Let’s face it, these days everyone wants to do what they can to save money. We all try to cut as many unnecessary costs out of our budget as we possibly can while still maintaining the same lifestyle that we’ve become accustomed to. At times, you will come across things in your budget that you may view as a necessity as well as things that you feel you can’t adjust. In some instances this is correct, but many times with things like car insurance it becomes more of a matter of being lazy as opposed to not being able to do anything about it.
Let’s dig into this topic a little deeper, if you think about it there are hundreds if not thousands of companies which offer car insurance. Every day, we are bombarded with ads from them to switch over and give them our business. Often times, you can save some money here and there if you do your research and get a quote from different companies, but while this may seem easy, if you ended up with a DUI on your record, this can be extremely difficult to accomplish.
Now that the topic of DUI has come up, many people take it less seriously than it actually is. Just because it’s not handled as other criminal charges may be, this doesn’t mean that it’s something to overlook. Many people understand the risk of jail time and the cost of bail and other fees, but along with that you also have your DUI attorneys fee and not to mention your car insurance goes up also! If you’ve never thought about these added fees and consequences, let’s break down the process of attempting to lower your car insurance with a DUI or DWI on your record.
Dealing With A First-Time Offense
If you’ve received a DUI and this was your very first time receiving one, you may not know exactly where to go from here. Typically, your insurance rates have gone up and you’re not sure if there’s anything you can do about it. Well, lucky for you there is! If your current insurance company did not drop you after receiving your DUI, check what your rate was increased to and compare your new rates to other DUI car insurance carriers. This isn’t hard to do, just do a few searches online and typically you will be able to receive an online quote, or at the very least a quote from a representative over the phone.
Another option that you may want to consider before even checking other companies, is to speak with your insurance company and see if they can do anything to help lower your rates before you give your business to someone else. You may want to consult some DUI attorneys prior to calling your insurance company as they may be able to lend you a hand and even give you some advice as to how to proceed. Often times they may charge you fees, but paying a one-time fee saves money in the long run as opposed to paying continuously higher rates on your car insurance.
My rates have increased, how long will they stay like this?
Depending on a few variables, such as whether or not this was your first-time offense, your car insurance will typically reflect your DUI for a minimum of three years. Keep in mind this varies from state to state as well as whether or not you’ve received a DUI in the past. This being said, once your rates have increased you will then be required to carry an SR 22 insurance policy.
As you most likely have already found out, once you’ve received a DUI, you will lose your license for a minimum of 30 days. After this, as I said you’ll need to get a SR-22 certificate filled out. This will need to be produced at the time of requesting the return of your license. Not only this, but you will need to carry this wherever you drive as well. Please keep in mind that not all insurance companies offer insurance for an SR 22, so you may be forced to leave your current insurance company and explore other possibilities as they may not accept you.
Finding An Insurance Company That Provides SR 22 Policies
At first this may seem like it may be difficult, the main thing that you need to keep in mind is that the largest insurance companies will most likely be the ones to decline your business. They have enough customers to keep them going in that they don’t need to invest in you as a high-risk driver to keep making money. On the other hand, the smaller insurance companies need as many customers as they can get and if that means taking high-risk drivers as their customers, they most likely will do so.
Keep in mind, that often times car insurance after a DUI can be 2 to 3 times as high as normal insurance because there is less competition to drive the pricing down as well as your safe driving benefits that you may have previously acquired are now null and void. The best thing to do at this point is just compare as many rates as possible. While this may be time-consuming now, the time is an investment to save you money in the long run.
I have my SR 22, am I now free to drive?
At this point, as long as you’re carrying your certificate, you are free to drive your own vehicle. If you do not own a car, or you plan on driving someone else’s vehicle, you need to be carrying a non-owners SR-22 policy as well. The reason for this is because if you were to crash a friend’s vehicle that you were driving with their permission, their liability insurance will pay out compensation up to the point of their policies limit. Once the limit is reached, your non-owners insurance will cover the remaining costs for damages or injuries.
The last thing that you need to remember is that a non-owners SR-22 policy does not cover any vehicle within your household. The reason for this is very detailed and I would suggest to talk to some DUI attorneys about why this is as they could better explain it then I could myself. In short, a non-owners policy only covers utilizing someone else’s vehicle with their permission as long as they are outside of your family. If you don’t follow the new rules set in place, consequences will follow and if you’ve already received a DUI, so you need to avoid consequences as often as you can.
Ready To Take Action
If you’ve read this far and you’re ready to take action at this point, the first thing you need to do is start comparing rates. If you decide to skip this, you may end up with your SR 22, but you will most likely be paying more than you need to as there may be companies who offer a cheaper rate. Be sure you’ve spoken with someone who could further inform you of all of the legal ramifications that are now in place as you are now considered a high-risk driver. Make sure you fully understand what you can and cannot do from this point on in order to be sure that you don’t increase your insurance policy even more by violating rules unknowingly. From there on out, all that you need to do is follow the new rules that have been set in place and wait for your insurance to return back to its original rate over time.