Driving Drunk and Car Insurance - DUI Insurance Rates Policy for Victims & Convicted

DRUNK DRIVING AND INSURANCE: HOW DOES IT IMPACT THE CONVICTED AND THE VICTIMS - If you’ve ever been in a fender bender, you know just how stressful the entire situation can be, from filing police reports to dealing with the body shop. But imagine if you’re in an accident that involves a drunk driver?

We’ve been asked many times if it’s true that if you’re the victim of a drunk driving accident, that there is no insurance. We want to tackle this myth.

In most countries, drunk driving or speeding gets you not only a suspension/ cancellation of licence, but also increases your insurance premiums in future.

People also ask

  1. How does a DUI affect your insurance?
  2. Do car insurance companies cover DUI accidents?
  3. How much does it cost to get an sr22?
  4. What is a SR 22?

In Alberta, all auto policies follow the same language which is written by the provincial government. This insurance policy has three sections:

Section A:  3rd Party Liability

This protects you against property damage or bodily injury you do to others.

Section B: Accident Benefits

This provides limited income replacement and medical expenses for the driver, passengers in the insured vehicle or pedestrians that are involved in the crash, regardless of who was at fault.

Section C: Physical Damage

Most people carry collision and comprehensive insurance to protect for loss from physical damage. Collision protects against collision damage; comprehensive protects against numerous perils including fire, theft and hail.


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How does drunk driving affect insurance?

Have your broker review your policy wording to make sure that your needs are properly covered in each section. If you look at Section A, there are no exclusions for drinking and driving, so if the drunk driver has valid insurance it will pay for property damage and injury to others up to policy limits.

For Section B, although it’s done on a no-fault basis, there is an exclusion for injuries to the drunk driver at fault in a collision. So the passengers in that vehicle and any pedestrians would still be covered under this section, but the drunk driver would not.

Section C dictates that there is no coverage where the insured operates a vehicle while under an intoxicating influence of drugs or alcohol, or permits someone else to operate the vehicle while intoxicated. This means that if a drunk driver crashes their vehicle, their insurance is not going to respond to pay for it. Those added costs are another way to punish the offending driver.

What does this all mean for the victims of a drunk driver’s collision?

The liability section isn’t voided by drinking and driving because if it were excluded there would be no financial recourse for the victims hit by the drunk driver. Therefore, if you are hit by a drunk driver, you can assume your damages will be covered assuming the drunk driver’s insurance was in force at the time of the loss. If you are a drunk driver, and you crash, your injuries and your vehicle will NOT be covered, in addition to the criminal and administrative penalties you will face.

Always consult with your broker if you have any questions regarding your automobile policy.

How does a DUI Affect Car Insurance Rates?

The consequences of a DUI conviction can be serious. Read on to learn how to minimize the damage to your finances, driving record, and insurance.

If the courts charge or convict you of a DUI or DWI, the legal and financial headaches that follow are both lengthy and severe. To ensure you’re fully prepared what is going to take place, you should retain a DUI attorney to help with your legal proceedings.

In the event you decide to enter a guilty plea in hopes of lessening the charges, you will still need a DUI lawyer to help you with the court filings. Different states have different laws for drinking and driving infractions. Over the last few decades, though, most states have attempted to crack down on drunk drivers by enacting stricter penalties and more uniform standards. For example, organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have worked tirelessly to standardize the legal threshold for blood alcohol content (BAC) at .08 percent in all 50 states.

When the DUI Trial is Over

Insurance companies don't write specific "DUI Insurance" policies, but they sometimes market as if they do. In essence, the policy is still just a regular auto liability policy, but the monthly premium can be three to five times higher than an auto liability policy for a driver with a clean driving record. You will also need to file an SR-22 form with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (except in Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, where SR-22s are not required). An SR-22 is a "Proof of Financial Responsibility" form. It certifies that a driver has purchased at least the minimum required amount of liability insurance for their state. While every driver is required to carry this level of insurance, drivers with a DUI, a DWI, or citations for driving without insurance must also file an SR-22. Most insurance companies will help file SR-22 forms for their customers. QuoteWizard can help you find the lowest insurance rates after a DUI..

