Most people who are pulled over and charged with a DUI do not realize the impact on their vehicle insurance policy.
South Carolina laws require all drivers to have at least a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage to be allowed on the road. The law creates a process for reinstating a driver’s license and what the insurance firm may require from you after being convicted of a DUI.
How Does A DUI Affect Insurance?
When you are convicted for driving under the influence, your car insurance will almost certainly be affected for years to come. Depending on your BAC levels, you may have the car impounded, the license revoked, a jail term, or a heavy fine. Any of these may have an impact on your license and insurance premiums.
After getting convicted of a DUI, the record will appear in your driver’s license records. You need to contact your insurance company and discuss the future of your car insurance policy. After a DUI conviction, your license will be suspended and it will require you to submit the form SR-22 (also called the Certificate of Financial Responsibility).
What Exactly is SR-22 Insurance?
As explained above, the SR-22 insurance is proof of financial responsibility. It is a DMV requirement to license reinstatement. The form is filled out by your insurance company. It is not a type of insurance coverage, but proof that your insurance meets the minimum liability coverage required by South Carolina law.
Sometimes, you may be required to have an FR-44. This form is like an SR-22 in that it shows that you have liability insurance that meets the minimum coverage requirements as set by law. However, it carries higher liability requirements than the SR-22. You might be required to have an FR-44 if you were convicted of a repeat DUI or because of the nature of the accident caused by your DUI.
The Cost of SR-22 Insurance
The cost of obtaining an SR-22 is a flat fee in South Carolina. You pay the amount when filing the form. However, if your current insurance policy expires, you will need to file another SR-22 with the new policy. In addition, the filing fee is charged per person. If you are a couple and both need an SR-22, you will have to pay for it twice.
While the SR-22 may not be expensive to file (it rarely exceeds $30), it has a significant impact on your insurance premiums. Insurance firms view people with an SR-22 as high-risk clients. Therefore, they charge extra for car insurance with a DUI to cover the increased risk. While all insurance companies and policies are different, many people who are convicted of DUI see their rates triple and even quadruple.
How Big Will the Increase in Premium Rates Be?
The increase in rates depends on various factors beyond the SR-22. They include the circumstances of your DUI, your age, and the kind of vehicle you drive. There have been cases where those convicted of DUI had their insurance premiums raised to the point that they could not afford a vehicle.
In addition, an insurance provider may drop you if they think you are a high-risk customer. However, they will just raise the rates to a point where you cannot afford them, as there are no limits to the rise.
How Long Does A DUI Stay on Insurance?
Unfortunately, the law requires that you have the SR-22 for 3 years. Even if you decide to move to a new state, these records will move with you, and you will still have to pay higher rates. The average premium hike is between three and five times what you were paying before you got convicted for the DUI. These rates will drain your wallet for at least five years, in addition to the heavy penalties you will be required to pay for DUI.
What If I Had a DUI Conviction in Another State?
If you were convicted of DUI in another state, the effect would be the same as having been convicted in South Carolina. Your insurance provider will hike the rates as they would have if you were in your home state. This is because most states have similar laws when it comes to DUI. Besides, the DMVs in each state share information with each other.
Can I get SR-22 from any other insurance provider?
Yes. You can get an SR-22 from any other insurance provider. However, you will have to buy a new policy. If your current insurance provider hikes the rates to a point where you can no longer afford the policy, you may shop around for cheaper car insurance with a DUI.
Get a DUI Lawyer for Assistance
Have you been arrested for a DUI and are concerned how to get your license reinstated or avoid conviction? Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC, can help. We have an experienced legal team that can handle your DUI case in South Carolina. Our team will gladly assist you, so don’t wait to contact us today for assistance.
Insurance With a DUI FAQs
Is the SR-22 form required for every DUI conviction?
Yes, if you are convicted of DUI, your license will be suspended until you have SR-22, enroll in ADSAP, pay a reinstatement fee of $100, and complete the drivers test again.
Can a DUI attorney help if you are arrested?
Yes, a DUI attorney can help if you are charged with DUI. They will ensure that your rights are protected and can argue your case in court. This can help lower the penalties if convicted or get a favorable sentencing from the court.
What is the increase in insurance rates after a DUI conviction?
It depends on various factors, such as the circumstances of the DUI, the car you are driving, or your age. In most cases, the increase is three to five times your current premiums. Talk to your insurance provider about the adjusted rates if you have been convicted of a DUI offense.