Sunday, 14 March 2010

Drunk driving insurance

In case you are caught being drunk behind the wheel your insurance rates will increase and you will most probably learn about a thing known as SR-22 to many. And it doesn't matter what it's called in your state - driving while being under influence or intoxicated - the result is the same. Your insurance rates rise dramatically even before you can actually drive a vehicle again.

The laws are different
Different states have different penalties regarding drunk driving, but in all states you will be denied of the right to drive for a period of time (starting with 30 days to 12 months). And in order to get your license back and drive again most states require you to present SR-22 form proving availability of necessary auto coverage. Such form can be presented by the insurance company unless your policy is lapsed, canceled or terminated.

Premiums will rocket sky-high
When time comes for taking the SR-22 form from your insurance company, the company will automatically put you in the "high-risk driver" category, which eventually means that your rates will go up. And by "go up" we mean double or even triple according to state you're registered in. Of course, you can shop around as there are insurance companies with "high-risk" specialty.

SR-22 policies are not that accessible
Certain companies do not provide SR-22 insurance coverage, and if you'll require one from them after being convicted in drunk driving, they are likely to cancel your policy. It will require you to address a company that provides SR-22, however your premiums will still be higher because you will already have a history of policy cancellation. However in some states, insurance companies have no right to cancel your policy before its term expires. So check your local laws to know better.

How long will it last?
This also depends on the state you live in, but the usual picture is that you will have to pay higher premiums for at least three years after being convicted. And if you're caught driving under the influence again there will be more serious penalties.

It also depends on the condition you've been in while driving. In most states there are stronger penalties for increased alcohol blood levels, passengers (especially kids) in the car, damage to property or injury to people done and other factors involved.

How to avoid increased rates?
The most drastic measure to keep your auto insurance rates low is not driving at all after being convicted in drunk driving. Even if you were driving a car you don't own you will still have to present a SR-22 form in order to restore your driver's license.

Of course, there's still the most effective way of keeping your auto insurance as it was. Simply don't drive while being drunk, intoxicated, under the influence or any other altered state of mind. It will not only save you auto insurance but will save your and someone else's life. If you're messed up, call a taxi or ask your sober friend to drive. It's not that hard, isn't it?


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