How DUI or DWI Affects Your Insurance Rates

I was just handed a DWI conviction. I did not have an accident, just the ticket. Is this going to affect my insurance rates? Anonymous

Website Manager Response: In a word; Yes.

We cannot give you a dollar figure because that all depends upon which state you live in, your prior driving record, gender, age, type of car, etc; all of those factors that went into determining your insurance rates in the first place. But it is pretty much a given that your insurance rates will now go up with a DWI (or a DUI) conviction.

It would be a good idea to just bite the bullet (so to speak) and go ahead and let your insurance agent or insurance company know about the conviction. Your insurer is going to find out about it anyway, so don’t try to hide; that might just make things worse. Be proactive: ask if there is anything you can do to soften the impact that your conviction has on your insurance. Will the insurer reconsider the amount of your premium increase if you complete a safe driving course or something similar? Will they reconsider dropping you.

This also might not be the best time to go shopping for another automobile insurance company since the first thing the potential new insurer will do is pull up your driving record.

If you have already been handed the conviction, it is too late to try to plea for a lesser charge, such as reckless or negligent driving. The consequences of a DWI or DUI conviction do not end with a traffic court hearing and fine. The ripple effect can be quite far reaching.

Some automobile insurance companies even have a clause on their policies that allow them to drop drivers with a DUI or DWI conviction. Even if you have multiple policies with the carrier, it may not matter; you have suddenly become that great of a risk.

Many states do have mandatory insurance laws so even if you are dropped by your current insurance company, you may be able to get coverage with a state-run insurer, such as Gainsco Insurance Company or Maryland’s MAIF (the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund). But be prepared for the bill; you are going to pay more because your DUI or DWI makes you a higher risk to the insurance company.

This article is approved for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel. We do not give legal advice.

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