After the initial shock of a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest or conviction, you may have many questions, not the least of which is, “How will this affect my insurance?” This is a question of no small importance, because, without insurance, you can’t legally drive. And you don’t want to make an already bad situation by even worse. So how might a DWI affect your insurance?

Well, it will likely depend on the terms of your policy.

For a DWI arrest, if you have a “good driver” discount or other provisions, it’s possible that a company could potentially raise your rate or even cancel your policy outright.

On the other hand, an arrest is not a conviction, and there is still a Constitutional presumption that you are innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, unless your policy requires a disclosure, it’s possible that your insurer won’t find out about an DWI/DUI arrest, on its own. Instead, an arrest may only hit the company’s radar if there is another factor also at issue—such as a DWI-related accident or if the DMV suspended your license. (And, of course, those can also affect your rates.)

However, it’s a much different story, when it comes to a DWI or DUI conviction: New York state law requires that a driver’s license be suspended or revoked. And once you’ve regained your license, the conviction will remain on your record for ten years.

While there is no state mechanism that will automatically alert an insurer of a DWI conviction, again, insurance policies usually require customers to notify their insurer—if not at the time of the conviction, then by the time of the policy renewal.

At that point, you’d be likely be put in a “high-risk” category, and expect to see premium rates skyrocket.

The exact amount of increase will depend on several factors including: your age; if you’ve had any previous DWI convictions; how long ago the conviction was; and the company’s own policies. However, in New York, ValuePenguin estimates that someone’s post-DWI insurance rates may increase by 42%, while CarInsurance.com estimates a 60% increase.

With even a DWI arrest—let alone conviction—having potentially life-changing effects, you need the best defense possible, as soon as possible. Lead by former prosecutor Avik Ganguly, we are experts in DWI and drug criminal defense. For a free, confidential consultation, contact us through our website contact page or call us at 585-232-7747.