6 Considerations for the Effects a DWI Has on Insurance Premiums

A DWI charge can change everything in an instant. Suddenly, because of the driver’s bad decision, he or she may find him or herself out of work, facing criminal charges and with no ability to drive. A DWI can affect insurance premiums, as well.

DWI’s Appear on Driving Records

A driver who just received a DWI might hope that the insurance company does not find out about the conviction. While it may be possible, it is not likely.

DWI convictions show up on driving record searches, and, as the driver’s insurance company does its annual review of the policy, the DWI will be discovered. Even if the driver is not searching for a new policy, it could still increase insurance rates during renewal.

How Long Will the DWI Affect Insurance Rates?

A typical DWI conviction affects auto insurance rates in North Carolina for approximately three years. Insurance companies normally only look through three years of records regardless when reviewing driving history and calculating an accurate insurance rate quote.

Why Does a DWI Increase Premiums?

When it comes to car insurance, risk is the most important consideration. A driver who has DWI on his or her record is considered a liability to the insurance company.

The driver clearly has made at least one massive lapse in judgment by getting behind the wheel after drinking, and, to the insurance company, that means that he or she will likely make that mistake again.

This “mistake” is one that could cause loss of life and massive destruction to property.

While any driver could potentially be viewed as a liability for the insurance company, one that has a DWI on his or her record raises a giant red flag for the insurance company about the driver’s judgment.

What to Do If a Driver Receives a DWI

Like so many things in life, honesty is the best policy. The first step any driver who has received a DWI charge needs to take is to contact his or her insurance company and admit that the incident happened.

Explain what happened and give as much detail as possible. While an insurance rate increase is expected, the consequence of not reporting what happened and the insurance company finding out about it later are much worse.

The increase could be significantly higher or the driver could even be dropped.

How Much Will the Rate Increase Be?

Rate increases depend on the state. Every state has its own set of qualifications and conditions that determine fines for DWI convictions as well as insurance rate increases. It also can vary depending on the insurance provider.

Normally, rates will increase around ten percent but can go as high as 50 percent, depending on the violation.

However, the drier also runs the risk of spending thousands on fighting a DWI charge on his or her record, and the worst-case scenario that can occur with insurance is the insurance company can drop the driver altogether.

In the end, it is wiser to call a cab or find a designated driver to avoid these consequences.

Can a Driver Still Receive Coverage?

Yes, a driver can still receive coverage after receiving a DWI conviction, but it might not be as easy as it would be without having that mark on his or her record.

The insurance company will make you take steps to admit fault and financial liability for any incidents such as a DWI, and for this reason, the company will make you fill out an SR-22 form.

An SR-22 is also referred to as a certificate of insurance or financial responsibility filing. This is a vehicle liability document that is required by most state Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) departments for what are considered “high risk” policies.

Some insurance companies will refuse to insure any high-risk drivers, but many companies do exist that cater solely to these types of clients. The driver may pay more money upfront to receive coverage, but the alternative is far better than driving without any coverage at all.

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