There are a lot of financial costs associated with a DUI conviction – bail money, towing fees for your vehicle, attorney fees, and court costs amongst them. A cost that can follow you even longer after your DUI than these expenses, though, is the effect a DUI conviction may have on your insurance. Here’s some important things to keep in mind when re-evaluating your car insurance after a DUI:
You May Want to Contact Your Insurance Company in Advance
Whether or not you tell your insurance carrier about your DUI, the DMV in your state will send them proof of your conviction. It may work out better for you to go ahead and alert your insurance company once you’re convicted, so that you can start the process of re-evaluating your coverage/rate and obtaining an SR-22 if necessary (see below for more details), then get back on the roads as quickly as possible. This doesn’t mean that you need to tell your insurance as soon as you’re charged with a DUI, though, since there’s still a chance the charge will be dismissed or reduced in court rather than resulting in a DUI conviction. Check your insurance company’s policy and speak to your attorney before sharing any information or paperwork with your insurance company so that you can achieve the best possible outcome.
You May Need to Switch Your Insurance Carrier
Not all insurance companies will continue to insure a driver that has been convicted of DUI. Your insurer may decide to drop you as a customer. Alternatively, your insurer may increase your rate to the point that you can no longer afford to pay it. In this case, you’ll want to get quotes from several different insurance companies to determine who will charge you a more affordable rate.
Your Insurance Costs are Likely to Rise
Whether you stay with your current insurance carrier or switch to a different company, your monthly insurance payment will almost definitely increase following a DUI conviction. Insurers view drivers convicted of DUI as riskier to insure, thus they charge these drivers a higher rate. Other factors, such as your age and other traffic violations or wrecks on your record, will weigh into the amount your auto insurance rate raises.
You May Need an SR-22
An SR-22 is a form demonstrating financial responsibility – or in other words, insurance coverage. The court will typically require those convicted of DUI to have their car insurance carrier file an SR-22 proving that the driver’s coverage meets the minimum standards required under state law. In Tennessee, you have to maintain SR-22 insurance during the length of suspension or revocation of your license. In Georgia, you must maintain SR-22 insurance for 3 years after the date of your conviction.
It May Take Years for Your DUI to Fall Off Your Insurance
You should check your insurance carrier’s policy regarding how long a DUI stays on your record, since different companies evaluate a driver’s record differently. Sometimes, companies will evaluate your rate based on your driving record, which can become troublesome in states like Tennessee and Georgia, where a DUI never falls off your record. Other companies may have a certain amount of time they look back into your driving record to evaluate your rate, which may enable you to obtain a more affordable rate several years after your DUI. It may be a good idea to shop around for a new insurance policy once you can cancel your SR-22, since you may be able to find a better rate at that point.
If you’ve been charged with DUI, you already have enough on your plate. You want to hire an attorney that will ease your worries and help you shoulder the legal and procedural burdens of your case. Best & Brock’s experienced criminal defense attorneys employ a fierce defense strategy that considers all of the building blocks we need in place to get you back on your feet after a DUI. Reach out to us today for a free consultation!