Have you been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs? If so, you are probably scared for your life. Not only do you have to face the court system, but you must also deal with the ramifications from your car insurance company.
Your past driving history will be examined when applying for a new policy with a new company. Along with this, your current provider will likely check your motor vehicle record every three years (approximately). Does this mean that your DUI could slip through the cracks? While there is a chance of this happening, don’t count on it.
If an insurance company finds a DUI on your record you will immediately be categorized as a high risk driver.
While an increased premium is a big concern, there is something more serious to be worried about: your insurer has the right to cancel your coverage. As you can imagine, this will make the process of finding another policy very difficult.
Laws by State
DUI laws and how they effect auto coverage vary from state to state. In most cases, once you are a DUI offender you are required to request form SR-22 from your insurer. This ensures that you are not able to hide your mistake.
Additionally, form SR-22 shows the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state that you have the proper amount of liability insurance. And most importantly, it removes the suspension of your license.
Although you have some responsibilities as a driver, with an SR-22 on file is company that insures you is also on the hook. They are required to notify your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles should your coverage be cancelled.
If your current provider does not offer SR-22 coverage, you may run into a case where your policy is cancelled altogether.
But my state does not require me to file form SR-22?
In this case, you may be able to keep your DUI conviction from your insurer. You also have a better chance of hiding this if you are able to reduce your charges or avoid a license suspension.
What should I do?
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, the first thing you should do is obtain legal counsel. With the right attorney on your side, you may be able to avoid serious punishment – especially if this is your first conviction.
As far as what you should do with your insurance, let your attorney guide you in the right direction. If you are required to file form SR-22, there is no way around this. Instead, you have to do what the law requires in your state.
There is a good chance that your premium will increase. In this case, you have a couple of options:
- Continue to pay the increased price, hoping that it will come down in the distant future once you prove that you are no longer high risk
- Search for a cheaper policy through another provider
As you can imagine, the best way to avoid this issue is to never drink and drive. In addition to causing yourself problems with your car insurance, you are risking your life as well as others on the road. For some readers this might be a bid of hind sight advice but it is still valid moving forward.