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DUI and Auto Insurance in Illinois

There are some DUI penalties that will affect nearly every aspect of your life. One of the most expensive and lasting consequences is the hike in auto insurance rates. Many people are aware that their insurance will be affected, but not aware of the extent that it will be.

In this article, we'll answer all the questions you may have about the way a DUI will affect auto insurance after a conviction. For more information about your specific case, contact Dolci & Weiland today.

What a DUI Means to Auto Insurance Providers

If you've been convicted of a DUI in Illinois, you can bet on one thing: your car insurance premium will increase. But just how much these rates will increase is oftentimes unpredictable. For the most part, insurance companies are given wide discretion as to how much more you must pay to remain covered - and many convicted offenders have experienced astronomical increases. Some people have been charged upwards of $1,000 more because of a DUI. Drivers over the age of 21 should expect to see a 20 to 30 percent increase in their insurance rates.

Why is there usually such a substantial increase? Insurance providers don't just name a price. There is a method to their madness. Companies actually use a formula to calculate monthly premiums. While the variables of this formula vary from provider to provider, the factors considered generally remain the same. They include (but are not limited to):

  • Your age
  • The type of car you drive
  • The color of your car
  • The city or state you live in
  • The type of driving infractions on your record
  • The number of driving infractions you've accumulated over time

The information listed above is also considered when assessing the “risk” of a motorist. This status is one of the main factors in determining how a provider will modify your plan after a DUI conviction.  

DUI and Driver Risk Classification

The majority of auto insurance providers classify covered motorists as either high risk or low-risk drivers. As its name suggests, a high-risk driver is one who is risky to insure due to a poor driving record and/or inexperience. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much to be labeled a “high risk” driver by your insurance company. One small mistake, such as receiving a traffic citation, being involved in an accident or having poor credit history can put you in bad standing with your insurance company.

With a DUI conviction on your driving record - even if it's your first offense - you'll almost always be considered high risk. If you're in this situation, your insurance provider will offer you one of three options: (1) a high premium rate increase, (2) an ultimatum of purchasing high-risk insurance, or (3) a request to withdraw from the company altogether. Having more than one DUI on your record will make you more susceptible to being dropped from your insurance.

New Car Insurance Coverage After a DUI

A DUI warrants a higher cost increase than does any other driving violation. Therefore, a DUI conviction makes finding reasonably priced auto insurance coverage in Illinois is a difficult task. In fact, this state is one of the worst places to be convicted of a DUI because its insurance price hikes are some of the country's highest.

Illinois' SR-22 Requirement

Filing an SR-22 is required for drivers who have had their license suspended due to a DUI conviction. If you were a policyholder prior to the conviction, your insurance company must submit an SR-22 to the Secretary of State as proof of financial responsibility insurance. An SR-22 is essentially evidence that you meet the state's minimum requirements for auto insurance liability coverage.

In order to get an SR-22 successfully filed, you must contact your car insurance company. Once you inform your provider that you need one, it is like alerting them that a significant event occurred. It is up to your company to either cancel your policy or issue you the certificate. If you are dropped, then you will have to seek an SR-22 elsewhere.

How Long Will a DUI Affect My Auto Insurance Rates?

There isn't a specific drop off date for high insurance premiums as the duration of time a DUI may affect your insurance rates may vary. But most of the time, rates drop at around the third-anniversary date of your conviction.

Charged With a DUI in Illinois? Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

A drastic hike in auto insurance rates is just one of many damaging ramifications felt by offenders who have been convicted of a DUI offense. But it's one of the most costly aspects of this crime that is often overlooked. Now that you know the details, wouldn't it make sense to prevent a conviction from happening?

If you've been arrested for a DUI in Illinois, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you can get a legal professional on your case, the more time they have to build a solid defense in your favor. A DUI is a criminal offense that requires seasoned, skilled and aggressive representation. The serious consequences imposed after a conviction can make it difficult to live a normal life and leave the past behind you for good.

You don't have to face this charge alone, and with the legal team at Dolci & Weiland on your side, you won't have to. To speak with a member of our team, fill out an online case evaluation form or give us a ring at the office closest to you today. The number for our downtown Chicago location is 312-238-9007, for our DuPage office, call 630-261-9098.