Following a DUI arrest, there are a lot of things that might immediately rush to mind, like what to expect in court, and what penalties you might face. An issue you might not think about is how a potential conviction could affect your insurance. Speak with an experienced DUI lawyer to learn more about the impact of West Palm Beach DUI convictions on auto insurance. Your attorney could attempt to mitigate the impact and act as a liaison between you and your insurance company.
How Does an Insurance Company Become Aware of a DUI?
A driver’s insurance company becomes aware of a DUI charge in two different ways, generally. They either find out when someone goes to renew their coverage, or if an accident claim is filed. Once the insurance company does find out about the offense, the impact of West Palm Beach DUI convictions on auto insurance depends on the facts of the case.
Renewal of Coverage
The first is when they go to renew coverage or write new coverage. An insurance company will typically run a driver’s license record. If someone has a DUI on their record, they are going to see that. Even if the person is not going to renew but they are doing a periodic review of their driver’s license record and while their policy is in effect, they will become aware of it because they will see it on their driver’s license record.
Filed Insurance Claims
The other way a driver’s insurance company becomes aware of DUI charges is, of course, if there is an accident or an injury resulting from the charge or the accident. Typically, the person who was injured or whose property was damaged would file a claim with the driver’s insurance company, the defendant’s or potential client’s insurance company, and therefore, the insurance company would start to get involved in the case. The company may want to know whose fault the accident was, or if any charge has resulted from the accident. It is all also public record so the company could become aware of the DUI charges that way.
Impact a DUI Charge May Have on Insurance
DUI charges should not impact a person’s insurance because they are innocent until proven guilty and if they do not have a DUI on their record, it should not count against them. However, there are circumstances under which the insurance company could find out that someone was arrested for driving under the influence because they refused to take a breath test but they beat the DUI or they failed the breath test but beat the DUI. There are various ways for them to find out through the person’s driver’s license record.
Insurance companies are in business to make money and if they have an excuse to raise the rates, a DUI arrest or conviction would certainly give them an excuse. If they refuse the breath test, it would give them an excuse. If they fail the breath or blood test, it gives them an excuse. Even if an individual is not convicted, the insurance company may view them as high risk because they have done this and they might get into an accident the next time so they want to charge them more money to cover that. So, even if someone is not convicted, it can affect the person’s insurance. It is up to each individual company. It is not automatic; it just depends upon the circumstances.
Ways a DUI Conviction Could Affect a Person’s Insurance
The impact of West Palm Beach DUI convictions on auto insurance can be difficult to gauge. It can affect it by increased rates or make the person non-insurable because they are such a high risk that no company wants to – they cannot pay them enough to take on the risk of them driving.
If there was an accident due to the DUI and the injured party filed a claim that the insurance company had to pay out, they might drop or cancel a person’s insurance. If someone is convicted of committing a regular DUI, the impact it might have on their insurance depends upon the relationship with the insurance company. If they have had a 25-year relationship with the insurance company and never had any claims, the company may continue to cover them and increase their premium.