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How Does a DUI in California Affect Car Insurance Rates?

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When the courts convict you of or charges you with Driving Under the Influence, or what some states refer to as Driving While Intoxicated, the financial and legal headaches that follow could be quite severe and lengthy. To make sure that you are prepared fully for what follows, it is important to retain a qualified DUI attorney who will assist with your legal proceedings.

In case you opt to enter a guilty plea with the hope of reducing the charges, you still require a DUI lawyer who will do your court filings. It is in your best interest to hire a DUI expert who knows California law, knows the court system, and is respected by the judge.

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While people talk about SR22 policies, insurance companies do not write specific Driving Under the Influence insurance policies, although they may appear to market something like that. If you are involved in a DUI, the policy you’ll need to purchase is still the regular motor vehicle liability policy, but with monthly premium at times 3 to 5 times higher than the liability policy issued to a driver who has a clean driving record. Additionally, the insurance company will need to submit an SR22 form on your behalf with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

How long does a Driving Under the Influence Conviction Remain on the Driving Record?

California law requires that a DUI conviction remain on your driving record for 10 years. If you were enjoying some special privileges from the insurance company before the conviction, such as safe driver discounts, they will disappear once your insurance company discovers that you have been involved with a DUI. This is because your insurer will have updated your driving record and placed you in the high-risk category.

How long does a DUI affect car insurance?

You can expect a Driving Under the Influence conviction to impact your insurance rates for approximately 7 years. While it does remain on your driving record for 10 years, each year that passes without any additional negative marks on your record, the less weight the conviction holds regarding your rate calculation. Once your DUI has been dropped from your driving record, it is wise for you shop for coverage with a new carrier who is not aware of your past conviction so that you may obtain the best possible rates.

What if the Driving Under the Influence gets expunged?

Getting a conviction for driving under the influence expunged or removed from your driving record is an option. In California, an expunged conviction can still be held as sufficient evidence of a previous conviction. The DUI can affect your car insurance rates even after being expunged if you remain with the carrier who is already aware of your conviction. Such expunged infractions will normally not be visible to credit insurers, potential employers, or others who may be trying to carry out a check on your background, but if a company is already aware of the conviction, it doesn’t matter if it is expunged, since they already know about it.

What is an SR22?

Drivers convicted for reckless driving, Driving Under the Influence, or driving without current insurance are required by the court to have motor vehicle insurance policies for at least the minimum coverage amounts required by the state of California. Evidence that you meet these insurance minimums is required before you could get your license reinstated. The proof required is the California SR22 insurance.

An SR22 is a certificate that proves your financial responsibility and is a document that your insurer must file with your state California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as proof that you are carrying the required coverage. In case you allow your policy to lapse, miss a payment, or even cancel your auto policy, your insurance company will revoke the SR22, which gets your license re-suspended.

When you need to submit California SR22 certificate, be certain that the carrier is aware and is able to file the SR22 on your behalf. As you shop for an insurer, you must ask about this, as failure to do so will cause you a great deal of time and frustration — and possibly money too.

Difference between FR44 insurance and California SR22 insurance

There are currently only two states in the US requiring the filling of FR44 insurance: Virginia and Florida. The FR44 acts as evidence of insurance certificate requiring the driver to have liability limits that are higher on their motor vehicle insurance policy owing to a driving while intoxicated conviction. California does not require you to file an FR44, an SR22 is sufficient to meet the state’s minimum requirements.

Non-owner Policy Car SR22 insurance

If you are no longer the owner of a motor vehicle, obtaining non-owner SR22 insurance could become a good method of keeping your premiums up-to-date without wrecking your budget. The prices are generally lower because these kinds of policies only provide you with motor vehicle liability coverage.

Will an Out-of-State Conviction be transferred to the Home State?

In nearly every US state, the answer is yes. For example, if you were convicted of a DUI in Iowa, but have since moved to California and now you are convicted of a new DUI, once California discovers your previous conviction in Iowa, the state will treat your new conviction as a second offense.

The fastest way for a state to find out about your driving record is through the National Driver Register (NDR). State DMVs are required to update the NDR regarding all revocations, suspensions, and license denials no later than 31 days of their updating within their system.

Bottom Line

Once you’ve even been charged with driving under the influence, you’re going to face challenges with your car insurance. No matter the DUI outcome, your motor vehicle insurance rates are going to increase once your insurer gets wind of it. The best defense that you can mount when facing a DUI is to accept the outcomes of your actions, secure legal representation and consult an SR22 insurance professional who is has methods to reduce the costs and long-term impact of having a DUI on your record.

Speak with a Breathe Easy SR22 expert and get back on the road today! Call now at 866.822.7755!