Holiday Season DUI's: How Much Your Insurance Rates Will Celebrate

Tis the season to be Jolly. But it is also the season to be safe on the roadways. Nothing could change your Holiday spirit to bedlam faster then a DUI. Every year there are nearly 17,000 alcohol related traffic fatalities; or one death every 31 minutes. The social and financial implications of a DUI can be devastating; from expensive lawyer fees, to bail, and other court fees. MADD estimates a DUI could cost a first time offender over $10,000. A DUI conviction could double, or even triple your current car insurance rates. Shopping around for car insurance rates after a DUI is the best way to find an affordable car insurance rate and help you move past a DUI.

A DUI’s Impact on Your Car Insurance
All emotions aside: a DUI dramatically increases the degree of risk an insurance company assumes in order to underwrite your car insurance policy. After a DUI, you will be categorized as a high risk driver and can expect your current premiums to double—if your carrier doesn’t just simply non-renew your policy.

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) reports that the average first time DUI offender can expect his/her car insurance rates to range between $3,600 and $6,600 a year. Depending on how long a DUI remains on your state’s driving record, these rates are known to continue for up to 7 years. Furthermore, any additional accidents and tickets (past or future) can easily make the situation exponentially more difficult—like tripled insurance costs!

Other Mandatory Costs of a DUI
Aside from increased car insurance rates, there are many other financial implications that come with a DUI. Unless you live in a major city, there really is no substitute to driving. From the perspective of life’s real world priorities, being able to drive ranks just below air, water, food, and shelter. Salvaging this privilege after a DUI though involves more than just expensive car insurance rates. Depending on the state you live in, additional costs can include:

• Towing: $300 - $1,200
• Bail: $250 - $2,500
• Fines and Court Fees: $500 - $2,500
• Attorney Fees (average): $2,500
• Mandatory Education and Treatment: $350 - $2,000
• Electronic Home Monitoring: $150 - $2,250
• Ignition Lock: $730 - $2,800
Total Cost: approximately $10,828

What the above estimates fail to account for are the daylight hours it takes to satisfy all the corresponding obligations. Time spent in court, at classes and treatment, restitution services, and even jail time can turn a person’s world upside-down. Interestingly, states like Washington make matters more complicated by automatically suspending driving privileges for 90 days upon the first offence. Think of how you would even get to court?

Furthermore, since a DUI is criminal offence, your driving record will be complemented by a criminal record. If your vocation values the integrity of such a mark (medical, transportation, finance, etc.) finding a new job can become as complicated as finding affordable car insurance.

Moving On After a DUI
Although a DUI is a mistake that ravishes a person’s finances, it is possible to bounce back after a conviction. Every day that passes after your DUI conviction can lower your rates, because older charges have less of an impact on your risk profile, especially if you were a teenager or young adult at the time of your conviction. Comparison shopping for car insurance is essential for a driver with a DUI on their record.

Although you won’t have as many options, don’t fall into the trap of signing on with the first company that approves your application. Conduct research, compare quotes, and make a careful decision. In the meantime, take a conservative approach to driving and don’t get any tickets or become involved in accidents. Party smart and enjoy your Holiday season.

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