Finding Car insurance with a DUI
If you have been convicted of a DUI, you most likely have a lot of questions about the process of returning to your former life. The good news is that many drivers with a DUI have fully restored their driving privileges after good behavior and adhering to court orders.
Following key steps like requesting a court hearing, showing up to court, and filing a restricted license will help you restore some driving privileges. Without this request, your driving abilities will be suspended entirely. To drive legally, you’ll need SR-22 car insurance, which is a high-risk insurance policy that attaches to your auto insurance policy.
What Is an SR-22 Certificate?
An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility that verifies that a person has the minimum liability coverage for a vehicle. It’s not insurance but an addendum or document attached to an insurance policy. It is required after a driver exhibits certain behaviors that classify them as “high risk,” such as:
- Getting into an accident without insurance
- Having repeat traffic offenses in a short time
- Getting into a serious traffic violation
- Getting a DUI, DWI, or wet reckless conviction
The SR-22 must be filed by your insurance agent and sent to the DMV. This allows the DMV to know you have insurance. It helps you get a restricted license reinstated instead of spending your probation period on a suspended license.
SR-22, FR-44, What’s the Difference?
Depending on the state you live in, the certificate of financial responsibility for DUI offenders can vary. For most states, DUIs require an SR-22. An FR-44 is required in Virginia and Florida, and an SR-22A can be required for drivers in some states who have repeated offenses or a history of insurance non-payment.
An SR-22A or FR-44 may also require drivers to pay at least six months of insurance premiums in advance. If you have questions about the form you need to file, contact your lawyer or court today. It’s important to have the right information before you call an insurance company.
How to Get an SR-22 Insurance Policy
To get an SR-22 insurance policy, you must talk to an insurance agent who specializes in high-risk insurance. Not all agents can offer this product. In fact, it’s known to be difficult to find a company that offers it. There is a chance that your current provider may not be able to file an SR-22 for you.
When you speak with an insurance agent who specializes in SR-22 insurance, you can get multiple SR-22 insurance quotes at once. By comparing rates, you can find the best deal and coverage that meets or exceeds your state’s minimum liability requirements.
What Happens With Out-of-State DUIs?
If you drive under the influence in another state, you will need to fulfill its legal obligations, or else you’ll have your license suspended in your home state. The same DUI penalties also move with you if you go to a different state. To make sure you don’t lose your chance to get a restricted license, you must request a court hearing and appear or have your lawyer appear. For out-of-state DUIs, it’s easier to hire a lawyer and have them appear in your stead.
Most DUIs require DUI school. For out-of-state classes, you will need permission to take a similar or equivalent class in your new state. You may also get special approval to take an online course. Be sure to clear these options with your court, or else you can get a penalty. If you can’t appear in person, ask your lawyer to request these accommodations.
Since the license suspension will happen because your conviction appears on the National Driver Register, which the DMV consults, you must act quickly to request a restricted license and apply for SR-22 insurance. Since the filing process for SR-22 insurance can take a while to register on the DMV system, you should call your insurance agent as soon as you know you can get a restricted license.
Find Cheap SR-22 Auto Insurance Quotes
When to Apply for SR-22 Insurance
In some cases, drivers need to wait for their full suspension period to be over. During this time, they must complete DUI school and other court-ordered obligations. When the course is completed, then they can apply for SR-22 insurance.
However, it’s possible to get an SR-22 with a suspended license. Getting your license back depends on having insurance, and some insurance providers can help you file the SR-22 even though you don’t have a license yet. Insurance companies typically give you 30 days to provide proof of a license.
This should be enough time to get your restricted license reinstated if the timing is right. If you miss the time frame, you may have to file your SR-22 again. Talk to your lawyer and insurance agent to find out the best timing to file an SR-22.
How to Get the Best Deal?
To get the best deal on SR-22 insurance, shop around. Each insurance company has different rates because they assess risks differently. Sometimes, it’s possible to see dramatically different quotes even though you tell each company the same information. There may be different age cut-offs that determine when the “risk” decreases or other factors that affect the price.
However, it’s important to prepare yourself for car insurance that costs more. The rate at which SR-22 increases for one DUI averages 89%, equating to about $1,300 more a year. This is why shopping for coverage is essential for your finances. There will be other costs, too, like the SR-22 filing fee, which averages $25, and a license reinstatement fee to the DMV.
An independent insurance agent can greatly cut your time for this task. Instead of calling everyone yourself, they can pull quotes from the best carriers and present them to you. This cuts down on the work you need to do and the extra phone calls you’ll get from other insurance carriers.
That way, you can look at each plan and see what the liability coverage limits are and the deductibles. All quotes should include plans that meet your state’s minimum liability coverage limits for SR-22 insurance plans.
Honesty Saves Time
Sometimes drivers want to soften the truth or even mislead an insurer to get a lower quote. However, this won’t work in their favor. Instead, be honest about your driving record. Insurance agents have access to your state’s driving record and should know the reasons why you need an SR-22 from you first.
Since most states have electronic systems, the information can come to your agent instantaneously. By being honest upfront, you can speed up the filing process and get partial driving privileges restored more quickly.
Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance Can Save Money
Are you on a tight budget but still need to drive from A to B? Non-owner insurance can help you get part-time SR-22 insurance, which offers lower rates due to you being a part-time driver. The non-owner policy covers any cars you don’t own but plan to drive during your probation period. But note that to qualify, no one can own a car at your place of residence. It must be someone else’s car that’s occasionally lent to you.
Also, if you find yourself struggling with costs, know that your post-DUI insurance rates won’t stay high forever. If your violation eventually gets taken off your record, this will also help your rates go down. First-time offenses are often classified as misdemeanors. These have a better chance of coming off your record compared to felonies.
How Long Do You Need an SR-22?
The average time a driver needs an SR-22 on their insurance policy is between one to five years. Each state has its own laws and restrictions that go according to the offense. Consult your state to find out when your SR-22 clock starts. Depending on where you live, it may start at the date of offense, license suspension, or DUI conviction. Knowing the end date of your SR-22 insurance period can help you time the transition to standard insurance well.
Don’t cancel your SR-22 plan until you have your next plan active. If there is any lapse in coverage, your clock can restart, unfortunately. Also, if you try to switch to a more affordable SR-22 plan, follow the same method so you don’t have any chance of having a day when your vehicle isn’t insured.
Get SR-22 Insurance
Just because you have an imperfect driving record doesn’t mean you have to lose your freedom or be stuck with sky-high insurance rates. Our insurance partner can help you find the best possible rates for your situation. You can also give them a call at 877-822-2049 for more information on how to get back on the road after a DUI.