Tag: Insurance

Up to now, North Carolina has been one of a large number of states that do not require mopeds to be insured. That is about to change, if Governor Pat McCrory signs House Bill 148, which will require $30,000 worth of liability insurance for every moped driver.

This law is just the next step in a trend that began last year when the state began requiring mopeds to be registered.

Why is this of interest? Because mopeds are widely seen in North Carolina as “DWI Mobiles.” Citizens of the state who have been convicted of impaired driving and have had their license suspended often buy mopeds to get around.

Senator Stan Bingham (R-Davidson) disapproves of the measure. He has a different idea: help more drivers with DWIs get ignition interlocks. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

If more DWI offenders were given ignition interlocks, then they wouldn’t be on mopeds in the first place.  While interlocks are not free for the offender, they are considerably cheaper than moped insurance for a driver with a DWI.

Opponents of Senator Bingham note that a large proportion of moped accidents are due to alcohol. But this seems to be a good argument for ignition interlocks instead of mopeds. Interlock devices cannot be installed on mopeds. If the offender uses a vehicle with an interlock, then we are assured that he or she will not be using alcohol behind the wheel. The same cannot be said of a moped.

It’s anyone’s guess if the governor will sign HB148. However, the option of an ignition interlock does seem like the best choice for a driver who wants to deal with an alcohol problem while avoiding the temptation to drive drunk. We hope Governor McCrory considers the whole picture and encourages the legislature to widen the scope of North Carolina’s interlock laws. That would be best for everyone in the state.

There’s some good news for safe, unimpaired drivers in North Carolina: your state has the lowest auto insurance rates. According to Charlotte’s NPR station, a recent survey by North Carolina has cheap auto insurance rates - unless you get a DWIinsuranceQuotes.com found that North Carolina gives drivers the best deal for insuring their ride, including a variety of discounts for certain drivers and situations, thanks to a competitive market.

Some ways you can get discounts:

  • New Car. The advanced safety equipment on a new car will mean lower rates.
  • Safe Drivers. If you don’t have an accident on your record, you’ll be treated as a better risk.
  • Driver Safety Courses. Completing certain safety courses can gain you a small discount.
  • Certain Professions. Nurses are thought to drive more safely. So are teachers and good students. These people can often shave a few points off their rate.
  • Organizations. Certain professional clubs and organizations are favored with insurance discounts.

Your auto insurance will go up in NC if you get a DWIIt’s a buyer’s market for insurance, which makes North Carolina the envy of drivers in many states. However, all that does a 180 if you drink and drive. As has been noted before, North Carolina slams convicted drunk drivers with the highest insurance rates in the nation. If you have a DWI on your record you can expect to pay three times what you’re paying now.

So if you want to save money, ask your auto insurer about special discounts. With or without them, you’ll be getting a better deal than the rest of the country.

But if you want to throw money away in North Carolina, get a DWI.

Even if no one is injured and no property is damaged, a DWI has lasting consequences for the offender.  After the fine is paid, after the alcohol assessment and treatment, even after the ignition interlock period has been installed, used and removed, anyone who has been caught driving drunk faces long-term problems, of which one of the most disagreeable is the rise in insurance rates.

Take North Carolina, which places the highest burden of all on convicted drunk drivers: a jump in car insurance rates of 337%.

Some offenders ask their attorneys or insurance brokers if installing an ignition interlock before being required to will result in a lower insurance rate. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

The answer is usually no. In some states a discount is possible, and it’s worth mentioning to the insurance company to see if that will help, but the practice is not yet widespread.

But it should be.

Insurance rates go up after a DWI because the driver is deemed a higher risk. In fact, some companies will not insure anyone with drunk driving on their record. But an interlock device immediately lowers that risk. Studies show that drivers who have an interlock installed are much less likely to reoffend.

If insurance companies were to offer lower rates for DWI offenders with an ignition interlock, it would provide these benefits:

  • It would boost the incentive for non-compliant offenders to install the mandated interlocks.
  • Since high insurance rates lasts for at least 3 years after a DWI, offenders could be given the option of a longer interlock term. Keeping the device for the time during which insurance would be safer for everyone.

Legislators, law enforcement, and road safety organizations have been working on ways to reduce drunk driving, with a lot of success. Insurance companies could bring the number of alcohol-related crashes down even more by offering a break to drivers who use an interlock.

Being properly insured is one of the responsibilities of a licensed driver in every state, including Arizona. How much you pay for auto insurance can depend on a few factors:

  • Driving record. This is the most important.  Moving violations and accidents raise your rates. So do DUIs.
  • Location. Generally, insurance in cities cost more than rural areas.
  • Your age. Drivers under 25 are considered higher risk.
  • Sex and marital status. Women pay less, as do married people.
  • Type of car. Fast cars give the impression that you take risks. Expensive cars cost more to fix after an accident.
  • Miles driven.  The more you drive, the more you pay.

A DUI is costly in a number of ways, including the large rise in insurance rates that usually follows one. But there is more to reinstating your license that just paying the fines, doing jail time (if applicable), applying for insurance, and installing the ignition interlock (if required).

Once your license is reinstated after a DUI or other violation involving a suspended license, you will have to show proof to the state of Arizona that you have an active insurance policy that meets the state’s requirements. That’s where the SR-22 comes in.

SR-22 is not insurance. It’s proof that you have insurance.

Often people refer to “SR-22 insurance,” but the SR-22 is just a certificate proving that your auto insurance is up to snuff despite a recent license revocation.”SR” refers to “Safety Responsibility.” Normally the SR-22 does not cost very much. Where the cost comes in is with insurance premiums: the insurance company might deem you a greater risk. In fact, some companies will not insure drivers who require an SR-22, forcing you to look for a new provider.

You will need to keep the SR-22 for at least 3 years. How long it will take for your insurance rates to go down to previous levels depends on how long the DUI stays on your record. In Arizona, that’s five years. If that seems hard (and it is), take heart: in California it’s ten years, and in Massachusetts, you will be paying higher rates for the rest of your life.

Getting back on the road after a DUI in Arizona is not easy, but it’s usually achievable, provided you’re aware of your responsibilities. If you need an ignition interlock (car breathalyzer), your interlock provider will help guide you through the maze and get you back on the road.

What is SR-22 Insurance?

Essentially, the SR-22 insurance form is the key to reinstating driving privileges following a driving after drinking conviction (DUI, DWI, OWI).

If you are convicted of driving after drinking in North Carolina (or anywhere else in the U.S.), you’ll need to learn about SR-22 Insurance.

As a penalty for offenders, every state requires that the driver lose their privilege to drive for a period of time. Depending on the state laws, it could be a few days or up to one year. In order to regain your ability to drive, you will need to show your licensing agency an SR-22 insurance form.

An SR-22 insurance form proves you have vehicle liability insurance, and the agency that provides your insurance is required to let the DMV in your state know if your policy is canceled or terminated.

Once you have an SR-22 insurance form, your insurance company will consider you a high-risk driver. If you previously received safe driver discounts or were eligible for any type of insurance discount, your premiums could potentially triple from what you were originally paying.

How long will you be required to pay higher premiums due to needing SR-22 insurance? Laws vary by offense and state. Learn more on LifeSafer.

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