We all know that drinking and driving can be deadly. It can kill either us, our passengers, or some other innocent drivers on the road. Unfortunately, thousands of people drive under the influence every day. The lucky ones don't get in a car wreck and hurt anyone. The "lucky" ones simply get busted by the authorities and are cited with a DUI, OWI, OUI or similar offense, and see a rise in their auto insurance. The costs of a DUI are steep, but not as painful as hurting someone you love or an innocent bystander.So, what are the monetary costs of a DUI? Some estimates put it at roughly $3,000 to $5,000 when you factor in all the court costs, fines, loss of income, and treatment or incarceration. However, the costs of a DUI follow you for many years after, especially in the form of increased auto insurance. The days of cheap car insurance are gone, and you may even be dropped by your auto insurance company. If that happens, you're going to have to have to shop around for auto insurance quotes in your local area, or jump on the web and search for auto insurance online.
Auto Insurance Dropped or Rates Rise
When you get convicted of DUI, or plead guilty to DUI, you will most definitely see a rise in your auto insurance rates, or maybe even get dropped by your car insurance company. Many states have laws requiring you to have auto insurance, however, so you still are able to get insurance, the cost will just be astronomical. Why? Because you are now deemed an "at-risk" driver. The car insurance company will label you as dangerous and high-risk. Those days of cheap car insurance around $100 a month will be over, and you'll likely see your rates skyrocket.
No matter how good your driving record was in the past, the DUI will damage your driving record. It will be a stain on your once clean record for many years to come. Think about that. Just one night can lead to years of being stigmatized. The guy who has five speeding tickets may even get better auto insurance quotes than you do!
How to Keep Your Record Clean
Of course, the simple answer to how to keep your record clean is to not drink and drive. Call a cab. The cost of a ride across town is much cheaper than the cost of a ride to the police station. However, if you are busted for a DUI, you may be able to keep it off your record. This will depend on the specific laws of your state, the specifics of your case, plus the decision of the courts.
Some states allow you to request court-supervision for a certain period of time, usually one year. If you have no further offenses or tickets during this time, the DUI may not appear on your record. Again, this depends on the severity of the DUI and other circumstances. But, most auto insurance companies don't review your policy unless you request changes, request a new auto insurance quote, or if you want to insure a new vehicle. And some companies only review your policy about every one or three years. So, simply do not request a new quote, don't buy a new car, and hope that your court supervision ends before the auto insurance company decides to review your policy. You may be able to hide the DUI from your insurance company. However, some states will require a DUI offender to get an SR-22 from your auto insurance company. This form shows the court that you indeed have insurance. If this is the case, it will be nearly impossible to hide your DUI.
As you can see, the costs of a DUI are steep: The potential loss of life, the loss of driving privileges, and the loss of auto insurance. Do what's right and call a cab or get a designated driver.