Archive for December, 2014

AUTO INSURANCE AND DUI IN ILLINOIS

When you are arrested for DUI, the Secretary of State makes an entry on your public driving record (abstract) that shows that you license is to be suspended for refusing to submit to breath or blood testing, or for taking a test and failing it. Your “Court Purposes” abstract will not include an entry for the arrest until you are found guilty, not guilty, or receive court supervision for the DUI. Court supervision is a court disposition in which even though you have pled guilty, or been found guilty, no finding of guilt appears on either driving record if you finish your (usually 12 months) of court supervision by paying your fine, completing alcohol treatment, and getting no new charges.

So meanwhile what’s your auto insurance company doing while all this is going on?

The Court Purposes Abstract is only available to law enforcement officers, state’s attorneys, and to the driver referred to in the abstract. If you get court supervision on the DUI, it is not a conviction and it is not on the public abstract, so the insurance company does not find out about the DUI court supervision when they request a copy of your public driving record. Usually such requests are made when one buys insurance from a new insurance company, or alters coverage, or any facet of an existing policy (maybe even a change of address). Your court supervision for a DUI, speeding, or most other traffic violations are reported on the Court Purposes Abstract, but not on the public abstract, because they are not convictions.

But if your insurance company gets a copy of the public driving abstract, there will be a listing for a statutory summary suspension for the DUI. This entry alone, regardless of whether you are guilty or not guilty of the DUI, can be expected to increase your auto insurance rates from around 40 to 100% (and 100% means your rates double). The length of time you pay the extra insurance charge penalty for the DUI depends on many things such as your age, your driving record, how long you have been with the company, etc.

The relationship between you and your auto insurance carrier is contractual, that means if either of you don’t like the deal you can cancel it according to the terms of the contract. Your contract might require you to periodically answer insurance company questions meant to disclose a DUI disposition, even if it does not appear on the public abstract. That answer could increase your insurance costs.

In short, a DUI can cost you thousands of dollars over many years, for increased insurance rates, along with numerous other related expenses. The Illinois Secretary of State estimates the cost of a DUI conviction (not court supervision which should be less) at $16,580. A DUI conviction will require 3 years of high-risk insurance for about $1,500 each year if you receive the right to drive after the DUI revocation.

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