How A DUI Can Affect Your Car Insurance?

Last Modified: January 22, 2024

A DUI can affect your car insurance adversely. Contact our top rated DUI attorneys for a risk free consultation.

How Does DUI Affect Car Insurance?

If you receive a DUI, you may be faced with financial penalties that include fees, fines, and if an accident were involved, restitution as appropriate for other parties. But that’s not all you have to worry about. Your car insurance can become so costly that you can no longer afford it.

No one needs to see insurance policies get canceled or rates increased from a DUI. But that’s how a DUI can change your driving life. Insurance companies look at driving behavior, court records, and legal findings to determine your insurance rates. A DUI raises a red flag. A Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney can explain how DUI affects your insurance and how you can minimize those additional expenses.

Do I have to report the DUI to my insurance company?

Depending on the circumstances, you don’t always have to report your DUI to your insurance company. If reporting is not required, then the insurance company can only learn of your DUI through other means such as a background check when it comes time to renew your policy or apply for a new one.

The DUI can also come to light if you were in an accident. You would have to report that to your insurance company and the details would involve the DUI charge. The other way the insurance company finds out is if you are asked to provide an SR-22 form to certify that you have insurance.

License suspensions normally occur 30 days after a DUI arrest. It is advisable to get in touch with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney who can help you request a DMV Hearing within the first 10 days to fight the suspension and any SR-22 requirement.

What is an SR-22?

An SR-22 provides certification that you have automobile liability coverage that meets the minimum coverages required by California’s DMV. Those minimums are:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons
  • $5000 for damage to property

You would need to keep the SR-22 proof of insurance coverage for three years. If you let your insurance lapse during this period, the SR-22 will be revoked and the DMV will suspend your license again.

It won’t help to move to another state because the SR-22 requirement transfers with you when you apply for a new license. This is also true for anyone with a DUI who transfers to California and seeks a new license.

Will my car insurance be cancelled after a DUI?

According to California law, your policy cannot be canceled before your policy ends, even after you get a DUI. But when the policy does end, your insurance company can offer a new premium (at a higher rate) or they can legally cancel your policy. You are of course free to seek other insurance companies. California law also requires that insurance companies who renew policies for DUI drivers must remove their 20% “good driver” discounts.

How much will my insurance go up?

Insurance rates depend on many things – such as age, gender, credit score, driving history, city, neighborhood, homeowner or renter, and marital status. With a DUI, the rate can go up an average of 65%. Repeat DUI offenders can expect rate increases much higher – doubling or tripling their original rate.

How long will the DUI stay on my insurance?

The DUI will stay on your driving record for 10 years, and anytime throughout that period, your insurance company may find out about your DUI and raise your rates when they legally can.

The full financial impact on your insurance will last for 7 years. If you can keep from further incidents, your rate should start to come down gradually in 3-5 years. Some insurers take a little longer to pass along this benefit.

After 10 years, the DUI is off your record and cannot affect your insurance any longer.

Are DUI accidents covered by insurance?

Legally, California insurance companies have not been required to pay for damages from intentional and illegal acts. A DUI is an illegal act – but it is usually not intentional. Drivers under the influence do not normally want to hurt anyone. And they don’t want to damage their cars.

But insurance companies may argue that drunk drivers intended to drink and drive, recklessly operated their vehicle, and increased the risk of causing an accident. A Los Angeles Defense Attorney can help litigate this difference of opinion in your favor.

In California, drunk drivers are not always responsible for the accidents they are involved with. They could be involved in accidents caused by other drivers.

What if the accident wasn’t my fault?

California is a “comparative negligence” state, which means that more than one driver may be at fault in an accident. A driver under the influence may be found partly at fault while a sober driver may be found more at fault. In this case, both insurance companies may share the costs.

If another driver is totally at fault and caused the accident, the impaired driver’s insurance company may not have to pay anything. Contact the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys today for immediate assistance

If you find yourself charged with DUI, the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys can help you fight the charges, challenge the need for an SR-22, and help you navigate the insurance process. You have enough bills to pay. You don’t need more.

Contact Attorney Daniel Perlman or Matthew Cohen today at the office of Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys, (310) 557-1700.

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