If you get charged with driving under the influence, also known as a DUI, then you have a lot to think about. One issue that is easy to overlook when facing DUI charges is the effect that a conviction will have on your insurance coverage. The following article takes a closer look at some of the key aspects of this important matter.
In most cases, your insurer will run a check when your policy is up for renewal and discover your DUI conviction. In a small minority of cases, the insurer does not discover the conviction because of either bad communication with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles or an administrative oversight.
Rather than hoping your insurer will not find out, it's best to tell your agent about the conviction. If you do not and they find out later, your policy could be cancelled. This will make it much harder for you to get coverage in the future because companies are less likely to offer policies to drivers who have previously had their policies cancelled or who have been denied coverage.
You can expect your premiums to rise after any DUI conviction. The size of the increase depends on several factors, such as the number of convictions you have had in the past and the specific insurer that issued your policy. Your age may also be considered by the insurer as well. One expert estimate is that a DUI raises premiums anywhere from 28 to 86 percent.
The amount of time that the premium increase remains in effect can vary from state to state and insurer to insurer. Having the increase remain for five years is typical.
Many states will require you to have a document called an SR-22 form filed on your behalf by the insurer before getting your license reinstated after a DUI. This form provides proof to the authorities that you have insurance coverage despite your conviction. You will generally need to have the form on file with the government for a period of three years. An important point to remember is that the form must be filed by your agent; you cannot file it yourself.
As you can see, a DUI conviction can cause you some serious headaches regarding your auto insurance coverage. This is one reason it's not a good idea to try to deal with this situation without expert help. The best course of action is to seek the advice of a DUI attorney at a law firm such as Knochel Law Offices PC once you have been charged.