The Season 'Tis

Yes, it is. And coming closer. We all love this time of year…..well, except for the fear of ice and sliding down the hill in our car with a school bus full of kids stopped for a red light at the bottom…not so much that. Or an ice dam bursting and flooding all of our homes, even when we live on top of a hill…..not so much that.

ANYWAY, something that really could happen to you, but is fully within your power to avoid, is a DUI, or DWI. Oh, one other initial (with a number thrown in): SR22, but we’ll get to that later.

After your holiday office party or friendly get together, whether you are newly licensed, or have been driving for years: if you get behind the wheel while drunk, buzzed, blasted, or tipsy I can guarantee you that, eventually, something will happen. Surprisingly, the most benign “happen” would be being stopped by a police officer and given a ride to the “Sleep It Off Hotel”. If you become a guest of the State, for however short a period of time, there are a few things you need to be aware of as far as your auto insurance is goes:

• This one poor choice has proven to your insurance company that, at certain times in your life, you make stupid choices. Stupid, thoughtless, impaired, less than wise choices. They will choose, because of your actions, to charge you more for your auto insurance. No matter what you call it: DUI (driving while intoxicated), DUI (driving under the influence) or reckless driving, the cost of your insurance will go up. Some companies, based on your charges, might not renew your policy.

• If you are a teen, newly licensed or inexperienced driver, your insurance company might want to “exclude” you from your parents’ policy. That would mean you would have to go to a special company which is there just to cover those drivers who can’t buy a policy anywhere else. Those policies cost EVEN MORE.

• Then, the State wants to make sure your insurance company knows of your less than wise choice by ordering you to post an SR22. In the old days, when people make poor choices similar to yours, the State realized that, just by you being behind the wheel the general public was in danger. They required you to post a bond. This ensured that, after the accident, there would be some compensation. Now that insurance is required by law, they see the liability coverage in your policy as a compensation means to the victims. The form number for the little pink document the State provides insurance companies to tell them that insurance is in force is SR22. So, when you think you might want to cancel insurance all together because it is SO expensive, along comes the State to let you know that if you want to continue driving, not only will you have to have insurance, but your insurance company will let them know it is in force, the policy number and what car is covered. Your insurance company will also quickly let them know if the policy is ever cancelled, for whatever reason.

Wouldn’t it be easier, less hassle and cost if you just let a sober friend drive or call a taxi?