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How Long Does a California DUI Impact Insurance?

If you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Orange County, California, you will soon learn that the DUI will have a direct impact on your auto insurance premiums. Sure, the DUI is going to lead to a troubling rate hike, but for how long?

For starters, it’s important that you know that as of January 1, 2007, new legislation extended the reporting period for DUIs in California from 7 years to 10 years. This means that if an insurance company runs a person’s driving record, they will be able to see the DUI for 10 years. Unfortunately, this means that your auto insurance company can use your DUI against you for the next decade.

Continue reading as we dig deeper into how a DUI affects your auto insurance premiums.

DUI and Your Car Insurance

Do I have to report my DUI to my insurance company?
You are not legally required to call your auto insurance company and tell them about your DUI conviction. If you were only arrested for DUI, there shouldn’t be any insurance consequences. If you hire an attorney, you may beat your DUI charges, or they may be reduced to wet reckless through a plea bargain. Or, you may win the DMV hearing.

If you are convicted of DUI, your insurance company will eventually find out about it. Generally, auto insurance companies find out about DUIs when they run people’s driving record when their policy is up for a renewal, or when the policyholder is shopping out better rates and applying for new coverage.

Additionally, insurance companies find out about DUIs because the California Department of Motor Vehicles requires people to obtain an SR 22, which is a certificate of insurance proving that the driver meets the state’s minimum requirements for liability coverage.

Since the only way to obtain an SR 22 is through your auto insurance company, this is when insurance companies generally find out about it.

What if I’ve been getting the good driver discount?
Let’s say you’ve been getting the good driver discount for years. Once you have a DUI conviction, you automatically disqualify for this discount. Under California law, you won’t qualify for the good driver discount until it’s been 10 years since your DUI arrest.

Since you no longer qualify for a good driver discount, this is one of the reasons your premium will increase by 20 to 30%. In addition to obtaining the SR 22, you’ll have to pay higher premiums because the DUI conviction labels you a “high risk” driver, which can increase your yearly premium up to $800 for each of the three years you’re required to maintain an SR 22.

Once it’s been 10 years since your DUI arrest, the California DMV will stop reporting it and it’ll be as if it never happened. Then, you’ll be eligible for the good driver discount, assuming you’ve been a “good driver” since your DUI arrest.

Arrested for DUI in Orange County? To protect your future and your insurance rates, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to fight your charges!