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Car Insurance After a DUI in California

After getting convicted of a DUI in California, not only have you had to deal with the criminal DUI penalties, fines, and fees. A driver with a DUI conviction may impact your ability to drive for years to come. This includes added insurance costs, ignition interlock devices, and steps to get back your license to drive.

What will happen to my insurance after a DUI?

Once your insurance company becomes aware of your DUI they may raise your rates or drop you from coverage at the end of your term of coverage. Even if you don't tell your insurance company about a DUI arrest or conviction, they may find out when it is time to renew your policy or if the driver needs an SR-22 certificate

Insurance companies evaluate the level of risk for their drivers based on a number of factors, including age, type of car, tickets, accidents, and DUI convictions. The level of perceived risk directly impacts your insurance premiums. Having a DUI conviction is a high-risk red flag for the insurance company and is likely to significantly increase your monthly premiums.

Can my auto insurance company drop me after I get a DUI?

Just like you have the ability to shop around and change insurance companies, your auto insurance company can fail to renew your policy if they deem that insuring you is too risky of a proposition. The insurance company can also increase premiums so much that it does not make sense for you to stay with the same insurance company. In most cases, they will keep you as a policyholder but greatly increase your insurance premiums as much as two to three times.

What is an SR 22 and do I need it?

In order to be able to drive again, most drivers with a DUI will be required to obtain an SR 22 California Proof of Insurance Certificate. An SR-22 is a certificate that shows proof of financial responsibility. This is generally a requirement after a DUI conviction, or for other major driving violations. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires an SR 22, or your license will be suspended. If your insurance company cancels your policy, they will immediately notify the DMV of your non-coverage. SR 22 coverage is generally required for 3 years after a DUI. 

A driver will also be required to purchase minimum auto insurance coverage as a condition of being allowed to drive again. After you have secured an insurance policy meeting these minimums, your insurance company will verify you have the minimum coverage. In addition, you will have to pay for the fees associated with an SR 22 filing.  

Although you can always buy higher insurance coverage, the minimum liability under California law is 15/30/5, or:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident. 

How long will a DUI affect my insurance?

In California, your driving record will show a DUI offense going back for a period of ten years. After 10 years, your DUI offense should automatically be removed from your public driving record. The time period increased in 2007, intended by legislators to discourage DUIs. Admin Per Se actions (even if you are not criminally convicted) will be reported for 3 years from the reinstatement date, through date, act-term date, or term date, whichever is earliest.

For your insurance company, they will likely maintain a higher premium for at least 3 years, while you are required to carry an SR 22 certificate of financial responsibility. For some insurance companies, you may be denied a safe-driver discount for ten years. Depending on your policy, this can add up to thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums as a result of getting a DUI.

How can I get my driver's license back?

After a DUI, you will have to meet certain requirements to reinstate your revoked or suspended driver's license. Depending on the charge, you may have to wait for the end of your suspension period before you can get a license again, pay associated fines, and complete a DUI program. After you have completed the requirements for reinstatement, you will have to show proof of SR-22 filing, and pay the required fees to the DMV. 

Avoid an Insurance Rate Hike After a Drunk Driving Arrest

Most of the time, your insurance company will find out about your DUI, and increase your premiums as a result. In some cases, your insurance company may not become aware of your DUI. However, the DMV will still require proof of an SR 22 in order to be able to drive again. Getting an SR 22 from your insurance company would put them on notice that you may likely be a high-risk driver.

The best way to avoid expensive insurance increases is to avoid a criminal DUI conviction in the first place. There are many defenses available to drunk driving and drug DUI charges in the East Bay. Talk to your local DUI defense lawyer for advice and help to keep your license and a clean record. 

Contra Costa County DUI Attorney Representation:

Whether you are arrested while driving in Fremont, Oakland, Berkeley, Dublin, or anywhere else in Contra Costa or Alameda counties, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the DUI laws and DMV regulations. With over 37 years of DUI experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a DUI will affect your insurance requirements, and ability to drive in the future. Contact our office today for help with your DUI.

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