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Will a DUI conviction affect my Insurance?


Even for a first offender, a DUI conviction has dire consequences (up to 6 months imprisonment, up to $1000 in fines, license suspension of 90-210 days, and compulsory use of an Ignition Interlock Device for a year). There are also consequences as regards the insurance that may affect you even years after your conviction.

Idaho State law prohibits a person from being in control of a motor vehicle while he:

  1. has a BAC of .08% or higher, .02% or higher if under 21, and .04% or higher if a commercial driver.
  2. is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicating substance or a combination of any two.

For insurance purposes, there are several ways in which a DUI conviction can affect you:

Risk Evaluation by Insurance Companies

Before selling or renewing an insurance policy, an insurance company would do a risk evaluation. The purpose of risk evaluation is to identify probable risk factors and analyze them in order to determine whether the investment is a good idea.

To carry out a risk evaluation, insurers would pull up your driving record and your state criminal record. The insurer will then determine whether to insure you and at what rate to do it. The insurer measures the risk of your getting into a motor vehicle accident that will lead to you making a claim on your insurance policy based on what’s on your record. If you have a DUI or other negligent driving conviction, this is said to increase that risk significantly. The insurer then decides whether to insure you, if he does, it will be at very high rates.

When convicted of a DUI, your insurance rate will most likely go up. The change in rates may not happen immediately as the insurance company will only find out about your DUI when they pull up your records during policy renewal or if you need to file an SR22 form.

Idaho state law requires drivers convicted of DUI to file an SR22 form. This serves to notify the Idaho Transportation Department that you are insured and they can go ahead to reinstate your license after a suspension. A convicted driver would need to keep filing the SR22 form for three years after their license is reinstated. Not all insurance companies offer SR22 insurance so you may have to change your insurer after a DUI conviction.

Having to file an SR22 form will notify your insurer of your DUI. By Idaho state law, a person charged with DUI has seven days to request a hearing with the ITD to prevent suspension of their license. If a person fails to do this, they will be treated as if they lost the case and their license will be suspended. Sadly, not many people know this, that’s why you need to contact a DUI attorney in Boise. A good Boise DUI attorney is an expert in DUI law and can help you avoid losing your license.

On average, Idaho auto insurance coverage customers enjoy some of the lowest rates in the country, this changes once there is a DUI conviction. Drivers can expect to go from around $500 to over $4000 when convicted of DUI.

Denial of Coverage

After a DUI conviction, a driver may find it hard to get coverage from insurance companies because the insurer would consider it as too much of a risk to insure a person convicted of a DUI. Most times, however, the insurer would simply charge a higher rate than he would charge someone with a clean record who is considered a safe driver.

When denied coverage, drivers may have to turn to insurance companies who specialize in high-risk insurance policies. These companies charge significantly more for their policies to cushion the risk of the driver having an accident.

While a DUI should only affect your rates for the first three years on average, Idaho has a lookback period of 10 years. What this means is that the DUI would remain on your driving record for up to 10 years after conviction and your insurer will see it whenever they pull up your records during the period. This is one of the many reasons why you should get in touch with a Boise DUI lawyer at Boise DUI attorney. Boise DUI lawyers know the law and the defenses and can get you out of a conviction. A good DUI lawyer in Boise can enter a plea bargain or sentence bargain and get you a reduced charge, so you don’t have a DUI on your record.