The DUI Scarlet Letter and the Impact it has on your Auto Insurance Policy

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Is Florida going pink? Florida could go pink if Senator Mike Fasano of New Port Richey gets his way. Senator Fasano, of New Port Richey, filed a bill last year that would have DUI offenders drive with bright pink plates bearing the letters DUI. Fasano stated that the bill might embarrass and discourage people from driving drunk. “Maybe they will think twice.” The proposed bill includes a provision that permits police officers to pull over drivers and inspect them at will, even without probable cause. Florida, Iowa, and Minnesota all have similar laws if it is passed.

Ohio currently has one of the most stringent DUI laws in the nation. Ohio DUI offenders receive yellow plates with crimson numbers. This plate is issued by a judge at his discretion to anyone with more than one DUI conviction.

Many believe this punishment is an echo of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel “The Scarlet Letter,” which tells the story of a woman who was ordered to wear the letter A as a punishment for adultery. Iowa DUI offenders’ plates include the letter Z, Minnesota plates have a unique series number, and Oregon drunk drivers must display a sticker to their plates.

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How effective is this law? Although only a handful of studies have been done to determine if this law is effective, one Oregon study found that Oregon offenders who had their vehicle plates tagged experienced lower rates of DUI offenses and moving violations as well as repeat DWS offenses.

Drunk driving, and auto insurance
Not only are states cracking down on drunk driving, but auto insurance companies too!

Even though insurance companies are forbidden by states to deny coverage due to race, religion, residency, age, or occupation, they may cancel your policy for reasons like:

o Suspending your driver’s licence

o Traffic violations that are too frequent

o A conviction of a felony, criminal negligence, or drunk driving – DUI

Insurers generally deal with DUI clients by offering higher rates, cancellations, or non-renewal of policies.

Your insurer may raise your rates. You will most likely be considered a high-risk driver. You will need to provide proof of insurance for at least three years to your state’s motor vehicle department. Your insurance company must also provide an SR-22 form to the DMV in order to remove your license suspension. This notifies the state that you have proof of insurance. Your insurance company must also notify the DMV if your insurance is canceled for any reason.

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In most states, drunk driving convictions require that a SR-22 be obtained from the insurance agency. This means that you will have to inform your insurance company. Your insurance company may also send you a notice indicating that they are going to terminate your policy or cancel your policy. Your insurance company must send you a letter explaining why your policy was cancelled. You can then try to find another insurance company while still having your claim history canceled.

Other times, insurance companies may not offer SR-22 policies. In these cases, you might be unable to renew or cancel your policy because your company cannot provide what you require.

Keep in mind, however, that your insurance company may cancel your policy within three years or increase your rates due to a DUI.

“Some insurance companies will consider the driver’s past with the company as well as any claims that have been filed. Lou Geremia, President at Insurance.com, says that if they believe the driver is in good standing with them then they might not increase the rates. It all depends on the policy of your insurance company.

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Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.