Legally speaking, driving while intoxicated or DWI is considered a serious criminal offense. It refers to the crime of driving a vehicle while intoxicated of alcohol. Also, when you’re convicted with this offense, you may have to face consequences such as payment of hefty fines, jail time, suspension or revocation of driver’s license, a criminal record, and other alternative forms of punishment.
However, on top of those consequences, a DWI charge or conviction can significantly impact your auto insurance in many ways. Since DWI involves risky and dangerous behavior while driving, most car insurance companies aren’t quick to trust drivers who’ve committed it.
Below are some of the ways a DWI can affect your auto insurance.
1.You May Face A Possible Nonrenewal Of Your Insurance
One of the effects of a DWI charge or conviction is that your insurance company may refuse to renew your policy. While they can’t cancel your policy whenever they want, they would have a valid reason to drop you and not keep you as their customer once your policy reaches its expiration date. When they decide not to renew your insurance policy, they’ll send a notice of nonrenewal 30 to 45 days before your actual renewal date.
That’s why when you receive the notice, it’s best to speak with your insurance agent to know if there are other insurance options available to you. However, this process can be a bit complicated since most insurance companies don’t want to deal with drivers charged or convicted with DWI.
Thus, if you don’t want to end up not having auto insurance coverage for your protection, hiring a lawyer to help you with the charge can be a good idea. With their experience and skills, they can dismiss your case so you can get your normal life back. To find the right legal professional for your situation, it’s best to have a peek here for more information.
2.Your Insurance Rates Will More Likely Rise
In case your insurance company decides to continue doing business with you despite a DWI charge or conviction, they would still not let your situation pass without any repercussions. One of them is that they’ll likely charge you with higher insurance rates.
Although you won’t see an immediate increase in rates, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future. Typically, the increase occurs during the first renewal after getting a DWI conviction. In such a case, you can expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars more than the usual amount you pay. Unfortunately, this situation can cause a significant strain in your finances in the long run.
3.You Need To Get Liability Coverage
If you need to obtain a new car insurance policy after a DWI conviction, you need to remember that the requirements may change. For instance, you may have to get at least minimum amount of liability car insurance coverage in order to be granted a new insurance policy. Specifically, you should have the following liability coverage:
- Bodily injury liability: This covers the medical expenses that the other party may incur in case you’re responsible for the car accident. You should have at least USD$25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and USD$50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident.
- Property damage liability: This pays for vehicle repairs that someone may incur if you’re at fault for the accident. You should have at least USD$25,000 in property damage coverage.
If you want your insurance company to grant you a new policy following a DWI, then make sure to meet the requirements above for liability coverage and you should be good to go.
4.You May Be Required To Obtain SR-22 Coverage
Aside from liability coverage, you may be required to get an SR-22 certification to be applied to your car insurance policy. This serves as your proof of minimum liability insurance coverage and demonstrates that you can accept financial responsibility for any car accident you may be involved in.
While SR-22 insurance isn’t required in every state, you’ll more likely need it if you’ve been convicted with DWI, committed several driving violations, and your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked. However, you should have minimum liability coverage before you can get a cheap SR-22 insurance certificate. Once you have this certificate, your insurance company will send it to the state insurance department afterward.
The Bottom Line
Since driving while intoxicated can be dangerous to others and yourself, a DWI conviction comes with serious consequences, especially on your car insurance. Thus, if you’ve been charged and gotten convicted with DWI, keep these things in mind so you’ll know what to expect when dealing with your car insurance following a conviction.