Drunk Driving is Not Just Reckless—it's Expensive!

A DUI will cost a driver around $10,000 when it is all said and done. Here is a chart that displays average costs associated with the different aspects of a DUI:

The Total Cost of a DUI

Expense - Average - Cost
  • Bail: $150–$2,000
  • Towing and Impound: $100–$1,000
  • Added Insurance Costs: $5,000+
  • DUI Lawyer: $2,500
  • Court Fines: $1,000
  • Alcohol Treatment/Education:$1,000
  • Licensing Fees: $150
  • Ignition Lock: $250
  • Total: $10,000–$15,000

These costs are just estimates. How much you end up paying could be much higher. Get a quote to find out how much a DUI will raise your insurance rates.

DUI Insurance Rates

Will a DUI really increase your insurance costs by $5,000 per year? That’s a little on the high side, but your rates are going to go up significantly. It's difficult to quantify because every insurance company handles DUI cases differently. Rest assured, if you're currently enjoying any sort of preferred or safe driver discount, that will be gone at your next renewal date when insurance companies re-run your driving record. Some companies may choose to drop you altogether. Others may switch you to their "high-risk" division as soon as they learn of a DUI infraction. While there are companies that specialize in insuring high-risk drivers, rates for drivers with DUIs are usually double, triple, or more than for a driver without a DUI, all other things being equal. Luckily, there are agents that specialize in insuring people with DUIs and QuoteWizard can help you find them.

Accident while driving drunk — what’s the insurance status?

Recently, an incident was reported in media wherein a lady who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol banged her car into traffic policeman, as well as a biker whom the traffic policeman was checking.

Sadly, both died in this unfortunate accident. Not only she, there are many such instances have been highlighted by the media in the past.

In fact, the motor vehicle act states that driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs — whoever while driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle or

riding or attempting to ride, a motor cycle - (a) has in his blood, alcohol in any quantity, howsoever small the quantity may be or (b) is under the influence of a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of exercising proper control over the vehicle, shall be punishable for the first offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months.

So drunk driving carries stiff legal penalties besides the social stigma that it brings and of course it also has an impact on your insurance policy. Let’s turn to the impact of drunk driving on matters of insurance.

If we look at life insurance, there are two things to consider — first, the death of the person herself/ himself while doing drunk driving, and second, the people who have been affected.

Apna Paisa spoke to various life insurance companies and also looked at various policy documents. We believe that death caused in the above circumstances would still be covered under the basic life insurance policy, although in most cases, if the policyholder had taken an accident insurance rider (to pay additional sums of money over and above the basic sum insured in case of death due to an accident or the accidental disability benefit), such rider will not be granted as the person was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Our reading of the motor insurance policy documents and discussions with general insurance companies seem to suggest that the affected third parties (in the reported case, the policeman and the motor bike driver) will be eligible to be paid damages despite the driver being under the influence of alcohol.

Of course the courts reserve the right to decide who shall pay the damages (whether the owner of the vehicle or the insurance company) and in most such cases, the court is likely to ask the owner rather than the insurance company to bear the payment. Coming to the damage to the car itself, this will not be payable by the insurance company as the damage occurred due to actions of the driver, who was drunk.

In most countries, drunk driving or speeding gets you not only a suspension/ cancellation of licence, but also increases your insurance premiums in future. But in India, car insurance policies are not issued with named drivers. In the UK, a car insurance premium will depend on the age and the driving record of the named ‘driver’ of the car (and if more than one driver is named, the premium will be higher) and here’s the clincher — the insurance monies are not payable if the accident is caused by a driver who is not named in the policy.

In India, this is not possible as we are not even able to identify who was driving the car at the time of a fatal accident (Remember the fatal accident at Bandra, allegedly caused by a film star while under the influence? Till today, the prosecution has not been able to conclusively prove who exactly was driving the car). Since selective increase in car insurance premiums is not an option in India, everybody has to share the burden of the losses caused by a few drivers who indulge in drunk driving.
 I hit a car without insurance - See details

So, more power to the Mumbai traffic policeman (and their counterparts in other cities) who reduce road accidents by strictly enforcing the rules against drunken driving. Also please remember this the next time you grumble about the delay caused at a check point while returning home late from the office or a party.

