Car Insurance Rates on Skyrocketing

Having a few drinks after work and then getting in your car to drive home may not seem like a big deal but it can have a huge impact on your car insurance premiums if you are pulled over and found to be driving under the influence (DUI). A DUI is one of the most damaging things that can happen to both your driving record and your insurance premium.

Driving under the influence happens more often than most people would think. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010 there was an alcohol related death in the U.S every 51 minutes. Over 1.41 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics according to the FBI.

While it is possible that your insurer may not find out about your DUI immediately, eventually it will come to light. Insurers do not check your driving record every year, which may leave your DUI undetected unless the state you are in requires notification. However, once an insurer becomes aware of a DUI you can expect skyrocketing rates or even cancellation of coverage.

The laws regarding DUI’s and auto insurance will vary by state. Each state sets their own blood alcohol limits as well as policies regarding notification of the drivers insurance company and whether the driver must seek coverage in a high-risk pool.

Many states require drivers to obtain a SR-22 form from their auto insurer which will immediately bring your infraction to the attention of your insurance company.

The SR-22 is basically a certificate of financial responsibility that the state requires to get your license reinstated.

Each state will notify drivers who need to carry a SR-22 what the minimum car insurance limits they must have to get their license back. When the proper coverage is purchased the insurer will file the SR-22 with the state verifying that you have insurance coverage.

Not all insurance companies even offer SR-22 coverage so you may be cancelled and have to find a new insurer.

Once filed you will need to carry a SR-22 for a certain number of years. It will vary by state but in most cases it is at least 3 years and often runs to five years. If you cancel your insurance or are dropped due to non-payment your insurer will immediately notify the state and your license and/or vehicle registration will be suspended.