Drunk Driving & Auto Insurance 101
Updated: May 1
Will my auto insurance rates go up?
As you might guess, a convicted drunk driver's insurance rates will rise. Insurance companies view OWI drivers as riskier to insure. Some insurance companies may refuse coverage. Insurance companies consider numerous factors in determining the rate increase, including the number of drunk driving convictions, zip code, age, and driving history. For example, the premium increase for a driver with a clean record, no accidents or speeding ticket, will be lower than a habitual traffic offender. An offender should expect it to cost you anywhere from 50-75% more than your typical auto insurance policy.
How long will the OWI affect my insurance rates?
A drunk driving conviction in Wisconsin stays on the offender’s certified driver’s record permanently. Prosecutors use the offender’s certified driver’s record to prove prior convictions for re-offenders. For insurance rate purposes, a driver may typically expect an increase in rates for five years. It is crucial to maintain a clean driving record during this period.
Am I covered if I cause a drunk driving accident?
Usually, yes. The drunk driver is covered up to the limits of his or her policy for any accident, regardless of fault or if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That includes damage to their car or someone else’s property, as well as their injuries. Please make sure to check the specific terms of your policy.
What is SR22?
SR-22 is a document proving that your car insurance meets Wisconsin’s minimum auto insurance coverage. In Wisconsin, this means liability coverage greater than $50,000.00, $100,000.00 for personal injury or death, and $15,000.00 for property damage. SR22 is not a different “type” of insurance.
To file an SR22, contact your insurance coverage. If you already have auto insurance, you may add the SR22 to your existing file. Your insurance carrier will file the SR22 with the Wisconsin DOT. Typically the insurance company will include the cost of filing the SR22 in your next auto insurance payment.
A first offense drunk driver will need an SR22 form on file for the length of his or her driver’s license revocation – 6 to 9 months. Subsequent offenders will need the SR22 form on file for three years after the conclusion of their revocation period. Please note that the SR22 form doesn’t automatically fall off your insurance policy. You will need to notify your insurer when you no longer need it.
Don’t hesitate to contact Attorney Dan Skarie at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. An experienced drunk driving defense attorney will guide you through the process as painlessly as possible.