If you have ever been convicted of a DUI, you know that the consequences can be expensive. In addition to fines and attorney fees, increases to car insurance rates are among the highest costs associated with a DUI.
If you already have an active car insurance policy, it's possible that nothing will happen right away. It's always possible, though unlikely, that your arrest will slip through the cracks. You are under no obligation to report a DUI to your insurance company unless you have your driver's license suspended by the state. Though insurance companies sometimes randomly check driving records, if yours does not, they may not discover your DUI until your car insurance policy comes up for renewal. In the meantime, it's important to pay all your premiums on time and avoid drawing attention to yourself.
However, in some states, your license will be suspended, and you will be required to file a SR-22. An SR-22 is a formal declaration of car insurance that serves as proof to the Department of Motor Vehicles that you have obtained liability insurance. Unfortunately, filing an SR-22 serves as an announcement of your DUI to your car insurance company.
Once your car insurance company becomes aware of your DUI, a couple of things might happen. Your policy may be cancelled or non-renewed, as some insurance companies do not offer SR-22 policies. If this happens, you will still be able to find car insurance, though probably not with one of the preferred carriers. However, some well-known insurance carriers such as Progressive and State Farm, in addition to smaller companies focusing in high risk insurance, will provide you with car insurance, albeit at a higher rate.
If your car insurance company does not cancel your policy, they will almost certainly raise your rates dramatically, sometimes as much as 300-400%. Because of this, it is not a good idea to just get one car insurance quote before purchasing insurance, as you will most certainly end up overpaying. It is very important to shop around and get quotes from many standard and non-standard car insurance companies to find out what they will charge you after your DUI. Some companies review rates on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors such as gender, driving history, age, and vehicle model in addition to your DUI. Your car insurance rates may be affected by your DUI for five to ten years, depending on your location.
Car insurance costs will most likely be the most expensive consequence of your DUI. Get more than one car insurance quote in order to get the lowest possible rate.