So you had one drink too many at a late-night party, and you were confident you would make it home without any trouble, but you were wrong. You eventually found yourself in police custody for DWI, and you wondered how you got there in the first place.
A DWI charge is no laughing matter, and you know that there are serious implications around it. A possible conviction is on top of the list, but one important thing you might miss is how a DWI can also greatly affect your insurance rates. It is not something you want to worry about at the moment since there are more important things to think about like a possible license suspension. That is highly understandable, but not considering the effect of the DWI charge in your insurance rates can be detrimental in the long run.
Here are four ways a DWI can affect your insurance rates:
1. Having A Tainted Driving Record
A DWI charge can mean huge fines, court costs and license suspension. It can also mean having a DWI conviction on your driving record. The latter can put a stigma on you even after the legal interactions have ended. Insurance companies request for your driving record and seeing a DWI conviction can mean a higher premium. This goes the same when you’re renewing your auto policy.
2. Paying Higher Premiums As a High-Risk Driver
Having a DWI charge places you in the high-risk category of auto insurance. This means having a more difficult time getting an affordable insurance. This is not ideal especially if you are on a tight budget. With a history of DWI on your driving record, there is even a possibility for insurance companies not to insure you. If they are willing to insure you, be prepared to spend a good amount of money for it.
One thing you want to avoid is for your insurance company to cancel your policy. If this happens, you will need to look for a new insurance company who will consider both your DWI and insurance cancellation records. This does not sound good, and it can mean a much higher premium for you.
3. Filing An SR-22
A DWI conviction that results in a driver’s license suspension is required to file an SR-22 with DPS and maintain coverage for two years starting from the date of the conviction. It serves as a proof of financial responsibility and that you are properly insured. This is also a requirement so the DMV can lift your license suspension.
Often, the insurance company will file this for you, but this depends, so it is best to check with them. Some insurance companies do not offer SR-22 policies and can just cancel your insurance. Depending on the gravity of the situation, you may need to show proof of auto insurance for several years to keep a valid license.
Filing an SR-22 puts you in a higher risk with insurance companies and your rates can remain high for a number of years after your DWI conviction.
4. Adverse Effect on Your Family’s Insurance Rates
Having a DWI conviction does not only affect you, but it also affects your whole family. A serious case like this requires your family to be involved financially, emotionally and psychologically. In terms of auto insurance, it can also affect some of them especially your spouse or your parents. If you listed any of them as drivers of your vehicle on your auto policy, they might also experience a rate increase.
Insurance companies gather information on the vehicle owner and other drivers in the household. This is where they base the cost of the insurance. If the policyholder has a DWI conviction, there is a big chance that the other members of the household will need to pay a higher premium as well. Although a DWI conviction is a serious matter, it is not the end of the world for you. Insurers review the offenses on a case-to-case basis. If this is your first offense and you have an excellent driving record, the increase in rates may only be marginal. Repeat offenders, however, are a big risk for insurers and can result in high premiums or insurance cancellations. This is a tricky matter if you are not familiar with how insurance companies work. If you have a DWI conviction, and you want to know how this might affect your insurance, having an experienced attorney can help you make your next step.