Driving Under the Influence and Its Effect on Car Insurance Rates
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Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense and one that can come with hefty consequences. Beyond the potential fines and jail time associated with a DUI conviction, it can also lead to higher car insurance premiums.
Knowing how your auto insurance policy may be affected by a DUI charge is important if you want to avoid paying excessive rates for coverage in the future. This article will examine how DUIs impact car insurance rates, as well as what steps you can take to avoid high premiums following a DUI charge.
How Does a DUI Affect Insurance Rates?
When you are convicted of a DUI, your auto insurance rates can increase significantly. In most cases, drivers will see their premiums increase by at least 50% after they have been convicted of a DUI.
This is because insurers view driving under the influence as an extremely risky behavior and one that could lead to financial losses if the policyholder were to be involved in an accident. As a result, insurers will often charge higher premiums for drivers who have been convicted of a DUI or DWI.
Can My Insurance Drop My Coverage?
In some cases, insurers may choose to drop coverage for drivers who have been convicted of a DUI. This is because the insurer views the risk associated with insuring that driver as too high and does not want to take on the financial losses associated with any future accidents.
If your insurance company does decide to drop you after a DUI conviction, it is important to shop around and find a new insurer that will be willing to provide coverage. It may take some time, but eventually, you should be able to find an insurer that is willing to offer you a policy at a reasonable rate.
Nevada law prohibits insurance companies from suddenly increasing premiums or dropping coverage during the existing policy period. After the policy period has elapsed, insurers have the option to both discontinue coverage or raise auto insurance rates if a DUI charge is still pending. In most cases, however, companies choose the latter alternative.
What Is SR-22?
Another factor to consider when dealing with a DUI-related insurance issue is the SR-22 form. This form is required by many states including Nevada for drivers who have been convicted of a DUI and are looking to continue driving.
The SR-22 serves as proof that the driver has at least minimum liability car insurance coverage, thus ensuring that they will be able to cover any damages caused by an accident.
The minimum liability coverage allowed is:
- $25,000 for the bodily injury or fatality of one person,
- $50,000 for the bodily injury or fatality of two or more people, and
- $20,000 for property damage
Following a DUI, your license is typically suspended. In order to get it reinstated, you need to file the SR-22 with the DMV. Once the SR-22 is filed, your license will be reinstated and you can begin driving again.
How Do I Get an SR-22?
In order to get an SR-22, you will need to contact your insurance company. You can’t get SR-22 yourself. Your insurer will need to provide the state with proof of your insurance coverage and complete an SR-22 form. They will then file the form with the DMV. Once filed, your license should be reinstated and you can begin driving again.
How Long Do I Need to Carry SR-22?
The length of time you need to carry SR-22 insurance depends on the severity of your case and the laws in your state. In Nevada, for example, a driver convicted of DUI will typically have to carry an SR-22 for three years from the time your driver’s license is reinstated.
During this time, the driver must continue to maintain the minimum required liability coverage. If the driver fails to do so, their license could be suspended again and they may need to file another SR-22 form in order to get it reinstated.
Once the three-year period has elapsed, the driver will no longer need to carry an SR-22 or maintain minimum liability coverage. However, drivers should keep in mind that their auto insurance rates are likely to remain higher than they were before the DUI conviction.
How Do I Find Out If I Still Need SR-22?
In order to determine if you have already met the SR-22 requirements, you will need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). They should be able to provide you with information on your current SR-22 status.
How Long Does a DUI Affect Insurance Rates?
It depends on the insurance company. Some insurance companies only look back 3 years of your driving record, while others may go as far as 10 years.
DUI convictions can remain on your record for life, so it’s important to shop around and find an insurer who will offer you a competitive rate despite your past conviction.
What Are the Consequences If My Insurance Lapses
Nevada drivers need to be extra mindful of their auto insurance policies, especially after a DUI. If the driver lets their insurance policy lapse before satisfying the SR-22 3-year requirement, they’d lose any credit they have for that time period. Meaning, they’d have to complete the three years again moving forward.
For example, if the driver has two years of SR-22 coverage and their policy lapses, they’d be required to start over from scratch.
Do I Need to Notify My Insurance Company of a DUI?
In most cases, no. You are not legally obligated to inform your auto insurance provider. They also won’t receive any notification from the DMV or the prison that arrested you.
Note, however, once a DUI is on your driving record, any insurance company will find out about it. So it’s not a matter of if they find out, it’s when. It’s up to you if you want to be upfront with them or wait for them to discover it on their own.
Most often, insurance companies find out about a DUI by checking the driver’s record before, renewing, or buying a new policy. They will check your driving history from the DMV which will contain the DUI records.
Facing DUI Charges?
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s important to seek legal advice right away. An experienced DUI attorney can help you understand your rights and provide guidance on how best to defend your case.
Getting a DUI conviction is costly. Not only will you be facing severe fines, but you’ll also have to pay for the SR-22 filing and higher insurance rates.
Taking legal action as soon as possible helps protect your rights and can help minimize the long-term consequences of a DUI conviction.
If you have been charged with a DUI, The Defenders are here to help. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have deep expertise in DUI-related cases and can provide the legal advice and representation you need to navigate the complex Nevada court system.
Our team of highly qualified lawyers has successfully resolved hundreds of DUI cases in Nevada and will use their expertise to create a defense tailored to your unique case.
Call us today for a free consultation and let our experienced attorneys fight for you. We are here to help you get the justice you deserve.