DUI – or "drunk driving" citations are among the most common auto-related infractions that occur. If you get one, you should know what to expect from your insurer, and how to handle it. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about what happens after a DUI.
How will my insurer handle my DUI?
Most insurance companies check your motor vehicle record very year, though some check only once every three years, or when you’re applying for new coverage, and because of this it’s possible that a DUI citation, speeding ticket, or other conviction may escape your insurer’s notice. If they find out about it, however, you will almost certainly see higher rates, and you may even have your policy cancelled.
You should, of course, always inform your insurance company at the first opportunity, whenever you have any kind of conviction. Most companies will deal with you in one of two ways:
- They will increase your rates due to your increased "points," often to the point where you can no longer afford insurance.
- They will cancel your policy.
Either way, your best bet will be to pursue special DUI coverage, also referred to as SR-22 coverage.
What is an SR-22?
An SR-22 is a form issued by your insurance company that removes the suspension order placed by the DMV after your DUI conviction. In California, filing this form guarantees that you have at least the state-required minimum liability coverage, and that the insurer will notify the state, should your policy lapse. Other states use similar forms and impose similar requirements, and your driving record will follow you across state lines, so avoiding the SR-22 is unlikely. This form is what reactivates your suspended license.
How Long Must I Maintain the SR-22 Filing?
Under normal circumstances, the SR-22 filing period is three years, though in some cases that term may be extended.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on my Record?
While the SR-22 period elapses in three years, most of the time, your DUI conviction will be with you a while longer, for ten years, though it stops being rated for points after three. Even so, you may have continued trouble getting insurance from preferred carriers such as GEICO, Allstate and AAA with a DUI on your record.