California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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Possibly, yes. Most states usually do not have a law that says you must report a DUI conviction to your insurer. Though it is typically a good idea to do so.
If you try to hide a DUI from your insurance company, and it learns of it, your insurance provider could refuse to pay a claim or even accuse you of insurance fraud.
Note that your auto insurance company will likely learn of a DUI/DWI when it comes time for you to renew your insurance policy. During renewal, your insurer will usually check your driving record or contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or comparable agency.
A review of your driving history will usually disclose a DUI.
It is usually a wise idea to inform your insurer about a conviction for driving under the influence.
Granted, there is no universal law that says you are obligated to report a conviction to car insurance companies. Further, the DMV, police, and the court will typically not inform an insurer about a drunk driving conviction.
Though please keep in mind that if an insurance company learns of a DUI that you did not disclose, the company could:
Note that you probably do not have to inform your insurer about a DUI arrest or a DUI charge if you are going to contest the charge in court. If you are acquitted of a drunk driving charge, then you are innocent of a crime and there is nothing to report to your insurance provider.
Though you probably should inform your insurer if you are convicted of an alcohol-related offense.
It might. An insurance company may learn of a past DUI when you go to renew your auto insurance policy.
At this time, your insurance company may review your driving history or obtain a motor vehicle report from the DMV. If it does, it will most likely learn of a DUI conviction.
Note that auto insurance companies generally only look back three to five years on your driving record for a DUI. This time period is sometimes referred to as a company’s “lookback period.”1
So, if you received a DUI within the past three to five years, there is a good chance your insurance company will learn of it.
Also keep in mind that many states require you to obtain proof of insurance coverage (usually an SR-22 or FR-44 certificate) from your insurer for you to reinstate your driver’s license.2
If you contact your insurance company and request this proof, the company will most definitely learn of your DUI.
Your insurance carrier cannot cancel your insurance plan upon learning of a DUI.
Though it can cancel your policy for a DUI when your policy comes up for renewal.
In practice, though, an insurance provider will typically not cancel your coverage if you:
Though your insurer may decide to take away any “good driver discounts.”
Note, though, that there is a good chance your insurance company would cancel your policy if you:
Typically, yes. You will usually see an insurance rate increase after renewing your policy upon getting a DUI.
Your insurance premiums go up because your DUI makes you a “high-risk driver,” even if you were only convicted once for drunk driving.
Though note that an insurance company will consider several other factors when determining your insurance costs. Yes, a DUI is one factor, but other factors include your:
If you are facing an extremely high insurance quote following a DUI, you are free to shop around to try and find a cheaper rate. For example, if your insurer is Allstate, you can look to a company like State Farm to see if you can get a cheaper policy.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.