If you are caught drinking and driving you will get a Driving Under the Influence conviction (DUI). A DUI will affect your car insurance which any people are unaware of. Initially your premiums will probably increase substantially and later your policy may well be cancelled when it expires. If you don’t have insurance when you are convicted you will struggle to get any cover in the future.
There are more affects of this conviction one of which is the SR-22 which will be explained and there are some tips offered that may help secure car insurance after a DUI.
An SR-22 – what it is.
If you are caught and convicted of a DUI you will be required to file an SR-22 which is simply a statement that proves you have suitable insurance cover. Once this is filed any suspended driving licenses are given back.
It is a legal requirement in most areas that drivers with a DUI conviction report this with an SR-22 to their local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
There are policies offered from some insurers with high premiums for SR-22(‘high risk’) drivers but some will not insure them at all and immediately cancel policies when they expire.
Staying Below the Radar.
There seems to be a lack of communication between some court systems and some DMV’s. All DUI’s should be reported to the DMV within the jurisdiction of the court
involved but, this does not always happen meaning a driver might avoid filing an SR-22 and ‘slip through the net’. In this situation the insurers may be oblivious to the offence. It can happen a lot but if the insurers find out, even years later, they will increase premiums.
Re-insure whilst still Insured.
It can be easier to get insured if you have a DUI conviction if you are already insured. Many people wait for their insurance to finish before shopping around to replace it. If your policy is being cancelled by your insurer you can assume that they know about the conviction, in which case you should assume others may well also find out. So look before your current policy runs out and shop around smaller, independent brokers as well as the larger ones.
A DUI conviction is not what anyone wants on their record but neither is it the end of the world. It will, inevitably, affect your ability to get insurance and cost you more in premiums – perhaps a small price to pay. You will have to shop around more than normal and will find that you will be offered far less policies than previously because of your ‘high risk’ label. Driving without cover is just not an option and could lead to prison sentences, weighty penalties and greater costs.
A conviction of this kind will stay on your record for 10 years but car insurance companies are likely to use it against your premiums for around 3 years, some are less. You need to optimise what is available and how you can help yourself so that you can move on.
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