Fines, Legal Expenses, DUI CLasses and Higher Insurance Premiums are Among the Financial Challenges
Written by Liz Becker
Just being apprehended and charged with driving under the influence is a very stressful experience. But that is only the start of the stress. Next you have to deal with all of the fines and costs associated with the disposition of the charges. And the costs continue to mount up after you leave court. Everyone knows that a DUI can really drain your wallet in many ways. Since you can't go back in time and change your decisions, its time to think about the future.
The average cost of a DUI ranges from $5,000 to $12,000. For most of us, that's not pocket change. Paying off the court fees, lawyer costs, DUI classes, and an increase in your car insurance rates may leave you pretty empty handed. There are things that you can do to recover from the expenses of a DUI.
First: Assess Your Finances
It is important to first determine how far in the red you are. Once you have determined how much debt and added monthly costs, then you can decide where to go from there. If you have added expenses like higher insurance rates, you need to figure out if you can afford it without making any additional changes. If you had to borrow money or use credit, you will have to come up with a payment plan. If there is any interest on it, you will want to work on paying that debt off first.
It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are thinking about it at first, but there are many ways you can become to feel more comfortable with your finances and the debt you may have. Once you face the truth and become honest with yourself about your debt from the DUI, then you can really work on recovering financially.
Next: Come Up With A Monthly Plan
If you are already living paycheck to paycheck, it is going to be more of a challenge for you financially. You will have to find extra money to pay for what you owe, and your added monthly expenses. If you are not sure how you are going to come up with the money, you may need to think about getting a second job. If that is out of the question, you will have to cut costs where you can. The best place to start cutting costs is by eliminating luxuries such as cable, eating out, or subscriptions if you have any.
It may not seem like much, but once you cut out the extra conveniences, you may notice an increase in your bank account. If you are finding that it is still difficult to make ends meet, you will have to find a way to increase your income. One way is by working more, like finding another job or asking your current boss if you can put in some overtime. If that is not enough, you can look into selling some assets. If you have something of high value that you can live without, selling it may give you the additional funds you need.
Finally: Prepare to Change Insurance Plans
After getting a DUI many insurance companies will drop your insurance policy. If yours doesn't drop you, they will consider you "high risk," and will jack up your prices. According to Car Insurance Companies, the average yearly increase in rates is $1500. If your insurance does not have any kind of forgiveness program, it could be even more than that.
First off, you should contact your insurance company and find out how much your rates are going to increase. If you find that you can't afford that high of an increase, you may have to look for a new auto insurance company. Companies like Acceptance Insurance specialize in SR22 insurance, or insurance for those who have gotten a DUI or are high risk for another reason.
Being in this situation is far from ideal, but you have the tools and advice to make the best of it. If you are aware of your expenses and debts, you are halfway there. The key to recovering financially after a DUI completely is by managing your money: Control your spending, and knock down your debt. And, by all means, avoid DUI in the future. Next time it could end up much worse.