The Impact of DUI on Auto Accident Insurance

The Impact of DUI on Auto Accident Insurance
Driving under the influence (DUI) has an undeniable and serious impact on auto accident insurance. Although it seems harmless fun, one factor in particular can have an immediate, dramatic and long-term negative effect. When drivers make the careless choice of having too much to drink and getting behind the wheel, they put themselves, their passengers and other drivers at risk.

The consequences of a DUI conviction typically involve significantly higher insurance premiums. Depending on the DUI’s severity, the court may require a mandatory policy to cover the foreseeable damage associated with the conviction. This policy may include collision, comprehensive and rental car coverage as well as additional cost for the monitoring devices used as part of the driver’s rehabilitation. All of this can add up to hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in additional premiums over a few years.

What many drivers don’t factor in is the damage a DUI conviction will cause to their auto insurance record. While a first-time DUI may only result in a fine, for example, any future DUIs or even insurance claims related to a DUI-related accident can substantially increase the insurance premiums. Insurance companies will often view someone convicted of a DUI with suspicion, and will increase the premiums as a way of protecting their own interests.

The effects of having a DUI on auto accident insurance can be especially severe for younger drivers, who are often already paying more for insurance because of their age and lack of experience. The addition of a DUI conviction can cause the premiums to skyrocket. Moreover, some companies may choose not to cover someone with a DUI conviction, meaning the only option for coverage may be a very expensive one.

Some states offer low-cost automobile insurance programs specifically designed for DUI offenders, and in some cases, this can be a way of reducing the impact. These programs are typically only available for those convicted of a first-time DUI with limited DUI-related damage to the vehicle. They also have certain limitations and restrictions, including designations on the policy about the use of alcohol and the law, which can be difficult to follow.

Being charged with DUI can also cause a driver to lose the required amount of insurance they need to meet the legal minimums in that state. Depending upon the state, this could mean the suspension of the driver’s license, or even a court-required increase in the amount of coverage. This could result in higher premiums and deductibles, as well as additional costs to reinstate a suspended license.

One way to protect against the high costs associated with DUI is to take the time to review coverage options before entering into a policy. Since the premium costs of some insurers may be more expensive than those of others for those with a DUI conviction, it’s important to shop around and compare the costs. Ask around for local recommendations from friends and family, search online for customer reviews and check out websites like Insurify and the Better Business Bureau to compare prices and make sure companies have no negative reviews.

Another way to keep auto insurance costs down in the face of a DUI conviction is to complete a driving safety course or alcohol education program. These courses help to demonstrate to the insurance company that the driver has taken steps to improve their safety and driving behavior. This can be especially beneficial for younger drivers, as it helps to establish a history of good driving habits that will lead to lower premiums in the future.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the consequences of a DUI conviction are not limited to the auto accident insurance. For those convicted, DUI can result in other severe penalties such as jail time, license suspension, probation, community service and court-required programs to address chemical dependency. In the worst cases, there may also be criminal charges lodged and the potential for further legal troubles.

The bottom line is that a DUI can have a significant impact not only on your auto accident insurance, but in many aspects of your life. The best way to avoid these kinds of consequences is to be mindful of the law and make informed decisions when it comes to drinking and driving. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having been charged with a DUI, speak with an attorney who can help you understand the legal ramifications and negotiate the lowest possible auto insurance rates.

To sum up, DUI has a significant and sometimes long-term impact on auto accident insurance. In addition to increased premiums, many policies are amended to include collision and comprehensive coverage, making the overall cost even higher. Young drivers with a DUI are particularly vulnerable to these higher costs. There are ways of mitigating the financial effects of a DUI conviction, however, such as shopping for the best coverage and taking driving safety courses. Its also important to bear in mind that there are other types of penalties associated with a DUI conviction, including jail time and license suspension.

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