If you get a DUI, you will notice a change in your insurance rates. And it probably won’t be for the better. A DUI is a serious infraction, and it is treated as such by everyone, including your insurance company. The best way to avoid one is to not get in the car while you are drinking, or to have a designated driver.
What Are the Factors that Will Affect My Car Insurance After a DUI?
- Age – Young motorists suffer from big auto insurance rate increases after a DUI conviction. These drivers, to begin with, are prone to accidents. Insurers become wary when they learn about individuals getting a drunken driving charge, as a DUI offense could be predictive of a lifelong problem.
- Time – Insurance firms usually zero in on the past three to five years to evaluate your driving history and determine your DUI insurance quote. Some providers require motorists to meet a minimum clean driving streak before they can qualify for regular or more affordable rates following a drunken driving conviction.
- Circumstances of Your Arrest – If police officers arrest you at a sobriety checkpoint, you will notice a less dramatic change in your insurance rate than when authorities apprehend you following a multi-vehicle crash. Some states place drunk driving convictions in several categories of severity, which is a factor that insurance companies will take into account when setting policy rates.
- Location – Drivers living in urban and dense neighborhoods or places with highways have a higher risk of future accidents following a DUI. Insurance firms are likely to increase their rates for these motorists.
- Auto Insurance Provider – Insurance companies calculate rates based on their pool of insured motorists and their accident records. The rates, therefore, vary from one firm to the other. On top of that, different providers will have different policies in handling a DUI conviction. An insurance company, for instance, may count drunk driving charges more heavily than others. Each provider assesses motorists differently, so the most affordable insurer for you after a DUI may not be the same for other drivers.
- Number of Drunken Driving Charges – Your first DUI offense will raise your car insurance rates significantly, as studies show that first-time offenders are often serious abusers of alcohol or drugs. Research compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the National Traffic Law Center revealed that over 80 percent of first offenders are alcoholics or problem drinkers.
What Happens When You Get A DUI?
If you are convicted of a DUI, a lot of things happen to your driving record. You will no longer have the clean driving record that allows you to qualify for discounts on your auto insurance policy. You will probably face a pretty hefty fine, points on your license, and maybe even some jail time. A lot of it depends on how severe the accident is, or if you cause any damage while driving to property or another person.
How Will My Insurance Company Find Out?
Car insurers usually check your motor vehicle record when you’re getting a new policy, or once every three years. They learn of any DUI violations you’ve committed based on the information they receive.
Auto insurance companies may also learn about your DUI offenses when you earn penalty points. When points get applied to your license, your insurance company automatically receives a copy of the report. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope that they won’t find out, because they will. The points get attached to your license, which means that the record gets released and they will find out.
Sometimes, DUI-related tickets and accidents never end up on your official record. The Insurance Research Council says that as many as 20% of convictions due to road violations never make their way to vehicle records due to the lack of shared information between motor vehicle departments and the courts. You, however, should not count on your insurer missing the DUI charge.
What Happens To My Rates?
When your insurance company finds out about your DUI, one of three things will probably happen:
- Increase your rates - This can be from 10% to up to a 50% increase on your current rate, depending on the infraction.
- Contact You - Your insurance company may contact you to discuss your options and how they plan to proceed with your policy.
- Drop you - Your insurance company may decide that you are too big of a risk and they may drop you altogether.
Don’t get a DUI on your driving record. It is hard to erase and can affect your insurance policy for months (maybe even years) to come. If you are looking to learn more about insurance or to change up your auto insurance policy, contact Amistad Insurance today.