Can a DUI Affect Your Car Insurance Rates?
Drinking and driving can lead to big consequences. Not only can you end up injuring yourself and others, but if you get caught, you can also face serious legal penalties, including jail time. In addition, if you are convicted of driving under the influence, you can pay again and again in terms of increased insurance rates.
A lot of things affect your insurance rates after you’ve been convicted of a DUI. Here are a few things you need to know:
How Long Does It Stay on Your Record?
A DUI conviction can stay on your insurance record for 10 years, even if it no longer appears on your driving record. While the conviction may no longer affect your license, it can still trigger higher rates for your insurance.
Every year that the DUI remains on your record, you can be charged higher rates. Even if it seems like the rate hike is manageable for the year, you need to consider how much you will be paying over the entire 10-year period. You could easily pay thousands more for your insurance while the conviction is on your record. That’s a lot to have to pay for your mistake.
Why Rates Increase
There are two reasons why your insurance rates increase after a DUI conviction. The first is that driving drunk shows that you are a higher risk to the insurance companies. You are more likely to get in an accident if you are drinking since you have a delayed response time and are not able to make proper judgements. Making the decision to drink and then drive also shows the insurance company that you can make reckless decisions about driving.
The second reason your insurance rates increase after a DUI conviction is that you are no longer eligible for “safe driver” discounts. Even if the only thing that happens is that the discount is lifted, the amount you pay will still be going up.
When Rates Increase
Your insurance company cannot cancel your plan in the middle of your policy, so you may have a few months to prepare after your DUI conviction, depending on where it falls in relation to your term. However, when your policy renews, you can expect your rates to go up immediately. You are welcome to leave your insurance company at that time, but you can expect to face the same increased rates at another company. You may even end up paying much more at another company since you at least have the benefit of longevity if you stay with the same company.
Getting Lower Insurance Rates
There are a couple of things you can do to keep your insurance rates down. You should definitely shop around at as many different insurance companies as you can to get the best quote. You may only save a little bit, but that will add up over time.
The very best thing you can do to keep your insurance rates down is to hire an experienced DUI attorney to represent you. Depending on the circumstances of the case, your attorney may be able to clear you of the charges, ensuring that you never get a conviction on your record and you can enjoy the best insurance rates. You can then use the situation as a wake-up call and pledge to never make the same mistake again. If your attorney cannot clear you of the charges, there’s a chance that he or she can negotiate a lesser charge for you, which could result in fewer penalties and remain on your record for less time.
My AZ Lawyers can help if you have been charged with a DUI in Arizona. Our experienced DUI attorneys will pursue all your legal options to help you get the best outcome for your case, whether that means negotiating a lesser charge or fighting to get the charges dismissed completely. We’ll help you understand your options so you can make the best choice. Our goal is to help you begin moving forward and recovering from your mistake as quickly as possible. Call us in Arizona today to talk with a dedicated DUI lawyer about the options available to you.
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