There are major dangers and insurance consequences of DUI in Pennsylvania – simply put do not do it. Driving under the influence or DUI can lead to thousands of dollars worth of fines, suspended license, jail time, not to mention the damage that can be done when there is a DUI fueled car accident. Still, it doesn’t stop people from going out, drinking or smoking to intoxication, and still trying to drive. DUI penalties will stick around for a while, even years after your DUI criminal charges. A DUI charge will certainly have a negative impact on your life and consequences on your car insurance rates.
It all comes down to risk. If you have a history of DUIs, then you’re an extremely risky person to try to insure from the auto insurance companies perspective. People who decide to drive while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs certainly don’t have the best judgment, leading them to be more likely to get into an accident that seriously injures someone and even may kills themselves and/or others. That’s a risky proposition for any insurance company looking to consider taking on someone with a DUI.
When it comes to putting together their best policy or if it’s time to renew your policy, your driving and your state criminal record will be pulled and added to the data. If they still go ahead and decide to renew or create a policy with you, the rate at which you pay is going to be determined upon the risk that they take by insuring you. It is their job to look at how likely it is that you might get into an accident based upon what they find in your record.
As previously stated, intoxicated driving is an incredibly risky behavior. This type of behavior is a risk that auto insurance companies do not want, or at best they will charge a significant premium for this type of driver – that means it will cost you a lot more money to get auto insurance after a DUI. The risk assessment will show an increased likelihood that a DUI driver will potential be involved in an auto accident versus the average driver with no DUI on their record. How each insurance company decides to work around a DUI is really on a case-by-case basis and it depends on the insurance company itself. They each have their own rules and policies regarding a potential customer who has a DUI conviction, but almost all of these companies will penalize you for a DUI and charge a higher premium for coverage.
Auto Insurance Company Rates
Auto insurance companies assess risk on a daily basis, having a DUI on your driving record will subject you to penalties. If you are receiving a safe driver discount of any kind, getting a DUI will wipe it away. It doesn’t matter if you’re with them for 30 years and have no record of an accident or previous concern. After a single DUI, insurance companies may consider you a serious risk on the road. Your rates may not increase right away, but only after your driving record is checked when it’s time to renew your policy.
If you do get a DUI, there are many states in the country that will require you to submit Form SR-22 to the DMV. This means you have to report the DUI to your insurance company and the insurance company will send the form to the DMV. This will automatically alert your insurance company that you have a DUI on record. But it also lets the DMV know that you are still insured after he received a DUI conviction. Without it, you will not be allowed to reinstate your license. While Pennsylvania does not currently require a SR-22 form, if you move to PA from out-of-state you may be required to maintain the form in the other State regardless.
Not all insurance companies offer SR-22 insurance to be sent to the DMV. If your insurance company doesn’t, you might have to switch to a different company that might offer it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get your license reinstated after your DUI conviction has it suspended temporarily.
A DUI charge and conviction can have severe consequences for a Commercial licensed driver or CDL that are even worse than your average person with a regular drivers license. In Pennsylvania a CDL driver with a DUI can have their license suspended or completely revoked – meaning they will lose their ability to earn a livelihood driving.
If you are driving for a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft a DUI can cause the service to revoke your ability to drive for them. Uber and Lyft have strict background check polices with a 7 year lookback policy regarding DUI on your driving record and will disqualify you from driving for their rideshare services. If you are involved in a automobile accident while an Uber driver is DUI or Lyft driver is DUI there are specific insurance issues that you will need to address that are beyond the scope of this post.
Having Auto Insurance Coverage Denied
As previously stated above, it really depends on the insurance company and what their policy is. If you’re already with an insurance company, they may decide to terminate their coverage because you’re too much of a risk to take. Other insurers might just raise rates a little bit, other insurers raise these rates significantly. If you’re unable to renew or your insurance is terminated, you might have to look for a different company to cover you.
There are insurance companies out there who do take on high-risk drivers. Just like if you’re a high credit risk trying to get a car loan, there are places who will do it, but only at a significantly higher price. This is for anyone that they would consider too high risk for a typical insurance plan or coverage.
Your Vehicle – Different Driver
Let’s say you’re a teenager and you’re still under your parent’s insurance and driving their vehicle when the DUI happens. This happens quite often as a lot of teenagers exhibit riskier behavior. In this instance, it’s likely that your parent’s car insurance premiums will go up. They might be able to lower their premiums in the future once they drop their child from their insurance policy.
This might be a different situation if an adult friend borrows your car and gets a DUI. If you have your own insurance, your rates will go up and possibly the owner of the vehicles rates will go up as well. Really, it goes back to potential risk and if you borrow someone’s car, it’s your insurance that will cover any accidents that will happen, not your friends.
How to Lower Your Insurance Rates after a DUI
The good news is, your DUI won’t stay on your record forever. If you just have the one mistake and that’s it, the odds are good your premiums will return back to normal in several years. Most states have a policy called “lookback” where insurance companies can only look back, in Pennsylvania the general lookback period is 3 years. That’s a long period of time, but at least there’s some time for redemption. If you have no other issues and you follow the law, then your DUI will fall off and things will get back to normal.
It really depends on the state in which you live. Each state has different laws and guidelines about how long certain convictions can remain on your record. After so many years, a person’s record should have the opportunity to be expunged completely and/or sealed from view. You might even be unlucky enough to live in a state that doesn’t allow for these types of convictions to be expunged and might follow you around forever.
The moral of the story is you should never drive while intoxicated. It’s not worth it as you’ll spend the next several years of your life trying to rectify the situation. The cost for trying to get your life back in order will be immense.