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DUIs, what they mean for your insurance

By Nelson Espeland III

Friday, February 28, 2014 • 10:53am

I write this blog with a certain type of sadness. With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, unfortunately drunk driving and DUI’s happen. Typically I write blogs this time of year that give tips on driving responsibly during the holiday, and every day, but this year I decided to take a different approach. This year I want to talk about what happens to your insurance when you are arrested for a DUI.

A DUI is short for Driving Under the Influence. Other states may call it a DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated. Whatever you call it, the bottom is this-if you are convicted of either, your insurance will go up. If that is the worst thing that happens as a result of such an offense, you are lucky. Driving under the influence can result in much worse—like vehicular homicide.

According to the FBI, nearly 1.3 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in 2012. After a conviction, your rates can rise anywhere from 5% to 100% depending on a number of factors. The first factor is that your driving record lists the DUI. That is the first consideration and where the process begins for determining how much and to what extent your policy is affected.

According to Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, typically a drunken driving accident or criminal conviction won't be taken off your record until Jan. 1 of the fourth year following the incident. This means that a DUI will affect your policy rates for years to come after the incident.

Here are the 8 considerations that factor into how a DUI affects your auto insurance

Age-The younger you are, the higher the price for young people convicted a DUI. Youn drivers are already considered a risk. So, add a DUI to that and it makes insurance companies very wary. The younger you are, the more you will pay.

Driving history-If you have had recent accents in addition to the DUI, chances are you can expect some substantial increases in your rates

State-Each state has different rules that dictate how much insurers are allowed to charge drivers, so the increase will vary accordingly. Among the many consequences drunken driving convictions carry is the need to maintain an SR-22 filing for a three-year period. An SR-22 provides proof of liability coverage from your insurance company to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and is part of the process for regaining your driving privileges. Under New Jersey law, your insurance company is also required to inform the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission if your insurance is canceled. If the Motor Vehicle Commission is told your insurance has been cancelled, you can have your license immediately revoked.

Arrest circumstances-If you are involved in a multi-vehicle car crash as a result of you driving under the influence, the increase in your insurance rate will be much more significant than if you got pulled over at a sobriety check point.

Your location-Aside from laws, location does play another role in how your DUI affects your insurance rates. Drivers who live in dense, urban neighborhoods with more high-speed highways are considered a higher risk for future accidents after a DUI.

Insurer's rules-There is no “one way” in how insurers insure policy holders with DUIs. Some simply will not insure you. That is their right.

Coverage (or lack thereof)-If you didn’t have coverage at the time of the DUI, it is going to might hard to find someone to insure you, at any price. Make sure you are covered before any tragedies, like DUIs, begin. Please.

Number of DUIs- Sadly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about one-third of drivers arrested for being impaired annually are repeat offenders. After a second conviction, it's unlikely you'll be able to find private insurance. Research compiled by the National Traffic Law Center and Mothers Against Drunk Driving also found that more than 80 percent of first offenders are problem drinkers or alcoholics.

Do us a favor, celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day by proactively establishing a designated driver. Write down the number of a taxi service and put in the pocket of a loved one. Spring is coming, the snow will be melting, and we want nothing but good health and new beginnings for our community this spring. Happy St. Patrick’s Day friends. And remember, you can call me, Nelson, at 908-233-6300 with any insurance questions. Allstate-The Espeland Group is happy to help in any way we can. Erin go Bragh!

Our family has partnered with Allstate for over 80 years to help people with their auto, home, life and business insurance needs. Our quality, service-oriented agency is not only owned and operated by a family, our customers tell us we make them feel like family too. I’m proud to work with a company who’s been serving satisfied customers for over 70 years. Customers count on outstanding financial strength and superior claims service to help protect what they value most. Allstate delivers on their promise. In fact, their outstanding financial strength and superior claims service received an A+ (Superior) rating by A.M. Best. Quality service, strength and satisfaction – that’s something I’m glad to be a part of. - Nelson Espeland III

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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