Many people facing charges of driving under the influence (DUI) rightfully worry about probation, possible time in jail, or the loss of their driver’s license. However, you should also always consider the effects on your finances, as a DUI conviction can cost you in many different ways. Aside from court-imposed fines, court costs, and fees associated with probation, a DUI can result in many other financial impacts, including on your insurance.
Changes to Your Auto Insurance
Sometimes, a driver convicted of drunk driving won’t have their car insurance affected at all, however, this is generally an exception and not the rule. Usually, if you are convicted of DUI, you’re labeled as a “high risk” driver and, as such, your insurance company may take one or more of the of actions below.
- Raise Your Premiums – Oftentimes, high-risk drivers, such as those charged with a DUI, have to pay a higher premium.
- Charge You an Additional Premium – Some insurance underwriters will charge an additional premium, on top of the one you’re currently paying for your coverage.
- Drop Your Coverage – In the worst-case scenario, your insurance company may decide to no longer provide you with coverage and drop you altogether.
First, the costs of your car insurance will increase substantially. Maryland law requires that you maintain minimum insurance coverage if you own or operate a vehicle in the state. When you apply for license reinstatement after DUI conviction, you will generally need a special type of coverage called SR-22. This policy acknowledges the risk of insuring a driver with a history of DUI or other driving offenses, and your insurer should send proof of your coverage directly to the state. SR-22 insurance costs substantially more than a regular auto insurance policy, and you may have to maintain it for three to five years, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Many people lose their regular coverage upon a license suspension and may not obtain new coverage until they can reinstate their licenses. If you have a six-month gap or longer without auto insurance coverage, a new insurance provider may automatically raise your rates when you seek a new policy.
Changes to Your Health or Life Insurance
You may also discover that your health and life insurance rates may increase due to a DUI conviction. Some health insurers may increase your premiums due to risky behavior, while lower-cost providers may deny you coverage altogether. Similarly, you may no longer qualify for the best life insurance rates, and you may have to pay higher premiums—if you can even find coverage for future term policies.
Usually, if you are in a car accident during the course of your employment, workers’ compensation insurance should cover your medical expenses and a percentage of your lost wages. However, if your employer can prove that your illegal act (such as DUI) caused or contributed to the accident, you will likely receive a denial of your workers’ compensation claim, and you will need to pay for your own medical expenses.
Finally, if a DUI accident results in a personal injury claim, a judgment against you may include punitive damages. Your insurer may cover actual damages, but your insurance contract may not cover punitive damages stemming from a DUI accident. You may be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What Should I do if I’m charged with a DUI?
In the instance that you are pulled over and charged with a DUI, it’s important to get legal help from an experienced DUI attorney who has a proven track record of winning DUI cases. Remember, a drunk driving arrest is not a conviction and you can fight the charges you are facing. Contact the law offices of Alpert Schreyer to speak with one of their experienced DUI defense attorneys. A DUI is a serious matter that can impact your quality of life for a considerable amount of time. Don’t wait, get help today.