DUI Convictions and Insurance
very state has different laws regarding DUI convictions and every insurance company has different policies to try to help you dig yourself out of conviction-related incidents.
If you get a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) conviction, your insurance rate will undoubtedly go up. Maybe the premiums will even double! This is the result of the Zero-Tolerance laws that went into effect in 1995. The only states that do not have these laws are South Carolina and Massachusetts, but they are considering them.
Depending upon your past driving record and the insurance company that you use, you may not have a choice about what happens to your insurance coverage. Some policies are written as conservative risk insurance that will automatically cancel you once you have been convicted and they find out about it.
Some insurance companies will cancel your current automobile coverage policy once you have been convicted, and will then offer you SR-22 insurance, which is much higher; but it’s about all you can get under this circumstance.
It must be maintained for 3 years and then, if you have no more convictions, you may resume "normal" insurance. Some companies do not even offer SR-22 insurance, so they will simply cancel you and you must find a completely different company that is willing to work with you.
SR-22 insurance means that your insurance company must notify the state where your license is issued if you have any lapses in insurance coverage. This notice can lead to total revocation of your license until you obtain coverage again.
Still other companies are not allowed to cancel you mid-term even with a conviction due to local laws. Find out what your state does and discuss this issue with your insurance company before it happens to you so that you can be prepared for all possibilities.
In most states, your insuring company will check for DUI convictions every three years as part of their normal operating procedure. Even if they miss the conviction initially, they have up to three years to cancel and/or raise your premiums! Even if no traffic accident occurs, finding new insurance can be the biggest cost you face when convicted of drunk driving.