DUI and SR22 Insurance –
The Largest DUI Related Expense
by Michael Phillips, California DUI Defense Attorney
You may be under the impression that legal fees are the largest expense related to DUI charges, however that’s far from the truth. The reality is that increased auto insurance premiums, an often overlooked consequence of a DUI conviction, can be by far the largest associated expense.
What is SR22 Auto Insurance?
SR22 is a certificate of financial responsibility (CFR) that the state may require and can be provided by your insurance company to prove that you have adequate liability coverage. Although it is often referred to as insurance, an SR22 is actually a proof of insurance and not a standard policy. SR22s are only required for insurance policies that are considered to be high-risk due to prior behavior or criminal convictions of the driver. The state can demand that you obtain SR22 insurance after you have been convicted of either a DUI or DWI and, often times, it is required in order to have your license reinstated after a suspension or revocation.
The SR22 endorsement serves as a backup for your primary policy and aids the DMV in immediately suspending your driver’s license if your policy lapses.
How Much Does it Cost?
According to Orange County, California DUI defense attorney Michael S. Phillips of The Law Offices of Todd Landgren, “Many of our clients are prepared to pay for legal fees and court costs, but are completely caught off guard when they realize that insurance costs trump their other DUI related expenses.”
So how much will an SR22 set you back? Although the exact cost will differ depending on the insurance company, one fact remains constant; adding an SR22 to your existing insurance policy can make your premiums skyrocket, or may result in your insurance company dropping your policy. In addition to the filing fee for the SR22 endorsement itself, your monthly car insurance rates will increase substantially. This premium increase will follow your request for an SR22 endorsement because the request itself necessarily alerts your insurance company to the fact that your risk level has increased by the underlying cause for the suspension. With your premiums adjusted to reflect a higher risk driving record following suspension, you will be lumped into the top tier of car insurance fees, often adding 40%-100%+ to your bill.
But that’s not all. After being convicted of a DUI or DWI, the state will usually require that you remain labeled as “high-risk” for a period of at least three years. This means that you are typically required to carry the SR22 endorsement and pay the highest rates for the first three years. Increased premiums will persist for at least seven (7) years in California due to loss of the California safe driver discount. Many experience higher rates for ten (10) years, the time period for which drivers are subject to enhanced DUI related penalties following a DUI related license suspension. Per the California DMV, “…drivers with a DUI violation occurring within the past 10 years are not entitled to receive a good driver discount.”
An expert DUI defense attorney can give you valuable advice to help minimize all DUI related costs, including the costs you incur in obtaining the required insurance policy endorsement from a reputable and specialized insurance provider, such as Breathe Easy Insurance.
Is There Anything You Can Do?
Hire an experienced, local criminal defense attorney who focuses solely on DUI law.
Many drivers waste a lot of money by continuing in the high-risk category with their existing insurance providers. Expert help is available to minimize the damage that DUI arrests typically do to the reputations, careers, and finances of people who find themselves with the increasingly common need for DUI help.
Remember, there are many additional DUI related expenses. One mistake or bad decision could cost you quite a bit over the next few years.
If you are in need of SR22 insurance and want to help minimize the increase of your current premium, please call 866.822.7755 and let Breathe Easy Insurance handle it for you!