Over the many years that I've handled DUIs, insurance questions have come up. One of the most significant insurance issues surrounding DUIs is getting an SR22 from your insurance carrier.
Once somebody gets a DUI in Los Angeles County, the government has its eye on them. One of the things that they make them do is – they say listen, you're more dangerous and more likely to get into an accident because of your drinking and driving – so now what we're going to make you do is, we're going to make you have proof that you have insurance to cover any accident.
That's what the whole SR22 issue has to do with. That's something that you need to talk about with your attorney. Talk to the DMV about it. Do some research on it, so you know exactly what you have to do if you have a DUI; you need to have that insurance in place, and you have to have proof. Certain documents have to be filled out. There are certain things that you have to do with your insurance company. So, that's one of the significant insurance issues that I see being talked about.
Insurance Cost After a DUI Conviction
Another big insurance issue related to DUI cases is, will your insurance rate now skyrocket because you got a DUI in Los Angeles County? The answer is probably yes. It depends on our insurance company. It depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding your DUI, but let's be honest – most insurance companies are looking for an excuse to jack rates up anyway.
If they can get it because you committed a DUI, they will undoubtedly do it. All is not lost, though. If you do some research and you stay diligent on it, there are a lot of insurance companies that cater to individuals who get DUIs in LA county.
They're targeting those people to try to get money from them. So, if you shop around and find an insurance company that is willing to trust you based on your prior record – aside from the DUI – you should get a somewhat reasonable price.
You're probably going to be over the average for those who don't have DUIs, but time will heal that. Please do your research; get in front of the right insurance company, and then you will be able to afford to have insurance and afford to drive once you get your license back after your DUI case. It just takes some time and effort on your part.
Internet searches are an excellent place to start because there are many companies on the internet, and you shouldn't be afraid to zero in on the insurance/DUI issue. Put it out there. Say I got a DUI. I need insurance. I don't want to pay an arm-and-a-leg for it. What can you guys do for me? If you do a diligent search, you're going to come up with different insurance companies that will be able to cover you, and you'll be able to afford the insurance. Like I said, once time passes, DUI will fall off your record for insurance purposes.
DUI Within 10 Years
That's another thing that people get confused about. They think that things go off your record related to the DUI after a certain period, and they get things confused. For example, if you get a DUI that stays on your criminal record forever unless you get it dismissed, it will show as a dismissal on your record.
For purposes of prior ability, meaning should you get another one, they will look back ten years. When they get your new one, they're going to see if you have a DUI within ten years and if you have, it's going to be a second-time DUI. That has nothing to do with insurance.
Insurance has different issues that they look at. They're going to pull your DMV record, ask you questions, and depending on which insurance company it is, they may ensure you with a reasonable quote after three years. Whereas other insurance companies may say no, that's not long enough, we need six years.
So, the insurance companies related to DUIs have their policies. They deal with them the way they want to. They have some flexibility. They have some discretion. The rules are not necessarily locked in cement related to DUIs and insurance. You have to do your due diligence. You have to check into it. You have to do internet searches. You have to talk to companies, and you should be able to get a reasonable rate related to insurance, even if you got a DUI on your record.
When you go to get the SR22 and try to figure out the whole insurance thing, probably the best person to talk to about that, in addition to your attorney, would be your agent.
Because if you have a middle-person agent to help get you the insurance, they have an incentive for you to continue to have insurance, so they're either going to try to help you deal with the SR22 because they want your business. They're going to help you figure out what kind of insurance you can get because this insurance company is no longer going to ensure you, or they're going to double, triple, quadruple your rate.
So, again, a lot of this is common sense. You have to put the time and effort in, and you're going to survive your DUI case. You'll be able to deal with the insurance-related issues, and you'll eventually also move on with your life and get out of the criminal justice system.