Over the many years that I’ve handled DUI’s, insurance questions come up all the time. One of the biggest insurance issues surrounding DUI’s has to do with getting an SR22 from your insurance carrier. Basically, once somebody gets a DUI in LA county, now the government has their eye on them and 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 and you need to have that insurance in place and you have to have proof. There are certain documents that have to be filled out. There are certain things that you have to do with your insurance company. So, that’s one of the big insurance issues that I see being talked about all the time.
Another big insurance issue as it relates 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’re certainly going to 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 basically cater to individuals who get DUI’s 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 – then you should be able to get a somewhat reasonable price. You’re probably still going to be over the average for those people who don’t have DUI’s obviously, but time will heal that. Do your research; get in front the right insurance company, and then you’re going to be able to afford to have insurance, be able to afford to drive once you get our license back after your DUI case. It really just takes some time and effort on your part.
Internet searches is a good place to start because there are a lot of companies that are 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? I think 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, that DUI will fall off your record for purposes of insurance.
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 of time, and they get things confused. For example, if you get a DUI that stays on your criminal record forever unless you get it dismissed and there it will show as a dismissal on your record. For purposes of priorability, meaning should you get another one, then they’re going to 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 DUI’s have their own 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 as it relates to DUI’s 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 as it relates 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 and 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’re going to 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.
So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.