Car keys next to glass of alcohol on a table to symbolize a DUI

How Does a DUI Affect My Insurance?

DUI Impacts on Insurance Rates

Getting convicted of a DUI is troubling for many reasons. Not only could you go to jail, pay expensive fines, lose your driver’s license, and suffer a criminal record but your car insurance rates will also increase.

Most insurance companies do not take driving-related offenses lightly. Many companies who claim to have their policyholders’ best interests at heart don’t typically follow through when such policyholders are in trouble, which happens often. It isn’t unusual. This is ironic because insurance companies operate to help customers avoid significant financial losses and risks. But when it comes to DUIs and other traffic-related crimes, however, insurance companies immediately deem those drivers a “red flag” so to speak.

As a result, many insurance companies will instead worsen their policyholders’ financial losses by increasing their car insurance rates after a DUI conviction. This is because such companies may consider their clients higher risks who are more likely than not to get into an accident or commit a traffic-related crime. Thus, it is no surprise that a DUI will result in increased insurance premiums and even the refusal of coverage altogether. If your driver’s license gets suspended or revoked after a DUI, for example, your insurance company may drop you or not renew your policy.

However, your specific insurance penalties depend on your insurance company, age, driving history, the nature and frequency of traffic-related offenses, and more. Each insurance policy contains different terms and conditions about DUI convictions. Nonetheless, the bottom line is that most insurance companies will increase car insurance rates after their customer gets a DUI charge. As mentioned above, the reason for this is simple: A driver with a DUI conviction is a higher risk to themselves and others on the roads.

Do I Need to Tell My Insurance Company About a DUI?

Many convicted DUI offenders wonder if their insurance company will be notified of their DUI conviction. In short, the answer is yes, almost always.

A DUI conviction often results in license suspensions, meaning you technically can’t be insured to drive a vehicle without a license. As such, you will either need to notify your insurer about your DUI or they could find out from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

If your lawyer helps you avoid a license suspension, however, you will still need a special insurance document from your insurer called an SR-22, which essentially provides the minimum coverage required by law. Thus, you will have to purchase an SR-22 from your insurance company and explain why. That’s another way your insurer could find out about your DUI. Lastly, your insurer could learn about your DUI conviction during the renewal review, when it’s time to renew your policy.

With this in mind, it is in your best interests to notify your insurer about your DUI right away, otherwise, they will find out through the other means that we discussed above. Once the company finds out, your insurance premiums will increase and you may suffer additional penalties for withholding your conviction details.

If you’re facing DUI charges in Santa Barbara, retain our experienced attorneys who are former prosecutors. We have the insights and resources needed to help you avoid harsh insurance rate increases and other DUI penalties! Contact us at (805) 467-6060 to discuss your case today.

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