How Does A DUI Affect Your Auto Insurance in South Carolina?

We all know a DUI arrest is bad news, but if you live in South Carolina, it can damage your wallet, too. Did you know the DUI impact on auto insurance is quite significant, as drunk driving charges can increase your premiums by hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year?

How much you’ll pay depends on things like your age and driving history. Here is what you can expect, and why hiring a Charleston DUI defense lawyer to fight those drunk driving charges could help keep your insurance premiums in check.

What’s the DUI Impact on Auto Insurance Premiums?

Getting caught driving under the influence is a serious offense that comes with major consequences, and your car insurance rates are no exception. Typically, car insurance rates can nearly double after a DUI in South Carolina.

For example, if your average annual premium with a clean record was $1,879, a DUI conviction will trigger a 93 percent increase, leading to a premium of $3,630 a year.

Paying for coverage gets much more expensive, especially over time. Insurance companies can also cancel your policy after a DUI, though if they keep you, they’ll file an SR-22 with the state for 3 years to verify you have minimum coverage. Removing it may or may not lower your rates.

SR-22 Requirement

If your insurer keeps you after a DUI, they’ll file an SR-22 with the state for a minimum of 3 years to prove you have minimum auto liability coverage. The SR-22 itself doesn’t raise your rates, but the DUI that requires it will. Not all insurers provide SR-22s, so you may need to switch companies. Let your agent know immediately if the SR-22 lapses or if your license and registration will be suspended.

A DUI conviction in South Carolina leads to sky-high premiums, limited options, and bureaucratic hassles for years. The impacts diminish over time if you maintain a clean record, but the DUI will still count against you, and rates may never drop back to pre-DUI levels.

How Long Does a DUI Affect Your Insurance Rates in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, DUI impact on auto insurance premiums can last for a long time. Typically, insurance companies will consider violations like DUIs for 3-5 years when determining your premiums. However, South Carolina has a “look-back” period of up to 10 years for major violations. This means your rates could stay higher for up to a decade after your DUI.

After 3-5 years, most standard insurance companies will start to lower your rates if you have avoided further issues. However, some may continue to charge higher premiums for the full 10 years allowed under the law.

a DUI will lead to higher insurance costs

Can You Avoid DUI Penalties?

While a DUI conviction typically comes with penalties like fines, license suspension, and increased insurance rates, there are a few ways you may be able to reduce or avoid them.

Hiring an Attorney

An experienced Charleston DUI defense attorney can help negotiate the best possible outcome for your case. They are familiar with the laws and procedures in your area and can look for ways to challenge evidence or get charges reduced or dropped.

Filing an Appeal

If you are convicted of a DUI, you have the right to file an appeal. An appeal can lead to a new trial, a reduced sentence, or, in rare cases, an overturned conviction. Your attorney can advise you on the merits of an appeal in your specific case.

Strategies to Lower Insurance Premiums After a DUI

Shop around at different insurance companies for the best rate. Some companies may penalize you more for a DUI than others. Compare quotes from at least three to five companies to find the most affordable option.

Raise your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. The higher your deductibles, the lower your premiums will be. Just be sure you can afford to pay the deductibles in case of a claim. Consider dropping coverage you do not need like roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement. While these are convenient, they are increasing your premium.

Charleston DUI Guy Is Here for You!

Getting a DUI conviction can be an extremely stressful and traumatic experience. The legal consequences seem overwhelming, and you may feel like there’s no way out.If you’re having a difficult time dealing with the DUI impact on auto insurance rates and other aspects of your life, reach out to a Charleston DUI defense attorney for guidance.

At Charleston DUI Guy, we’ve represented hundreds of clients in your position and successfully defended many DUI cases. Call us today at (843) 277-8711 to schedule your free consultation!