Everybody makes mistakes — to err is human, after all. But if you get behind the wheel while intoxicated, that`s not just a mistake. That`s endangerment. Because of the serious dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, you`ll face serious consequences. Court fees, legal representation, and other costs will add up quickly. Plus, if there`s an accident involved, your drunk driving insurance coverage might not cover the damage to your own vehicle and person. Still, you can get insurance coverage after a DUI; there`s always a way forward. So let`s take a look at several things to know about getting auto insurance after a DUI.
#1 – You can Get Coverage, But it will be Pricey
If the number one thing you`re worried about after getting a DUI is your insurance coverage, then take heart! More often than not, your insurer will be willing to continue providing coverage to you, even after a DUI.
Especially if this is your first offense, it`s highly unlikely for your current provider to completely cancel your coverage. They may even offer a one-time forgiveness incentive, though you normally need to have this added to your policy before the incident.
However, this isn`t always the case. Sometimes, your insurer will completely cancel your coverage and not allow you to renew. So what if you`re in that kind of situation? Can you get coverage at all?
Most likely, you can get coverage, but it`ll cost you. In fact, it`s likely that your premium rates will triple after a DUI. But that`s the price you`ll have to pay if you choose to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
Look, we all know the risks involved with drunk driving. We know that getting behind the wheel, even after you`ve only had one drink, is inherently risky and can involve fines.
Depending on your blood alcohol level and in what state you live, you may be cited for driving after drinking no matter how much or how little you drank. In the end, you`re better off safe than sorry. There`s no excuse for driving after drinking, especially these days, when an Uber or Lyft ride is a tap of the phone away.
Just know that if you do end up getting cited for DUI, your insurance coverage will be affected, but it won`t be gone for good. You most likely will have to get a kind of insurance called SR-22 insurance which will classify you as a high-risk driver.
#2 – You`ll Get Points on Your License, But They can be Removed
Points are something you want on your team`s scoreboard but not on your driving record. In every state, there is a point system used by the state`s DMV to determine the severity of punishment for a driving infraction.
Depending on the severity of the infraction, your license will tack on a number of points. Points will result in higher insurance premiums and the possibility of having your license suspended. The more points you get, the closer you are to having your license suspended, or even revoked entirely.
Take the state of Florida for example. In Florida, here`s how the points/suspension system works:
- If you get 12 points in 12 months, it`s a 30-day suspension
- If you get 18 points in 18 months, it`s a 3-month suspension
- If you get 24 points in 36 months, it`s a 12-month suspension
Additionally in Florida, things like passing a school bus or failing to stop at a traffic signal are worth four points each. Some states will assign points for a DUI, but in others, the DUI results in an immediate suspension of your license, as well as fines and other consequences.
Of course, there are ways in some states for you to have those points removed. Depending on where you live, a driver`s education course will remove points from your license.
Be sure to check with your state`s DMV website to find out whether driver`s ed classes are offered online, how much they cost, and if you need to fill out the necessary paperwork to enroll. It may be mandated by the court that you do these courses.
However, each state varies as far as what it requires or allows.
You may live in a state where DUI points are irremovable. If that`s the case, the suspension will remain in effect until time served. States do this for numerous reasons; the greatest of which is to obviously discourage drunk driving.
Whether your state allows you to drive after a DUI without suspending your license or not, you need to be aware of the repercussions involved. It`s unlikely that your life will be completely the same after a DUI, including your ability to get to work.
#3 – You`ll Have a Tough Road Ahead, but You can Get Back to Normal
As we said, this is more than just a mistake. A DUI endangers not only yourself and everyone in the car with you but also every single other person on the road. When you decide to get behind the wheel after drinking (and remember, you decide; nobody makes that decision for you), you put yourself and everyone else at risk.
The good news, whether you have a DUI on your record or you`re just looking for more info on the subject, is that this doesn`t have to be the end. Your insurance rates will eventually decrease with better driving habits, your record can be expunged after enough action, and your life will be back to normal in time.
When it comes to your insurance coverage in particular, you need to do everything you can to stay informed. Read over your policy pamphlet (you know, that thick booklet you stored away in your closet). If you don`t have a physical copy, you can most likely find one online.
Don`t feel too embarrassed to talk it over with your agent as well. It`s what they`re there for, to help in times like these. They`ll have all the information you need to ensure that you`re fully informed about the costs of your insurance premiums.
If you may have been charged with a DUI, it can be scary to think about how a DUI affects your future. The coming months will be expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to navigate. You may even have to start making drastic changes to your life that you didn`t expect to make before.
But with the right mindset, you can get through this. Your insurance should be the last thing you`re worried about, and your provider, if they`re worth your business, will make sure of it.
Rory Chapman is a freelance writer for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. More than anything else, he laments the loss of Kentucky Basketball`s potential ninth national championship and Walt Disney World. But he knows there`s still a great, big, beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day