The repercussions of a DWI conviction can be extensive. Not only are you at risk of losing your driving privileges and even your freedom through a mandatory minimum jail sentence, but the financial hit can be quite large. Why? Because if you have a DWI on your record, insurance companies categorize you as a “high risk” driver and your insurance rates may rise sharply.
How Steep Will the Premium Hike Be After a DWI?
It’s a good question and depends on a variety of factors. The car insurance company you are with and how they choose to enforce the terms of your policy will play a major role. For example, some auto insurance companies review a DWI conviction on a case-by case basis factoring in your driving history, age, length of time you’ve been with the insurance company, and so forth. Other companies have much stricter policies applying to all drivers convicted of a DWI. They may have a mandatory minimum premium increase based on a percentage of your current premium or they could even make the decision to drop your coverage.
How Does Being Classified as “High-Risk” Affect Car Insurance
If your auto insurance policy is canceled or moved, you will probably end up in a high-risk pool of drivers. Many states are required, under law, to offer insurance to these high-risk pools. In the Lone Star State, there is the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA). This was created to help secure auto insurance for high-risk drivers who could not find coverage on the voluntary market, according to the Heartland Institute. You can get an auto insurance policy through TAIPA if at least two insurers have refused to offer you insurance coverage because of your high-risk status. This is certainly beneficial to DWI drivers, especially those that already have a poor driving record, because they will at least have an option for car insurance. However, the premium is not going to be cheap. In fact, it’s quite costly for just the legal minimum amount of liability coverage.
Mitigating the Damage of a DWI Conviction
Despite the possibility of a major premium increase, a DWI conviction does not necessarily mean you will be forever marked as a “high-risk driver.” In fact, there are proactive steps you can take to try and mitigate the damage of a DWI conviction. One step is taking a driver improvement course. Some courses are offered online, while others require in-class participation. When you complete the course, you usually get a certificate that you can send to insurance companies as proof that you’re working to change your ways and improve your driving judgment. Another step is to ensure, if you are a first-time DWI offender, to never get a second DWI. The premium increase may be high for a DWI offense, but drivers with multiple DWIs are much more likely to be deemed “high-risk” and may lose their auto insurance coverage. Finally, if you’re facing a DWI charge, hire an experienced Austin criminal lawyer to advocate for your rights.
Contact an Experienced Austin DWI Defense Attorney
DWI charges can be challenged in court. Remember, the state has the burden of proving that you were intoxicated. Even if there is sufficient evidence, a seasoned Austin criminal lawyer can negotiate with a prosecutor to try and reduce the charge. Contact Buford & Gonzalez today and tell us what happened.