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Getting Car Insurance After A DUI – What To Do

police pulling over drunk driverIf you have every been convicted of getting a DUI or DWI you can understand how your insurance rates are going to increase. Remember you are not alone and many people have received a DUI. Even former President George Bush received one back in the 1970’s and there are other famous people which have receive one of the worst traffic violations you can get. Don’t panic just yet you could be in luck! So read or browse real quick and I can give you some ideas.

What to do?

If you are convicted of a DUI then first thing you want to do is comply with all state regulations. Each state has there own regulations, but they are similar. For example a first offense in the following states:

Kentucky – First offense

  • $200 – $500 Fine plus court costs and fees

  • 2 – 30 Days in jail

  • 90 Day of Substance or alcohol abuse program

  • 30 – 120 days of your license being suspended

  • Possible 48 hour to 30 days community service

Ohio – First offense

  • $200 – $1,000 Fine plus court costs and fees

  • Minimum three days in Jail

  • 90 Days of substance or alcohol abuse

  • Six months to three years license suspended

Other states which have stricter laws are Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Judges in all of states do not look upon DUI’s kindly. Not only that all the fines and penalties are stated to you clearly when convicted. The Judge might even be nice enough to tell you what the penalties are if you get a second DUI. (Check out Indiana)

Next step – getting insurance after a DUI

One of the few things which is rarely mentioned is you want to get the DUIdrinking behind you as fast as possible. You know your insurance rates are going to go up. One thing is clear. When the insurer checks your record the DUI is going to be reflected the day you were convicted. If you know you are caught it is best to go to court as soon as possible and get it over with. Seriously think about this, if you chugged eight of your favorite cocktails then were busted by the police? Your caught? Right? Long gone are the days of hiring a hot-shot attorney to get you out of it. The attorney will be helpful to represent you to reducing aggravating factors to reduce your fine or sentence.

I am not saying to forgo proper representation, but I know about a person who represented himself in court. His charges were a DUI and speeding over the limit. He decided to plead not guilty, but the prosecuting attorney said we will drop the speeding charge if you plead now to the DUI. It worked without an attorney and he was on his way to putting the conviction behind him. Just food for thought.

Most insurance firms will reduce your auto insurance three years from the date of your conviction. It makes sense not to prolong the inevitable. Therefore, it might not be a good idea to come up with a grand plan and delay the court date six months or year.

Best and worse case scenarios

thumbs up and downIf you are convicted of a DUI there are a few scenarios which may play out. The best scenario is if you get caught and your insurer never finds out. I am not saying you shouldn’t report your DUI to your insurance company, but I have heard of numerous instances where people convicted of a DUI never reported it and their rates didn’t increase. Why? I think there are a few reasons.

  • The insurance company – some check regularly some don’t

  • Your age – the older you are the less likely the insurer will check

  • Your gender – a woman is less likely to be checked by the insurer than a man.

  • Driver history – If you don’t have any other violations the likelihood of the insurer finding out is lower.

  • SR-22 – the state of conviction does not require you to file an SR-22.

These are my assumptions and it depends on the insurer. However, if you do get a DUI and currently insured you may be lucky enough to fly under the radar.

The second or next best scenario is your car insurance company finds out about the DUI and agrees to insure you, but your rates are going to skyrocket. If you end up in this boat you can check other insurers and see what they will insure you for. When you shop for insurance you are going to want to tell them about the DUI upfront since a new customer is going to get the “handy” driving history check. And they can go as far as ten years or more into your driving history although anything past five years may not be held against you.

Worse case scenario is your insurer finds about the DUI then terminates your policy leaving you holding the bag; now shopping for insurance become a little more difficult.

Worse case scenario for a DUI

If you fall into the worse case scenario the most important thing you want to doclock is comply with your state laws and regulations which may lower your auto insurance faster.

  • Attend all of the educational programs which are recommended by the court. Be sure the insurer knows you have attended the programs. Each one should have a certificate.

  • Take a defensive driver course even if you have to pay more out of pocket. This is going to show the insurer you are serious, have made a mistake, and could help you get lower rates since you “went out of your way” to take the course.

  • Keep your driving record clean after the conviction. If you go out to the bars and have a few drinks you may know by now the $50 bucks for a taxi is a lot less then court costs and higher insurance rates.

  • Check your credit score and try to get it as high as possible. This depends on the state, since states like California have banned the use of credit scores. If you raise your credit score this tells the insurer you are more responsible.

locking up after a DUIIf you are in the worse case scenario there is no easy way out, but you can still get insurance and if you follow the recommendations you will be able to put this behind you faster and move on. A DUI will tarnish your driving record with insurance companies, you can do yourself a favor by following a few ideas:

  • Rebuild your driving history

  • Be persistent and have patience

  • Don’t delay the court date since the DUI takes longer to get off your record, i.e. normally three years. (This is for most insurers and it may be case by case, this is not making reference to the state. Most states will keep the DUI on your record for five years. This is depends on the state too).

The dreaded SR-22

If you go to court in your state and they require you to file a SR-22 then your insurance company is going to find out about the DUI for sure. The majority of states are doing this since it is liability document for the state to re-instate insurance when you are convicted for a DUI. In simple terms the state is saying they want to be sure you have the proper insurance (higher insurance rates) after been convicted of a DUI. The amount of time on file is different from state to state.

The good news about insurance after getting a DUI

There are insurance companies which realize many drivers have gotten a DUI and are willing to insure you at a higher rate since they are taking on more risk. You are going to pay more for insurance and the best thing to do is to compare car insurance rates online and call local insurance agents to compare.

In sum, follow the steps, follow the law, comply with the state, get to court as soon as possible (if you can), and get the DUI conviction behind you as soon as possible. It is not the end of the world all you have to is put up with an increase in car insurance rates for a period of time.

Don’t take other people’s word for it

One mistake which happens all of the time is John Doe said he did this or that and was able to get out of a DUI with such and such an attorney. Most of the assumptions are conjecture and not true. You want to look up valid information on government websites to get accurate information. If you are taking your conviction serious then do your homework and do not take another person’s word for it. Not even here, be sure to check your state guidelines.

Greg Fowler

Greg Fowler

Managing Member of AutoInsureSavings LLC, Greg has been in the insurance industry for 12 years and enjoys rebuilding vehicles. His goal is to help drivers save on anything related to automobiles. Travel and enjoying the outdoors are some of his hobbies. The best way to reach him is at his Twitter or Facebook Profile.

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