The Impact of a Drunk Driving Conviction on Your Auto Insurance
There are numerous long term consequences of a DUI conviction. One that is rarely considered until the bill comes in the mailbox is the impact it will have on your vehicle insurance. First, a conviction will guarantee that your auto insurance premium rates will never be as low as they were before the conviction. Insurers are in the business of ‘risk’ management and the individual that has been found guilty of intoxicated driving is now labeled ‘high risk’. While it may not seem fair it is definitely legal for insurance companies to double or even triple your monthly costs. In addition, they may restrict certain coverage provisions as well.
Worse than having your rates increased, though, is the likelihood that an insurance company may actually cancel a driver’s policy once he or she has a DUI on their record. DUIs and DWIs appear on both a driving and criminal record. It tells the insurer that you are willing to break the law and put all of their policy holders at risk of having to settle a substantial accident claim or wrongful death law suit. A decision to cancel the policy of a convicted drunk driver is really nothing more than a move to protect the best interests of their ‘good driver’ population.
Most states now require insurance companies to provide the division of motor vehicles with actual verification that the individual has secured vehicle insurance after the conviction. The most common procedure is for them to forward a copy of an “SR-22 Proof of Insurance Certificate” before they will revoke a suspension of driving privileges. Thereafter, if the insurance policy lapses or is cancelled the state will be notified and the driver will be legally forbidden to drive until insurance is again secured.
It’s important to note that the “SR-22” is not in itself an insurance product. It’s simply a certificate of financial responsibility. The actual requirements for an “SR-22” – such as length of enforcement and the various insurers – differ from state to state.
Lessen the Charges by Avoiding Future Mistakes
There are certain actions that a convicted drunk driver can take to lessen the financial burden of increased insurance premiums. To begin with one should be proactive in maintaining a ‘clean’ driving record. Avoid any future driving infractions such as speeding. Too, do not drink and drive again – this will only exacerbate your legal and insurance problems. You may also consider taking a safe-driving course and forward this information to your insurance company upon completion of the class.
Other ways to combat increased insurance costs are to improve your overall credit rating and to do simple things such as paying bills on time. These actions could positively impact insurance premiums. Seek the advice of a credit counselor for further recommendations.
Finally, you could move closer to work, carpool or take public transportation and drive an older car that is paid off so you don’t have to carry so much insurance.
A DUI conviction is not the end of the world – but it may seem like it – particularly when faced with increased insurance premiums. However, there are positive steps you can take to lessen the impact. Keep these in mind when you start shopping for insurance. For more information on the affects a DUI/DWI will have on your record, contact a Houston DWI lawyer at the Law Offices of David A. Breston.