A Former Prosecutor Defending Clients in Wyoming and South Dakota
A DWUI charge is a gift that keeps on giving. Not only do you need to contend with the difficulties of facing a DWUI charge - the suspended license, the time spent going to court, the expense of hiring a lawyer, and paying fines and court costs associated with defending yourself - you will also find yourself in a higher risk pool when it comes to applying for car insurance.
Depending on the severity of the offense, your risk as a driver, and your social and economic demographics, car insurance companies may raise your rates, require that you purchase high-risk insurance, or cancel your insurance coverage altogether.
Here, we address 5 things you need to know about car insurance after a DWUI charge.
Car insurance companies are in the business of assessing risk. They use formulas and analyse data to calculate a driver’s likelihood of causing an accident in the future. This rating is then used to calculate how much the insurance company will charge to insure each driver.
To assess risk, car insurance companies track statistics - how many accidents are drivers under age 25 involved in? How many of those accidents involved male drivers? Female drivers? What about drivers who have children?
Insurance carriers track and assess statistics on these questions and more.
Your driving record plays a major role in determining the rates you will pay for car insurance. A conviction for DWUI or even a lesser included offense suggests a risky driving history which means higher car insurance rates.
Drivers who have been charged with DWUI have probably driven while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances more than once. And it’s likely that they will do it again.
Because alcohol and intoxicating drugs impair a person’s ability to drivers, people who drive while under the influence are more likely to be involved in accidents.
Even if the DWUI was the result of a mistake that will never happen again, insurance companies will label you as “high risk” for a number of years after the offense.
Most insurance companies offer fairly similar rate increases to drivers who have been convicted of a DWUI. Other standard factors, such as age, gender, the type of car you drive, your credit score, and where you live will come into play.
People who have been convicted of a DWUI can expect to face higher insurance rates. How much higher will depend on the individual driver and the particular insurance company.
Individual circumstances will vary, of course, but for the average first-time DWUI a driver can expect their insurance premiums to increase by several hundred dollars, often for a number of years after the DWUI.
The average cost of car insurance in Wyoming is $1,338 per year, which is 6.2% lower than the national average. A DWUI, considered among the most serious of driving offenses, will increase your annual insurance rates by an average of $845.50 per year.
Even 3 years after a DWUI insurance rates will remain an average of 63% higher than drivers who were not convicted of DWUI.
The increase in the cost of car insurance after a DWUI charge is usually evaluated on a case-by-case basis. A low-speed, minor collision a few blocks from your house will be evaluated differently from a high-speed crash on the interstate that involved injuries to multiple people and where drugs and alcohol were a factor.
After a DWUI conviction, the state may require that you file proof of financial responsibility before you are permitted to drive again. This proof of insurance is known as an SR-22 bond and proves that you carry the state-mandated minimum amount of car insurance.
An SR-22 bond is a form your insurance carrier files with the state department of motor vehicles verifying that you have valid insurance coverage. Your insurance carrier, of course, will charge you extra money for preparing and submitting the form.
An SR-22 bond is often required for three years after a DWUI conviction. If you cancel your insurance or change carriers, your insurer will notify the state and you could be charged with driving without insurance.
If you need to file an SR-22 bond after a DWUI but don’t own a vehicle, you might be eligible for non-owner SR-22 insurance. The price is reduced because you do not have regular access to a car and because you will carry liability only insurance.
While non-owner insurance is by no means comprehensive, it keeps you legal and is a great way to maintain continuous coverage, which will help you receive lower rates in the future.
Some insurance carriers will refuse to renew your insurance policy after a DWUI conviction.
Most insurance policies are written as a mutual, non-binding agreement so that either party can cancel the contract at any time, and for any reason.
If you had coverage in place at the time of your arrest for DWUI your carrier will cover any damages or injuries that occurred in accordance with the terms of the policy, even if your carrier decides to cancel coverage after the DWUI.
Even if your current car insurance carrier drops you, you can still get insurance coverage from another company. Some companies specialize in high-risk insurance. Of course, you’ll pay a higher premium, but it’s better than running the risk of driving without insurance.
You will lose any good driver discounts and will be ineligible for any of these discounts as long as the DWUI remains on your record.
If you have been charged with a DWUI, the team of criminal defense professionals at Just Criminal Law can help. We will evaluate the evidence against you, help minimize the penalties, and might even be able to have the case thrown out. Minimizing the charges against you or having the case thrown out can reduce the chance that the cost of car insurance after a DWUI charge will go up.
You only have one shot at justice. Don’t leave it to chance.
Learn more about why clients choose us, read what other clients have to say, and contact the team of criminal defense professionals at Just Criminal Law today.
Call us at 607-686-6556, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our online form.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.