An impaired driving conviction can make it very difficult for you to obtain affordable automobile insurance. This is because society’s tolerance for drunk driving is understandably zero.
The consequences of impaired driving
If you have been convicted of drunk driving, you’ll be paying a high-risk rate, which is significantly higher than a regular rate. Your auto insurance costs could double on the first drunk driving conviction. with the severity of this infraction, your insurance could quickly become unaffordable.
The primary cause of a high insurance premium after a drunk driving conviction is that most insurance companies will not insure you; as they find you to be a high risk driver, which are more difficult to insure. In this situation the only insurance companies available will be expensive, high-risk providers known as facility underwriters. Facility insurers offer insurance to those who have a high risk profile and are not eligible for insurance through private insurance companies. Your broker will also be unable to submit your auto application for three years to any private insurers.
Another reason why your insurance premium could increase is if you were involved in a accident while you were driving drunk. You will likely be held fully responsible for the accident in such a case. Typically your insurance would already increase if you are at-fault in a collision, regardless of whether you’re convicted of a traffic violation or a criminal offence.
Failing to be covered by auto insurance
By driving your vehicle under the influence of drunk driving, your auto insurance will not be valid, as your policy excludes the use and operation of a motor vehicle if you are deemed to be intoxicated. If you get into an accident at the same time, not only will you have to face the criminal implications of your offence, but are likely to be found responsible for all, or a portion of what would otherwise be covered by your insurance.
If your drunk driving causes an accident that seriously harms or kills someone, the victim’s insurer has the legal right to sue you for the costs incurred (medical and rehabilitation costs, lost wages, funeral expenses). You can also be sued in a tort claim for additional damages, including a family compensation claim. Provincial and federal laws provide compensation for victims of drunk driving, and can result in considerable financial implications for the drunk diver.
It is important to remember that we must always disclose all driving convictions to your insurance company. Non-disclosure of prior convictions is considered fraud and voids your insurance policy in the event of an automobile accident, leaving you personally responsible for property damages and personal injuries resulting from driving under the influence.
Other potential impacts of drunk driving on your insurance
In addition to high car insurance rates and a potential loss of coverage for an insurance claim, an impaired driving conviction will result in a zero driving record rating and six years before you are potentially eligible for a safe driving auto insurance discount regardless of your previous driving record.
Impaired driving and insurance FAQs
How long will impaired driving affect my auto insurance rates?
Depending on the province you live in, an impaired driving infraction will affect your insurance for minimum of 3 years. This means that you will need to go with a high risk insurance company which will likely be at a higher rate.
Does my license suspension affect my auto insurance?
Yes, depending on whether it’s criminal conviction related (in relation to a major / criminal conviction) or administrative (too many tickets), it could affect your ability to get insurance with a standard insurance provider. This is why it’s important to speak to your insurance broker, as they can help you find the best policy for your needs.