Drunk Driving/DUI Question & Answer

DUIs are a hot topic these days. Each month on the largest search engine in the world, users search for the term “DUI” over 90,000 times per month. Here are some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding DUIs:

How Long Will a DUI Affect my Insurance Rates?

The length of time a DUI stays on your driving record varies from state to state. Many times, a DUI will drop off your driving record after 3-7 years. However, the infraction is likely to remain on your criminal record indefinitely. After the citation is off of your driving record, your rates will return to normal. In most cases, a DUI will raise your insurance rates for a minimum of three years. If a DUI is no longer affecting your insurance rates, but still showing up on criminal background checks, it may be possible to expunge the violation from your criminal record or to have the infraction listed under "sealed records." Sealed records are only available to law enforcement officers. Contact your state's DMV or a DUI lawyer for more information.

Q: What if the DUI is expunged?

A: Getting a DUI expunged is an option for a person looking to remove a DUI from their driving record. However, each state has strict rules on expungement. Some states only allow expungement if there was a DUI arrest, but not if there was a DUI conviction. An expunged DUI can still be sufficient proof of a “prior conviction.” Expunged infractions are typically not visible to potential employers, credit issuers or other businesses trying to conduct a background check on you.

Q: Will a DUI affect my parent's insurance if I was driving their car?

A: It depends whether you are a named insured on your parent's car insurance policy. If you are a named insured on their policy, and you’re convicted of a DUI, then yes, it will make your parent’s car insurance rates go up. Also, if convicted, the judge could force you to install an ignition interlock device on your parent’s car. Your parents will not be happy, especially since the court will not pay for the device.

Q: If I had an accident and got a DUI, will it affect my claim

A: The quick answer is yes. Insurance companies have strict rules laid out in car insurance policies on what they will cover and what they will not cover. Insurance companies cover “accidental” car accidents. Some may cover accidents due to your negligence, and some may even cover grossly negligent car accidents. But not many insurance companies are going to cover “intentional” car accidents as most view drinking and driving accidents as intentional, not accidental.

Q: If someone else drives my car and gets a DUI, will it affect my insurance?

A: No it will not. If your friend gets pulled over in your car and charged with a DUI, their car insurance rates are going to go up, not yours. There’s really no reason you even need to tell your insurance company about this unless, your friend is a named insured on the car insurance policy. If this is the case, then your rates will go up. You might be able to convince your insurance company that your friend will never drive your car again and drop them from your policy. That could work in some cases. But if your friend has the same address as you, insurance companies will assume that there is a pretty good chance your friend will end up driving your car again.

Q: Can I refuse to take a Breathalyzer?

A: Yes, most attorneys would advise never to take them, or any of the other field sobriety tests, as they are voluntary, and not required by law. However, not taking them will not stop a police officer from arresting you.

Q: What if a person takes prescription medication? Can that affect the results?

A: Absolutely. A DUI is driving under the influence of ANYTHING that can impair your driving and the safety of others while you are behind the wheel. This includes:
  1. Alcohol
  2. Legal prescription drugs
  3. Street drugs
  4. A combination of the three

Law enforcement will probably charge you with DUI if you have medication in your blood and have had just one alcoholic drink. The combination of legal prescription drugs mixed with the alcohol could affect your judgment while driving, putting others at risk including yourself. In the event your blood alcohol level was below .05, they can convict you if a prosecutor can prove that the combination of the two substances impaired your driving.

Will auto insurance pay for a car accident while DUI or DWI? Damage that occurs to your vehicle may or may not be covered by your insurance policy if you were driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. ... Liability insurance only applies to the other driver in a car accident that is deemed to be your fault. Compare quotes from top insurers and find out how much you could save on your car insurance after a DUI or DWI.
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