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California DUI & Your Auto Insurance

When someone is convicted of driving under the influence in Orange County, they can expect their auto insurance rates to skyrocket once the auto insurance company learns of the DUI conviction. If you were just arrested for DUI, are you obligated to pick up the phone and notify your insurance company?

No, not necessarily. If you are required to obtain an SR 22, then yes, you will have to notify your insurance company, but until then, you are under no obligation to notify your insurer about your pending DUI charges.

If you hire an experienced local DUI attorney, that DUI arrest may not result in a DUI conviction. Maybe your case will be dismissed, or maybe your DUI charges will be reduced through a plea bargain.

How Insurance Companies Find Out

If you are found guilty of DUI, your insurance company will find out about it eventually. The insurance company can find out when they check your DMV record, which usually happens when you’re up for renewal, or when you are applying for a new policy.

When an insurance carrier checks your DMV history, they can see any DUI convictions in the past 10 years because that is how long DUIs are reported on driving records. On criminal records, DUIs stay indefinitely.

If the DMV requires that you obtain an SR 22, your auto insurance carrier will find out about the DUI. The California SR 22 is a certificate that shows that you have met the state’s requirements for carrying liability coverage, which are 15/30/5.

Once the DMV suspends or revokes a driver’s license due to a DUI, the defendant is required to obtain SR 22 coverage, otherwise they cannot reinstate their driving privilege. You cannot obtain an SR 22 without getting it from your auto insurance carrier, so they do find out about it.

When will my insurance increase?

If you’re in the middle of your term and you get a DUI, your insurance company cannot cancel the policy or increase the rates until the policy is up for renewal. But, if you apply for a new policy right after your DUI, you can expect your DUI to affect the rates of the new coverage.

If convicted of DUI, you would now be in the “high risk” driver category. You can reasonably expect to pay as much as $800 more per a year for the average three years that you’re required to have an SR 22.

To learn more about how DUIs affect auto insurance premiums and for how long, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free case evaluation!