Drunk driving comes with a multitude of possible consequences: car accidents, injury or death, license suspension, jail time, and so on. A DWI affects other areas of life, as well. For example, losing your license could make it difficult to show up to work and earn the money to pay fines.
One consequence you may have overlooked is how a DWI impacts your auto insurance. Understanding this connection can help you realize the importance of a strong defense in dealing with DWI charges.
No doubt, a DWI will cause your insurance rates to increase significantly. Insurance companies will see you as an accident risk on the road. Also, not every company offers coverage for those with DWI convictions, so the competition is less, driving rates up even more.
How much insurance prices will go up depends on the provider, but it can be more than double what you are paying now. According to Value Penguin, the average in New York is about a 42-percent increase. It may happen immediately upon notification to your insurer or not until during your renewal. Your current insurer may even cancel your policy or refuse to renew it.
The rest of your driving history may also play a role. If you do not have previous accidents or traffic tickets, you may not face as high an increase as someone with a history of reckless behavior. Age is another factor insurers look at.
Unfortunately, a conviction of drunk driving is not something you can leave behind quickly. A DWI stays on your public driving record for 15 years in New York. A DWAI (driving while ability impaired, meaning your BAC was lower than 0.08 percent) stays on for 10 years.
These lengthy time periods can make it challenging to find affordable insurance even years later, and you will have to show proof of insurance in order to regain driving privileges if you end up losing them. That is why it is so important to do what you can in the beginning to fight or reduce charges and penalties.