As most people are aware, a DUI conviction will undoubtedly warrant harsh penalties. This notion reigns especially true in states like Pennsylvania, that have imposed mandatory minimums guaranteeing costly fines, lengthy license suspensions and even a jail or prison term for first-time offenders. However, some people fail to gain a coherent understanding of the ramifications that impact offenders in the aftermath of a DUI - a time when most people plan to put this awful experience behind them and start anew.
Among these repercussions that extend beyond the criminal justice system are the adverse effects of a DUI on your car insurance. Most people are aware of the fact that their insurance will be affected, but few are aware of the proportion in which it will be. For the purposes of this article, we will address (1) what a DUI means to insurance providers (2) how an insurance company will classify your DUI classification, and (3) the significance of an SR-22 form.
What a DUI Means to Insurance Companies
The majority of DUI offenders understand that their record will lead to a monumental rate increase on their insurance policy. But just how much providers are allowed to increase your monthly rate is surprising. Some people have experienced being charged thousands of dollars more for their auto insurance premium after a DUI.
You may be wondering why is there such a significant increase? Insurance providers calculate monthly rates by assessing the risk of a motorist. While the formula may differ based on each individualized company, the factors considered when determining the risk of a customer generally remain the same. These factors include:
- The type of car you drive
- The city or state you live in
- Your age
- The color of your car
- The type of driving infractions on your record
- The amount of driving infractions you've accrued over time
Using this information, an insurance will classify you as either a high-risk driver or a low-risk driver.
DUIs and High-Risk Driver Classification
It's no surprise that people with a DUI on their record are always classified as high-risk drivers. Being placed in this category means you will be faced with one of three options: an astronomical rate increase, an ultimatum to purchase “high risk” insurance, or a withdrawal from your insurance provider altogether. Individuals who have acquired more than one DUI are more susceptible to being dropped by their insurance company.
Pennsylvania's SR-22 Requirement
If you were a policyholder before being convicted of a DUI, you are required to file an SR-22 form to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. An SR-22 is a statement that serves as evidence you have the proper amount of insurance that is required in the state. Oftentimes, submitting an SR-22 pretty much assures that a motorist will be classified as a high-risk driver by their insurance provider.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
As you can see, a conviction can make your life difficult in an abundance of ways. If you've been charged with a DUI, it's important you immediately contact an attorney. Joseph D. Lento has experience representing clients who've acquired both misdemeanor and felony charges, and he's helped them get their sentences significantly reduced, or get their case completely dismissed. He can do the same for you. Contact him today.