Car insurance companies are not usually in the business of providing even the most basic coverage for dangerous drivers. In California, a conviction for driving under the influence will remain on your driving record for 10 years. Unfortunately for many drivers, their insurance rates will generally increase for up three years. To top it off, many companies will not offer any discounts to drivers during the entire 10 year period while the DUI is still visible on their driving record. However, drivers may see reductions in their insurance rates once they have successfully fulfilled some state DMV and court requirements and opted for additional guarantees that will make it easier for an insurance company to provide coverage.
Don’t fight the penalties.
The first thing a driver must do before attempting to regain or reduce their insurance policy is to comply with any penalties that have been levelled against them. For first-time offenders, this will generally include fines up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Additionally, your state’s department of motor vehicles will also suspend your license for six months. Luckily, your dui lawyer may be able to have your charges reduced to that of “wet reckless”. However, your BAC must have been borderline nor can an accident have occurred at the time of the infraction. This reduction in charges will go a long way to convincing your insurance company that you are not a “high-risk” driver.
Get an SR-22.
A majority of states allow drivers the opportunity to regain their insurance coverage with the filing of an SR-22. This form is often required to reinstate or maintain driving privileges after certain traffic-related offenses, including DUI convictions. This “Certificate of Financial Responsibility” is meant for high-risk insurance policies as an alternative to a cash deposit. It may be required by the courts or your state DMV in order to retain or reinstate your driving privileges. The document proves your ability to pay for any damages you may cause while driving. The court will notify you at the time of your ruling if your case requires you to obtain an SR-22. If the requirement is state ordered, you will receive a notice from your department of motor vehicles.
Complete a DUI program.
In many California cases, first-time offenders are able to regain more affordable car insurance once they have completed a DUI Program. These programs, ranging from three to nine months, were designed to enable those convicted of a DUI to reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol and drugs in order to change their attitudes and behavior while supporting healthy lifestyle changes. Those convicted of a DUI will also be required to complete 12 hours of drug and alcohol education, 44 hours of group counseling and individual counseling interviews.
Install an ignition interlock device.
Many states will require the installation of an ignition interlock device, also referred to as a breath alcohol interlock device, in a driver’s vehicle before reinstating his or her driving privileges. This device is designed to interrupt the signal from the ignition to the starter until a breath sample registers a low enough blood alcohol level. Luckily, these devices may also allow your insurance company to offer you a reduction in your premiums. This is because studies have shown that drivers with interlock devices installed in their vehicles are less likely to reoffend.
In California, annual insurance rates have been know to increase by nearly 300 percent and equalling $4,000 after a DUI conviction. You may not only lose your “good driver” discount, but your insurance company may cancel your policy entirely. Unfortunately for California drivers, the DMV will then cancel the registrations of any vehicles owned by the driver who will then be required to pay additional fees in order to reinstate those registrations. Be sure to follow the instructions of your courts, state DMV and your attorney and you will be well on your way to finding more affordable coverage for your vehicles.