California DUI and Car Insurance

California car insurance carriers utilize “potential risk” factors when calculating their rates and a driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) conviction typically causes an insurance carrier to raise the driver’s rates substantially or cancel the policy altogether.  Insurance rates are generally almost immediately affected by what happens at the Department of Motor Vehicles Administrative hearing and in court.  In California, DUI convictions stay on driving records for ten years.

If a California DUI defendant loses at his or her DMV Administrative hearing, he or she will be required to file a formal certificate of insurance (SR-22 certificate) sometimes as often as each year up to five years in order to keep his or her driver’s license.  Because SR-22's in California are only required when a person is arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, requesting one from the insurance carrier is like waving a red flag that announces that the driver was arrested for a California Drunk Driving incident.  Upon receiving an SR-22, insurance companies will generally either raise the insurance premiums or cancel the policy, labeling the CA DUI defendant as a high-risk driver.  The good news is that in California, insurance carriers are not allowed to drop drivers in the middle of policy periods.  This means that the cancellation would not take affect until renewal.  Often when a California DUI offender’s car insurance is cancelled because of a DUI, it is quite difficult to find coverage elsewhere.  Fortunately, there are insurance companies that can help.