Will getting a DUI conviction affect my car insurance rates? How would the insurance company find out about it?
The insurance compnay usually runs an annual check on a person's driving abstract near the time when the insured wants to renew the policy. It depends on the insurance company's policy and the insured's length of time and history of any driving offenses. An individual can call up their insurance company and ask hypothetical questons to see where they would stand.
Although I am not an insurance agent, I do know that insurance companies will raise rates for persons convicted of DUI. The amount would depend upon your prior driving record and whether you have previous convictions. A DUI conviction will also result in the need for the driver to obtain “high-risk” (i.e. SR-22) insurance in addition to their regular liability and/or comprehensive coverage. The driver will be required to carry the high-risk insurance for a period of at least three years.
The Department of Licensing (DOL) is notified by the court of any DUI conviction. In turn, your insurance provider will most assuredly find out that you have a conviction when they perform their scheduled checks with the DOL or you apply for renewal or a new policy.
Please contact me to discuss the implications of a DUI charge in Washington State.
If you are insured in a different state than Washington, the laws (and the likelihood of a DUI crashing your insurance rates or cancelling your policy) may vary. In South Carolina, every "moving" violation gets reported to the Department of Public Safety. By law, every reported violation is also reported to the Insurance company with whom you are insured in that state. This automatically increases your insurance bill.This system of immediate reporting is called an "integrated" system.
By contrast, in Georgia, the burden for finding out about a DUI or other moving violation falls to each insurance company. There is no "integrated" system presently in Georgia. Typically, the only time the insurance company discovers a problem is when a claim is made (e.g., after an accident, when a change in vehicles requires adding a new vehicle or removing one, or whenever the company's own internal rules call for a random check. For any family with children age 25 or younger --- even as young as 12 --- annual "checks" of any traffic accidents or traffic citations may be made by a diligent insurer.
Finally, all states have statutes that require two things: (1) a guideline for determining how long an insurance company can INCREASE your rates after a traffic violation or suspension; and (2) provisions for how "high risk" drivers will get insurance through a pooled risk system where all approved insurance companies MUST take a prorata share of these dangerous drivers. This type of certificate is commonly referred to as "SR-22" or as "assigned risk" policies. The word "SR-22" is really not a type of insurance, but rather proof that you have certain types of insurance (based upon the financial responsbility laws of your state). Simply, it is a form which must be filed by the insurance company to the state (Department of Motor Vehicles) stating that auto liability insurance is in effect for a particular individual.
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