On the surface, most people understand that a DUI conviction can lead to incarceration, probation, fines, restitution and loss of driver’s license. But there are other “hidden” costs, and one of them is increased car insurance premiums.
A DUI conviction in Florida, as in most states, will lead to jacked-up insurance rates. Insurance companies now consider you a high-risk driver, so expect higher rates. In some cases, the amount may double. As a result, you likely will be paying premium amounts that you have not seen since you were a younger driver in your teens and early 20s.
In Florida, average increase of 33%
In Florida, a person convicted of DUI sees an average increase of 33% in insurance rates. The number represents the lowest average in the nation. Those higher rates may be in effect for three to five years.
Insurance companies, however, do not treat every DUI conviction in the same way. For example, if you have a clean driving record and this marks your first DUI conviction, you may only see minor increases in premiums.
Of course, if it marks the latest of multiple drunk driving convictions, you can expect a soaring rate. In some cases, you may find yourself unable to get insurance as some insurance companies will not provide coverage to repeat offenders.
In Florida, drivers convicted of DUI must obtain an FR-44 form, which requires them to pay higher insurance rates. The form proves that they have purchased auto insurance. A person must obtain the form from his or her insurance company, which submits it to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. A driver convicted of DUI in Florida must maintain an FR-44 policy for three years after the reinstatement of his or her driver’s license.
Best scenario: avoiding conviction
Avoiding a DUI conviction altogether is the ideal scenario if you have been arrested and charged. So many things in your life – including higher car insurance rates — would be affected. This is why it is important to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney in trying to get the charge reduced or dismissed.