Can You Get Discount Car Insurance with a DUI?
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you may believe that from now on you’ll be forced to pay high premiums on your car insurance. Even if you’ve had a DUI conviction, however, you can still eventually qualify for a discount rate on your car insurance — but it may take some time. Here are a few facts you should know.
DUI and Insurance Spikes
Once you’ve been convicted of a DUI and it’s on your driving record, insurance companies will increase your premium substantially. Depending upon where you live, your rates could even triple or quadruple, and you may only qualify for a so-called “high-risk” type of policy. In addition, if you had any type of safe-driving or preferred status on your existing policy, it will automatically be revoked. Likewise, some insurance companies may drop your policy altogether — even if you’re arrested for DUI but not convicted.
Although this is unavoidable, it’s not permanent. The duration of this rate hike will depend largely upon where you live, because insurance guidelines are governed by state laws. Typically, a DUI conviction will raise your rates for a minimum of three to five years. In some states, such as California, a DUI will keep your rates raised for as long as ten years. During this time period, you won’t be eligible for any type of safe-driver discount, even if your driving record is otherwise impeccable.
Getting an SR-22
Once your driver’s license is reinstated after a DUI conviction, some states require you to get an SR-22, which is a special proof-of-insurance certificate to show that you’re financially responsible and that you’re carrying the proper amount of insurance. You’ll need to carry your SR-22 in your car at all times for a period of one to five years, depending upon your state’s insurance laws.
Getting Discount Rates
The best chance you have of not getting a rate increase is if you live in a state that doesn’t require an SR-22 filing. In these states, it’s entirely possible that an insurance company can be completely unaware of a DUI conviction. In addition, you may be able to get your conviction removed from your records by going to driving school or offering a plea bargain. In these cases, your insurance company may never find out about the DUI conviction. If they find out several years later, however, you may still be penalized with a substantial rate increase.
Otherwise, the best chance you have of getting a discount is to just be patient and wait for the minimum requirement of years to pass. Once it’s over, then if you’ve maintained an impeccable driving record with no more violations or convictions, you may be able to qualify again for a safe driver discount.
For more information about how insurance rates and discounts are affected by a DUI or get an SR22 filing in your state, call 866-663-7561.