car insurance coverage varies by state. Most states require DUI offenders get a form called SR-22 auto insurers, so that in this way cannot be hidden. This form DMV tests the possession of liability insurance and eliminates the suspension of the license. The SR-22 also requires your insurance company to notify the DMV if your car insurance was canceled for any reason. You will probably have to show proof of insurance for a period of three to five years with your state DMV.
Insurers can miss DUI convictions
It is possible that your insurance company would not know about your DUI conviction if your state does not require you apply an SR-22. According to the Insurance Research Council, one in five convictions for traffic violations never end up in the records of motor vehicles due to lack of information sharing between the courts and the DMV, or because a conviction has been eliminated through alternative means, such as driving school. If you get a reduction in your DUI by a plea bargain, or has a limited license suspension, for example, 30 days, it is also very unlikely that your insurer finds out your sentence.
If your insurance company is not notified of your sentence at the time it occurs, still it has some years that may elevate fees if the DUI is discovered later.
For example, the mechanism of State Farm depends on the branch with which you are. The insurer reviews the rate increase decisions case by case. If you have a prime policy with State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. and get a DUI, you probably will move to State Farm State Farm Fire & Casualty, which is your standard policy for drivers considered high risk.
If you’re with Progressive, non-renewal or cancellation was not due to face a DUI, but you may be facing a rate increase. Progressive also reviews the charges one by one, with multiple factors such as age, gender, driving record and model of your vehicle.
This does not end here. Your DUI conviction will also pursue you if you apply for life insurance and could also affect your rates.