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DUI Can Cancel Your Car Insurance

Car insurance is expensive enough for people who have a good driving record; a drinking and driving offense on your record can make coverage much more expensive and can even end up getting you canceled from your policy. DUI can cancel your car insurance for several reasons. If you are on a preferred driver policy with your provider, they may be forced to cancel or not renew you because they can no longer give you coverage under your old terms once you are classified as a high-risk driver.

Rate Increases Almost Inevitable After a DUI

Most everyone, especially those who were previously classified as preferred drivers with their providers, feels the financial pinch of getting a DUI or a DWI ticket. Aside from the legal and court fees and other non-insurance costs related to getting yourself through the legal process following this sort of event, your insurance costs will normally skyrocket. If your insurance company is able to keep you on as a customer, you will be moved from preferred to high-risk status, making renewal uncertain and at the minimum, making your rates much higher.

As mentioned above, certain insurance companies have no provisions for getting coverage for high-risk drivers. If your car insurance company is one of these, they may have to cancel you, or they may simply decide not to renew your policy when it expires. The best you can hope for is non-renewal in this situation, even if you are faced with an amended rate for the remainder of the coverage cycle, because it at least gives you a little time to look around for high-risk coverage before your current plan expires. Non-renewal is also highly preferred over cancellation because if you are cancelled, you give your next car insurance company one more item to use against you when they determine your premium rates. A cancellation or a gap in coverage can cost you a lot of money over the time it stays on your record.

It is possible that your DUI ticket may not appear on your record. Many car insurance providers only check the driving records of their customers every so often, sometimes only once every several years. If your current provider has not yet found out about your ticket, your best bet is just to sit tight and not make any noise about it. Keep your policy current and up-to-date by paying your bills in full and on time, and not letting a lapse in coverage occur. If you are given the chance to renew at your current rates, take advantage of them for as long as they are available. Above all, do not switch insurance companies in this situation, because any company evaluating a new customer will pull their driving record, so as a new customer you will be found out.

It is important to stress that you should not try to cover up or be dishonest about your DUI with your insurance company. There is a fine line between not volunteering information about your offense, and lying about it or trying to hide the truth if you are asked about it. Once an insurance provider comes across your case, they will find out anyway. Copping to the truth may help your cause, and you may find that your provider is willing to work with you to find some way to keep you on as a customer.

Car Insurance Options For DUI Drivers

If you are hit with a DUI ticket, your options for finding affordable coverage become much more limited than they would be if you were still in the preferred driver classification with auto insurance companies. In most states, you will have to file an SR-22 form, which is simply a form you file with the state DMV proving that you carry liability insurance. They also require your insurance company to notify the state Department of Motor Vehicles if your car insurance policy is ever cancelled for any reason. This is a form only required of those who are classified as high-risk drivers by auto insurance companies. SR-22 policies are much more expensive than standard car insurance policies, but they at least keep you out on the road. Some companies, however, do not even carry SR-22 policies, so if you are a client of one of these companies, you will be cancelled and you'll have no choice but to find a new car insurance provider.

How to Counteract DUI Car Insurance Rate Increases

The overall cost of a car insurance policy through a high-risk provider may be several times higher than what you once paid for insurance when you were classified as a preferred driver. There is no getting around it: the financial cost of getting a DUI is severe, and it does not stop with all the fines and court fees involved in getting your driver's license back and trying to get your life back together. The higher cost of insurance can linger for years, with most states requiring SR-22 filings for a minimum of three years after a DUI, and some insurance companies charging increased rates for drivers they consider high-risk for even longer than that. Even so, there are some things you can do to try to counteract the financial effects of your DUI ticket on your car insurance.

First and foremost, be sure not to make the same choices that got you in trouble the first time. If you must drink, do not drive, plain and simple. Make sure you have a designated driver, or take a cab, or just stay home. Make sure to model the kind of law-abiding behavior the courts and your insurance company will want to see from you as time goes by. This also extends to simply obeying the rules of the road when you drive. Do not speed, always wear your safety belt, and drive safely and defensively to avoid accidents and other claims. Work to rebuild your driver profile in a positive way, so that when your DUI comes off your record, you can start fresh and look to regain your preferred driver status, a status which can save you an awful lot of money in the long run.

But in the meantime, you have to make the best of your situation. Whether you are facing cancellation or non-renewal, you need to find a solution to your insurance problem. You have to have coverage if you want to be out on the road. Find every avenue possible to reduce your rates to make them more palatable. Work on increasing your deductibles to see what effect they may have on your premiums. Consider reducing your coverage if you drive an older car. Find out if you might qualify for discounts for membership in civic organizations, alumni clubs or other groups.

The truth is that your DUI is going to cost you a lot of money on your insurance over the course of the next few years. But you shouldn't just sit back and take it. Make better choices behind the wheel to minimize the long-term financial impact of your ticket, and do the best you can in the meantime to come up with affordable coverage.

 

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