It is widely known that having a DWI on your record can affect your driving privileges and that you will be paying for it long after your legal and court interactions are over. What you may not realize, however, is that a DWI can also directly impact the costs of your car insurance.
Your driving record will show any DWI convictions, which means that DWIs might be noticed if you purchase an auto policy with an insurance company and the company requests a copy of your driving record. If you are renewing an existing auto policy, then your insurance rate may also be changed after a review of your current driving record. Insurance companies generally review policyholders’ records once every three years.
If you are convicted of driving while impaired, your current auto insurance carrier may classify you a high-risk driver, and may opt to either cancel your policy completely or require you to pay an increased monthly premium. The amount that an insurance rate increases varies greatly from state to state, and even from insurance company to insurance company. A DWI conviction will cause insurance rates to increase by quite a bit – usually anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent.
It takes an insurance company anywhere from six to 12 months to thoroughly review your record and begin the process of cancelling your policy. Take note that an auto insurance company is not allowed to abruptly cancel your policy after becoming aware of your DWI. They must first give you a notice of cancellation, allowing you a short period of time to look for another insurance company. If your previous coverage is cancelled and you have to shop around for auto coverage with a new insurer, expect for the insurer to quote you a similarly high premium.
Laws on DWIs and auto insurance coverage vary greatly. In most states, DWI offenders are required to obtain an SR-22 form from their auto insurers. This statement of financial responsibility verifies that the offender has auto insurance. This document is prepared by the insurance companies, and is then filed with the DMV. In Minnesota as well as Delaware, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and New Mexico SR-22s are not required.
If your state does not require you to seek an SR-22, then it is possible for an insurance company to never find out about your DWI conviction. The Insurance Research Council revealed that roughly one in five traffic violation convictions are never reflected on motor vehicle records either due to the lack of shared information between motor vehicle departments and state courts, or because the conviction was erased through alternative methods.
Mitigating Insurance Consequences with an experienced MN DWI Attorney
As discussed, the consequences of a DWI conviction or alcohol related license revocation on you record can have a direct negative impact on your insurance rates and coverage. Seeking the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney to help mitigate the potential impact on your driving record can have a huge impact on the resulting auto insurance implications.